The Musical Ride was last in Fort St. John in 1993, and also took place in 1981 and 1977. First developed in 1876, RCMP use the event as a tool to share information about and support community policing efforts, as well as contribute to local non-profit organizations. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the North Peace Justice Society and the Fort St. John Rotary Club, in return for their planning of the event. Dan Davies, a member of the organizing committee, says they want this to be a family friendly event, with tickets to cost $10 each.
“I remember going to the area and watching the Musical Ride when I was a kid, so it’s a great family event you can get everyone out to,” he says.
He also points out that the next closest Musical Ride this summer is in Prince George, and invites the rest of northeast B.C. to attend.
Fort St. John is in a unique position in that not only is there a local officer performing as part of the ride, Inspector Pat Egan also took part in the 1980’s, and a current officer will be joining next year. Constable Brett Cunningham joined the Musical Ride last year after serving at the Fort St. John detachment since 2008. He says he’s looking forward to coming back home to perform after training in Ottawa since last June, and working with his horse, Bruce, who is also on his first year with the Musical Ride.
“It’s important that the horse and the rider firm that [partnership] down, especially with a horse like Bruce, so that he can trust me that I’m not going to ride into any danger and push through his nervousness,” he explains.
Cunningham didn’t have much experience on a horse before training, just like Constable Kyle Kifferling who recently learned he will be joining him this summer to train for next year’s ride. Both Kifferling and Inspector Egan, who rode from 1984 to 1986, say it’s a point of pride to be selected to the team.
“I grew up in Ottawa near the horse stables of the Musical Ride,” says Egan, “and it was something that I always had in my mind that I’d like to do, so it was quite an honour to get on the Musical Ride.”
“I grew up in a small community, watched the ride, what it’s like to be a Mountie,” adds Kifferling. “I’m excited; it’s going to be a great adventure in my career.”
Performances will take place at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Horse Park, and tickets are now available through the North Peace Cultural Centre online or by calling 250-785-1992.