Riverside State Park Grand Opening – As published in the Trailhead News Nov 2014
Saturday September 27, 2014 marked the Grand Opening of the new equestrian area at Riverside State Park in Spokane Washington. I’m proud to say that the Back Country Horsemen of Washington were well represented in this large event that brought in horse folk from around the region, indeed even from out of state!
Yea, you say, BCHW puts on a lot of activities what’s so special about this one?
Well to start the grand opening wasn’t a BCHW event all. The Riverside State Park Foundation was the organizer and invited many other equestrian groups besides BCHW. Mounted Drill Teams, 4-H chapters, Dressage clubs, Mounted Sheriff’s Patrol, Cowboy Poets, Competitive Mounted Orienteering groups, Veterinary clinics, Therapy Centers, Mounted Shooting, and even Jousting clubs were there to celebrate the newly opened equestrian arena that the park has to offer horse riders.
Even though the Inland Empire Chapter was just one of many equestrian groups that had representatives manning booths for the many hundreds of spectators that came through during the day, the BCHW setup was the largest by far with multiple areas where visitors could learn all about what BCHW does to help them stay on the trails.
IEBCH members were on deck in a wide variety of capacities from Vern Hopkins and Ken Elliot showing people how BCH packs in equipment ranging from hand tools to bridge decking. Talk about blending science and art; these guys made hard work look easy and drew a steady crowd throughout the day.
Inland Empire chapter President Don Dyer was the highline guy and regaled the crowd with tall tales as he demonstrated how to set up a safe highline for the many visitors with an interest in learning how to camp with their horses.
Ken Carmichael, chapter Director and head socializer, mingled with the press and local dignitaries keeping them in the loop with information about BCH.
Nolan Tobler attracted a steady flow of the curious with his expert discussions on hoof care and a slightly morbid display featuring a cut away horse hoof.
The TrailMeister was on hand and I had a wonderful time helping riders learn how to Stay Found on the trails.
Of course it wouldn’t be BCHW without food and no one went hungry. Talk about a spaghetti feed of epic proportions! I don’t know how Doug Bailey and his crew of able chefs did it, but I think every one there had a heaping plate of goodness that was the talk of the show – I heard more bravos for the food than I did about the jousting!
The most important person of the day was Ari Tobler who was tireless as she handed out BCHW pamphlets, literature, and member sign up forms. The rest of us did what we could to get people interested in the many facets of BCHW but Arie was the one who let them know how they could become BCHW members and join us in the fun! I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll need to set up more tables and chairs at our next membership meeting.
Although the Inland Empire had the largest number of members in attendance we weren’t the only Back Country Horsemen there and that was in many respects the must illuminating for me. I had never before really thought about how much cross pollinating BHC does with other equine organizations.
In between talking with droves of riders and occasionally trying to sneak a bite of that glorious spaghetti I saw that many of the people manning the other booths were also BCH members from other chapters and even other BCH state organizations. Several members of the Sheriff Community Oriented Policing Effort (S.C.OP.E.) Mounted Patrol are BCH members, as were several from the mule club as well as other groups.
Well there you have it. BCH can have a huge impact by just attending an event and letting people know what it is that we do. The Inland Empire BCHW crew made a big dent in letting lots of Washington and Idaho horse folk learn more about the best kept secret in the equine world.