This year, the world-famous RCMP Musical Ride is on a cross-country tour in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, visiting all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territory. On August 12th and 13th, they performed 3 shows in Whitehorse, but they were also visible around town in other ways.
The last time (the only other time) that the Musical Ride was in Whitehorse was in 1995. They performed at Rotary Park then, but neither parking nor seating areas were really large enough. This year, a field was prepared for them beside the Canada Games Centre.
Cathy bought our tickets as soon as they were available. There aren’t many events you can go to for $11 anymore.
We parked at the Canada Games Centre and got in line just before 11:30 for the 1:00 performance, and at noon the “gates” opened.
Cathy got a front-row seat (we brought our own comfortable folding chairs), and I was behind a small child who was beside her. By 1:00, the area around the field was well filled by several hundred people.
Yukon favourites Hank Karr & the Canucks provided entertainment. When they sang “After Yukon“, a pretty fair percentage of the audience knew the words and could sing along when he asked us to 🙂
The opening “horse” act was the Spirit Riders 4-H Horse Club. It was great to see them out there. I’ve ever met a 4-H kid I didn’t like, and they put on an excellent performance.
Each of the Spirit Riders’ horses had a maple leaf on the rump. I thought that the Musical Ride horses had a maple leaf that was created by back-brushing the hair, but they didn’t this time.
At 1:55, the Musical Ride could be seen through the trees as they walked up Hamilton Boulevard from their stabes a kilometer away at Takhini Arena.
The underpass used by cross-country skiers made an impressive entrance for them, though my view was blocked a bit.
This entrance put a lump in my throat. I see people complain about the cost – I don’t care what it costs to instill the sort of pride this does in many people.
Inspector Patrick Egan is the Officer in Charge of the Musical Ride. He rides Piper, a 20-year-old gelding who is in his 14th year with the Musical Ride.
I put this photo as my Facebook cover photo right after the show.
Manoeuvres get increasingly complex. Some, the fleur de lis in particular, would be awesome to see from the air or at least a higher vantage point.
Being a member of the Musical Ride is now a 3-year term, though it used to be indeterminate and a few members have been there for many years. Each of the riders is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – they each come from regular policing duties, and return to regular policing duties after the 3 years is up. This is Constable Renée Everett joined the RCMP in 2009. Originally from Ottawa, this is her second year as a member of the Musical Ride. She rides Gendarme, an 8-year-old gelding in his third year with the Musical Ride.
Some of the members look very serious during the performance, but Corporal Geneviève Neily was more often smiling. Originally from Candiac, Quebec, she joined the RCMP in 1997, and has been a member of the Musical Ride since 2004. She rides Comet, a 12-year-old gelding in his 5th year with the Musical Ride.
A bit of video is probably needed to get a proper feeling for the Musical Ride, so I shot 40 seconds of it.
This is the extremely complex fleur de lis formation.
The dome formation.
And to finish off the performance, the charge!
Heather Jones was the oficial event photographer. Here, she’s starting the VIP portraits.
Each of the riders and their horse take up a position around the field to let people ask questions and meet the horses. The horses, even beyond their abilities in action, are amazing – they seem to take anything and everything in stride.
At 2:45, the Musical Ride formed up again and filed out of the field.
Cathy and I walked out to Hamilton Boulevard to watch them walk back towards the stables.
A visit to the stables was our next stop after giving them half an hour to get settled. It was pretty cool to see the arena converted this way.
Each of the Musical Ride members has their own “hockey card” that are very popular collectibles. I scanned Constable Sarah MacQuarrie’s to show you what they look like.
One final photo, of one of the 3 semi-trailer rigs that take the horses from place to place. Depending on the distance involved, riders take a bus or fly.
Today, August 14th, the Musical Ride is travelling to Skagway, Alaska, to perform. The weather forecast for Skagway isn’t bad – hopefully the 50% chance of showers turns to 0%. They then have a very long haul to Burnaby, BC, for the next performance on August 18th.