By Cpl Lachance-Webster
We started the day like any other, besides it being Saturday. We all trickled in, one by one in silence and by 8:00 we were already at work. We’d done this many times before, now we had home advantage for the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Military Heritage Day ride; piece of cake. As we did a quick shine of our boots and brass, the anticipation set in. That familiar nervous feeling you get in your gut before a game, no matter how many times you do it. It never fails, we were all nervous, and could feel the adrenaline coming in the distance. Most of us had shown up way too early to make sure we hadn’t missed anything, and now were pacing about, anxious to get the show on the road.
We saddled up, marched off from the stables and soon arrived in front of the Harvey Building. There was a bigger crowd than I expected. I knew it was the Centennial for the Patricia’s, but for some reason I hadn’t anticipated this. Hundreds of people of all ages had gathered to watch our performance, the adrenaline and nervousness really set in. However, as we fell into the cavalry drills, nervousness was replaced with focus, determination and aggression. There’s nothing like playing on home turf and it was an honour to perform for the Patricia’s Centennial. Amidst applause from the crowd, our show soon came to an end. It was great seeing how all our blood, sweat, and tears paid off, but as the families cleared we knew that the day was far from over for us.
We headed back to the stables, changed and packed rapidly. We didn’t “fill in the blank” around with the Troop Warrant Officer, Sgt Paul Kruhlak, cracking the whip. We were all on the road within the hour, our destination, Bar-U Ranch. For those of you who don’t know, Bar-U Ranch was established in 1882, and hasn’t changed much since. At this National Historic Site, they use actors and guides dressed appropriately for the era in an effort to bring visitors back into the old ranching days. A trade that helped mold Western Canada into what we know it as today. Bar-U hosts an Old Time Ranch Rodeo every year, and this year we were invited to perform. Performing there was a great honour due to the rich historical connections our Regiment has with the ranch and the local area. It was one of the many meeting places of ranchers, teamsters, and North-West Mounted Police before the Regiment made its way across Canada to set sail for the Boer War in South Africa.
The crowd for this ride was one of the best we have seen this season. They cheered loudly and our hearts filled with pride as they sang along to our playing of the national anthem and God Save the Queen. Our short stay in the foothills of southern Alberta was amazing. The hospitality was warming and the food was fantastic! I would ride there all year round if I could. Overall it was a great weekend for the Troop, rich with the history of our regiment. We celebrated the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Military Heritage Day, the 100th anniversary of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and travelled back to our roots at the Bar-U Ranch. The morale of the Troop skyrocketed and our confidence grew. After completing the rest of the season, I still hold this ride as my favourite, because we got to show our brothers what we do and that we look damn good doing it! We now look forward to making next year a bigger challenge and a better season than ever before.