Mayors wear red dresses to raise money for Heart Month

A new dimension was added to the long-standing hockey rivalry between two Southern Alberta cities, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. The communities, together with their Western Hockey League teams the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Medicine Hat Tigers, launched a unique fundraiser for Heart Month called the Mayor’s Red Dress Challenge. Mayor Bob Tarleck of Lethbridge and Mayor Normand Boucher of Medicine Hat, each agreed to wear a red dress as they dropped the puck on their home ice, to raise money and awareness for the elimination of heart disease and stroke. The Mayor collecting the lesser amount of money had to wear the opposing team’s jersey to his next council meeting; an even greater embarrassment than wearing women’s clothing.

Residents of both communities increased their donations as the Mayors became more creative by adding wigs, hats and heels to their outfits. The Mayors showed off their final ensembles in their home arenas to hundreds of hockey fans. On Sunday February 14, Mayor Tarleck dropped the puck at the Enmax Centre, wearing a sultry low-cut evening dress, accessorized with a red scarf and hat. Mayor Boucher stepped out on the Medicine Hat Arena ice on Friday February 26 in high heels, wearing a sleeveless red dress, blonde wig and a red hat adorned with flowers.  Mayor Tarleck took an early lead in the Challenge, but towards the end of the event, an anonymous donor put Mayor Boucher ahead with a $900 donation.

“I’ve been watching the Challenge closely and wanted to make sure Mayor Boucher didn’t have to wear the Hurricanes’ jersey at our council meeting in Medicine Hat,” said the donor. “[The Heart and Stroke Foundation] is a cause I always support anyway, and this was a special opportunity to increase my annual donation.”

At the end of the Challenge, both communities came out on top. Mayor Boucher and residents of Medicine Hat raised $3,355 and Mayor Tarleck and residents of Lethbridge raised $3,312.

The Mayor’s Red Dress Challenge is one of many successful events that happen all year round and are hosted by community groups, families and corporations across the province. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who hosted their own fundraising event for Heart Month. If you would like to create your own event in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, click here to get started now!

Top Left Photo: Medicine Hat Mayor Norm Boucher with Stan Heller, Area Manager of HSFA Southern Alberta Office.
Photo by Emma Bennett, courtesy of Medicine Hat News

Bottom Right Photo: Lethbridge Mayor Bob Tarleck.
Photo by David Rossiter