The RCMP Musical Ride is set to perform at the Hope sports bowl Thursday, July 19. RCMP photo

RCMP Musical Ride coming to Fraser Valley Thursday

Organizers prepare for arrival of 32 horses, hundreds of spectators to Hope July 19

Forty truckloads of sand, six of wood chips and three tons of hay have been delivered to Hope in preparation for the arrival of the RCMP Musical Ride Thursday.

A cancellation in another B.C. community got Hope in the running to host the musical showcase of 32 RCMP officers and their horses, who perform drills and figures in a carefully choreographed show. Between 600 and 700 tickets have already sold for the event, which also includes an RCMP police dogs demonstration and an open house at the Hope Arena where the horses are temporarily stabled.

“It’s kind of like synchronized swimming with horses,” said Scott Medlock, who is taking a week off to prepare for the big event. Medlock, James Talarico, Jim Lasser and Katie Talarico are the forces behind bringing the ride to Hope this year.

“The musical ride, some might know it as a type of drill team. So they’ll be intertwining with each other and 32 horses will be riding with riders,” Katie Talarico explained.

“I think it appeals to everybody, especially because it’s kind of unique to our area. It’s in other communities too like Langley and at the Agrifair, which seem like more agricultural type communities so they’re around horses a lot more. But in Hope, we don’t get that. So it’s our chance” Medlock said.

“You’re getting all these people dressed in Red Serge riding horses,” said James Talarico, referring to the red uniform jacket of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Both he and Medlock agreed the ride is a very patriotic, Canadian tradition. So Canadian, in fact, it was featured on the Canadian $50-bill for 10 years.

Organizers had help from family members as well as the Hope Lions Club to get ready with very little lead time. The call from the RCMP came February 3, since then it’s been pedal to the metal to sell tickets, promote and prepare for the influx of horses and riders.

It’s not a small undertaking for a community of this size: each host community has to supply the grounds, the venue, feed, hay and bedding for the horses as well as enough to get them to their next location.

The hope, Medlock said, is the ticket sales cover the circa $10,000 costs, which are relatively low as organizers have pitched in with their own businesses to get the work done. Any remaining earnings get donated back to the Hope Lions Club and Hope Motorsports Group.

The ‘barn’ inside the Hope Arena will be open, free of charge, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. The main event, taking place at the Hope sports bowl, will begin with a 7 p.m. pre-show including vaulting and reigning displays as well as RCMP police dogs. Veterans Mavis Wannamaker and Jack Laurence, honoured guests at the ride, will start off the main show at 8 p.m.

Medlock said tickets, $15 each with children 6 and under free, can either be picked up at Lordco, at the Blue Moose Thursday morning and at the gate.

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