District council has saddled up to bring the iconic RCMP Musical Ride to Sooke this summer.
Sooke councillors pledged $10,000 to help sponsor the event, along with the Sooke Lions Club. More sponsors are needed.
Although there’s no charge from the RCMP for the event, there are other costs, including horse feed, hay, shavings, bleachers sound systems, portable toilets and shuttle buses. Cost estimates are $25,000 to $30,000.
“We hope to raise some funds with partnerships [with] local government and businesses that might benefit from this high-profile event,” said Steve Wright, a Sooke Lions Club member.
The Musical Ride will be performed at Fred Milne Park on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19. The ride involves 32 Mounties in red serge and wide-brimmed hats doing calvary skills set to music atop 32 horses.
The two shows include pre-show entertainment followed by the ride. The show on Aug. 19 will feature a sunset ceremony.
Tickets to the Musical Ride are $5 each, and a portion of the tickets will be made available to Sooke residents before offered to others in Greater Victoria.
Proceeds from the Musical Ride will be donated to Cops for Cancer.
The first Musical Ride was held at the Regina barracks in 1887 and regular public performances began in 1904, when a troop travelled to regional fairs in Winnipeg, Brandon, Qu’Appelle and Regina.
Today, the ride is based outside Ottawa. Members are primarily police officers who have at least two years of active police-work experience, although they don’t need riding experience.
Officers have to try out for the position after a five-week course, then pass a six-month training period and test before joining the troop.
In addition to Sooke, the RCMP Musical Ride will also perform in Parksville on Aug. 21 and 22, Courtenay from Aug. 24 to 26 and Duncan on Aug. 28 as part of a Vancouver Island tour.
The RCMP Musical Ride performed in Victoria and Colwood last summer as part of a special Canada 150 tour.