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Back Country Horsemen ready to Rendezvous

The Aldergrove chapter of the Back Country Horsemen Society of BC is saddling up to celebrate the not-for-profit organization’s 25th anniversary.

To commemorate the significant milestone, members are taking part in an upcoming three-day bash – equestrian-style, of course – and are encouraging the public to participate.

From May 30 to June 1, 300 to 350 campers,  115 horses and attendees from all over B.C. are expected to trot on over to the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre, 21973 132 Ave.,  for  Rendezvous 2014 – an annual fundraiser held in various locations across B.C.

This year’s event, co-hosted by the Aldergrove and Yarrow Chapters of the Back Country Horsemen Society of BC, will  offer plenty to do, according to Peter Thiessen, vice chair of the Aldergrove chapter and chair of  Rendezvous 2014.

“Whether you attend RV2014 with your horse or not ... there will be lots to see and do – and eat of course,” he said of the family friendly fête that will include some big-ticket entertainment, including a live performance by Canadian Country Music Award nominee and former Aldergrove resident Aaron Pritchett, with special guests One More Girl – a CCMA winner.

“For those who are camping with their horses, there will be  opportunities for trail rides. And for those who don’t own horses, there are plenty of events to keep you busy.”

Preston GM Sunrise Trailers Vendors Fair will showcase a wide selection of GM Trucks and a complete line of horse trailers, including equestrian vendors and educational guest speakers.

There will also be a performance by the Langley Riders Drill team, a hoof & woof contest, auditing of expert clinicians: Glenn Stewart, Sam Sunderland and Debbie Hughes, packing competitions and much more.

In the past, the Rendezvous has been open to members of the Back Country Horsemen – this year it’s a public event that all ages are encouraged to attend.

“This year we decided to do it differently,” said Thiessen, who joined the group  back in 2005.

“We felt it was important for the public to see what it is we do in regards to the horse community and hopefully encourage others to come and join our organization, whether it’s the Aldergrove, Yarrow or one of the various other groups throughout the province.”

Back Country Horsemen of BC is a 100 per cent volunteer-run organization that focuses on safety for horses and riders, environmental stewardship, trail building and maintenance.

The group started in Langley, back in 1989 by a small group of equine enthusiasts, including founder Jim McCrae.

“Jim realized that British Columbia could use an organization like this to band together recreational riders,” said Thiessen.

“Today, Jim –  who will be at the event – is still a driving force that never misses a chance to discuss Back Country Horsemen.”

With the combined good efforts of that small group, Back Country Horsemen Society of British Columbia (BCHBC) received official ‘not for profit’ status on June 11, 1991. BCHBC today provides:

• An environment for equestrians who are interested in trail riding and the back country;

• A social, safe learning atmosphere where people of all ages and experience can enjoy trail riding and the wilderness experience.

The group is always open to having extra hands to help out, notes Thiessen.

“We could always use more volunteers – a lot of what we do is volunteer-based.”

Thiessen also credits the corporate sponsors and the Township of Langley for their continued suppo rt.

“We continue to be moved by the corporate support — without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, along with the political support we’ve received from the TOL — in particular, the funding in the completion of the South Langley Regional Trail.”

Whether you’re interested in joining the Back Country Horsemen or to just come for the party, Thiessen encourages anyone and everyone to come swing by.

“Come and see all the different educational of what’s going on – come for just one day or all three. It’s going to be a significant event with people coming from all over to attend.”

All entertainment is included with the purchase of a Super Saturday pass. Admission to the grounds starts at 9 a.m

To purchase your tickets online, visit  www.bchorsemen.org. Anyone with questions regarding tickets or registration are asked to email  RV2014@shaw.ca.

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