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Welcome to our online History Book
A Tribute to George Willcocks - A True Historical Pioneer
George Willcocks by his own account “fell in love with Medicine Hat” and never left. A former publisher with the Medicine Hat News, George passed away on September 10th, 2018 at the age of 93 years but not before making a valuable contribution in preserving an important part of the history of his adopted City-Medicine Hat.
George was born and grew up in Toronto and became a journalist, first working for the Montreal Gazette. He later came out west and was employed by the Calgary Herald, which was part of the Southam Newspaper chain. His 42-year career as a “newspaper” man was highlighted when he was transferred by the organization to Medicine Hat in 1986 to become the publisher of the Medicine Hat News.
No doubt as a result of his time in Calgary, George had a strong connection to his community and in particular, rodeos and therefore, it was quite natural for him to become involved the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Company. This is best exemplified by the publication in 1996 of his book entitled, "A History of Exhibition and Stampedes in Medicine Hat”.
George had become a volunteer and Director with the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Company and in 1993 was approached by the Stampede by-law committee to write a four paragraph overview of the history of the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede to be printed on the back page of a proposed Stampede Director’s Handbook.
What started out as a “simple” project grew into a passion, as George decided, rather than writing a brief historical summary, to instead research and write a book about the history of the Stampede in Medicine Hat. Long before the advent of the Internet, social media and convenient search engines, George decided to research and write his book the “old-fashioned” way. Being an “old school newspaper guy” and having ready access to the Medicine Hat News archives, he poured over countless back pages of the newspaper in order to obtain accurate original source material for his book. More importantly, all of his research material was carefully copied, indexed and preserved into several volumes of “history”, which continues to be available even today.
The end result was a 130 page book that was published to commemorate the Golden anniversary of the Stampede’s move to its current location and more importantly, it became an valuable historical document which preserves the history of an important and integral part of the history of the City of Medicine Hat-“a place he fell in love with”.
The creation of this Historical “portal’ on the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Company website, which contains among other things reference to various passages from of his book is dedicated to George Willcocks, whose foresight and passion for preserving the history of the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede makes him a true historical pioneer.
A hard cover copy of the History Book can be purchased at the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede Office for $20.00