Calgary – Filipe Masetti Leite is proof Stampede Parade Marshals don’t just lead a parade; they exemplify western heritage, values and culture. Eight years ago Masetti Leite saddled up and set off from the Calgary Stampede on a remarkable adventure. His dream was to cross the Americas on horseback. Today, with his arrival in Calgary, 25,000 km traveled and his journey complete, Masetti Leite is being celebrated as just the third person in history to achieve this incredible feat.
“Eight years ago I left the Calgary Stampede an unknown cowboy, a kid with a dream that seemed bigger than life. Many people called me crazy, several said I would die doing it and almost all said it was impossible. But here I am eight years later finishing where it all started as Parade Marshal for the 2020 Calgary Stampede.” says Filipe Masetti Leite, adding “I hope my journey serves as motivation to people. If you put your mind, heart and soul into it, it nothing is impossible!”
Masetti Leite’s dream to ride the Americas was passed down from his father and inspired by the legendary long-riders of the past. His 12 country journey through some of the most beautiful and most challenging country on earth has captured the hearts and imagination of people around the world. It also made him the ideal choice for 2020 Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal, a decision made long before our world changed this spring.
“We wanted to honour this inspirational person and his amazing journey by having him lead the Stampede Parade,” says Dana Peers, President & Chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board. “Even without the parade this year, we want to thank the community for joining us in celebrating who he is and what he has managed to achieve over the last eight years.”
Masetti Leite’s long ride took him from his adopted country of Canada to his native Brazil, then on to the very tip of South America, Ushuaia, Argentina. To complete the journey and achieve his long-time dream, last year he once again set off on horseback from Alaska with the goal of returning to Calgary in time for the Stampede. After pausing for the winter months and the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipe Masetti Leite completed the final 800 km trek to Calgary today.
“It’s hard to put into words what I am feeling right now. I am concluding a dream and it feels surreal,” says Masetti Leite. “I hope that more people live their dreams. It is what life is all about. I am one of the richest people in the world today in terms of the things I’ve seen, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met.”
Masetti Leite’s story will continue to be told. There are plans to turn it into a major motion picture movie, and his second book Long Ride to the End of the World has just been released. It is now available free for a limited time on Amazon.