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Jeremy Hansen is going to the moon, but first he must ride a horse in Calgary

Astronaut Jeremy Hanson will soon be travelling through space as the first Canadian to go to the moon. But here on Earth, he is a bit wary about riding a horse as this year's Stampede parade marshal.

The Canadian astronaut is the latest parade marshal, preceded by many famous faces

A man wearing a blue space jumpsuit smiles, with his hands on his hips, in front of a display screen showing a starry night.

Astronaut Jeremy Hansen will soon be travelling through space as the first Canadian to go to the moon. But here on Earth, he is a bit wary about riding a horse as this year's Stampede parade marshal.

"I do not have a lot of horseback riding experience," he said on The Homestretch last week.

"I don't know if this is sort of the life of the astronaut. You just get thrown into things and you just gotta make it work. So I'll lean on the people that are around me. I'm sure it'll work out."

Hansen, who was posted to CFB Cold Lake for seven years, says he feels a special tie to Alberta, where all three of his children were born.

"It's a second home for us and this is a bit of a homecoming," he said.

  • LISTEN | Jeremy Hansen talks about preparing for a space mission:

The Homestretch6:03Calgary Stampede parade marshal

The Calgary Stampede announced its Parade Marshal earlier today – Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

Hansen, a 47-year-old colonel and CF-18 pilot, is to become the first Canadian to travel to the moon as part of the Artemis II mission. The 10-day mission is the first of its kind to the moon since the Apollo missions in 1972.

"Thousands of Canadians over decades have worked hard towards big goals and have made such an incredible contribution in space exploration that we have been invited to participate in this mission," said Hansen.

"What I would love for them to really understand is if we have done this, imagine what we can do next."

Previous marshals include prime ministers and a dog

Hansen isn't the first notable astronaut to have led the parade. Chris Hadfield, past commander of the International Space Station, had the gig in 2001 and 2013.

It's a long list of past marshals.

There's been Olympians, like bobsledder Kaillie Humphries in 2015 and speed skating gold medallist Catriona Le May Doan in 2002. Prime ministers of Canada have been featured, too, including Pierre Trudeau twice (1971 and 1978).

In 1977, it was the future King Charles III, then Prince of Wales.

American singer and actor Bing Crosby was in Calgary as marshal in 1959. Chiefs from Treaty 7 First Nations have led the parade several times in the Stampede's history.

In 1988, Spuds MacKenzie, a bull terrier that was featured in Bud Light beer advertising in the '80s, was a marshal.

"Spuds MacKenzie was a big deal at the time," said Will Osler, president and chair of the board of directors of the Calgary Stampede.

"I can't recall how Spuds was conveyed through the parade route. Was he on a horse, was he on a wagon? I don't know."

Osler says the selection process for picking marshals isn't scientific.

He says it's all about keeping their eyes open for a marshal who might embody the Stampede's values of community, achievement and dreaming big.

With files from The Homestretch and The Canadian Press

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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