Highlights from Rendezvous 2017
By Lisa Galanov
The Back Country Horsemen of BC returned to the beautiful town of Merritt this year for their annual gathering, Rendezvous. With 22 chapter scattered over the province, Rendezvous is an opportunity for Back Country Horsemen to get together and visit, raise money, hand out awards, learn from clinicians, participate in some fun activities and get out on the trails and ride.
There was a diverse array of clinics this year, Sam Sunderland came back and worked on teaching his clinic participants how to train the trail horse. Andonia Reynolds taught Equine First Aid, where participants learned how to prevent injuries, different bandaging techniques and learned horses’ vital signs. A new clinic for RV participants was Mounted Archery put on by Stephanie Laversin and Robert Borsos of Fraser Valley Mounted Combat. This was a new experience for many BCHBC members with many now off to buy bows and arrows to continue practicing in this unique activity.
The Packing Clinic and Competition returned again, with two clinics, one taught by Jamie Davidson and Andrea Thomson of Tyax Adventures and the other by Stan Walchuk of Blue Creek Outfitting. They all have years of experience and spent time presenting their knowledge and teaching hands on. The weekend culminated with a Packing Competition where four teams competed for an amazing prize of new pack boxes donated by Custom Pack Rigging in Lillooet. Rose Schroeder and Cole Barker were declared the winners and at 17 years of age, Cole is off to a great packing career.
The Dutch Over Dessert Cook Off was held and our judges, Brian Wallace, Richard Christenson, Ron Stolp and Nancy Spratt from Horse Council had the difficult task of eating a lot of desserts and deciding on a winner. Michelle James took home first place with her “Chocolate Caramel Coconut Bar” and Eleanor Elston was runner up with her “Chocolate Raspberry Cake. Eleanor seems to have caught the Dutch-Oven cooking bug having won or bid on all three Dutch Ovens in the Auction!
The Ernie Buckles Cowboy Poetry Contest was held again and we had a great turnout of performers. Our audience were alternately laughing and crying with the range of wonderful poems, some original and some old favorites. Kevin Gourlay was the winner of this year’s buckle with his rendition of The Man From Snowy River. Congratulations.
We were thrilled to be able to announce the winner of the BCHBC’s new awards, The John Gardner Volunteer of the Year Award and The Outstanding Project Award. The BCHBC developed these awards last year to honour our volunteers who put so much time and effort into the organization and the great projects our chapters work on in their areas to preserve, protect and maintain our province’s trail system and staging areas.
The Central Vancouver Island Chapter was awarded the Outstanding Project for their work on the Sprusten Rec Site. They worked over the past four years to develop infrastructure at the Spruston site, which is next to the Trans Canada Trail.
The John Gardner Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Rose Schroeder.
Rose has been working with the BCHBC and many other organizations for more years than we can count, helping to advocate for BC’s trails system, promoting and teaching safe horsemanship and horse packing skills and working to bring together the all the users groups to make our trails safe and accessible. Her work is invaluable to the BCHBC.
The Mack Family provided entertainment on Friday and on Saturday it was our annual Live Auction. The Auction is held to raise funds for trail projects and the ongoing work of the BCHBC, a great time was had by all. We had an amazing group of sponsors including Timber Ridge Trails, Cahilty Hotel, Chilcotin Holidays, the A-P Ranch, Quail’s Gate Winery, and Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, just to name a few.
Rendezvous 2017 was the culmination of many months of hard work by a great and hard working team plus numerous volunteers on the weekend itself made it another successful year.