The RCMP Musical Ride is to perform in Hay River on Aug. 25.
Peter Magill, the tourism and economic development co-ordinator with the Town of Hay River, said the visit is very exciting for the community.
Magill noted the feedback from the public has been “amazing” since the visit was announced on Jan. 23.
“I can’t believe how happy people are that this is happening,” he said. “It’s good to know that the community is behind the idea and they’re excited.”
One of those happy community residents is Sgt. Brandon Humbke, the commander of the RCMP Detachment in Hay River.
“From a community standpoint, I think it’s excellent,” he said. “The Musical Ride is both great ambassadors of the RCMP as well as involved in our communities, and it’s great to see them come out.”
Humbke said it is also very exciting for the members at the detachment.
“There’s quite a few of our detachment that have never seen the Musical Ride, and so it’s a great thing for them to see and maybe put their sights on later in their careers,” said the sergeant.
Magill expects the visit by the Musical Ride will help attract visitors to Hay River.
“I think it’s happening at the right time, sort of the end of August before school starts, so families will be here,” he said. “Hopefully, there will still be a large amount of tourists coming up.”
It is expected that the Musical Ride will arrive in Hay River on Aug. 23 and the horses will be accommodated on the ice surface at the Rec Centre.
Community members will have a chance to talk with the Mounties and see the horses on Aug. 24.
One performance of the Musical Ride will take place on Aug. 25 at the Glenn Smith Ball Field.
It will be the only performance in the NWT this year.
“We got a request from them for interest back in April,” said Magill. “So we’ve been sort of crunching some numbers, seeing as much information as we could gather about what it’s going to cost us to do this, and if we want to do it. And then we had to wait for the RCMP to come here and visit the sites that we were putting up as possible locations for the ride and for housing the horses, and then they would qualify whether they were suitable or not.”
That visit happened just before Christmas.
The last time the RCMP Musical Ride was in Hay River was in the early 2000s.
Magill has no exact estimate of how much the Musical Ride visit will cost the town, and in fact the goal is to actually make some money for a good cause.
“We’re hoping that our sponsors will help us defer some of the costs to hold the event and the small ticket price will raise some money to donate to a local charity,” he said. “The whole reason that they do the ride is not for profit and for charity recognition.”
The town is now looking for a service club to help with presenting the event.
Magill noted the Musical Ride is not expected to damage the ball field.
“We’ve been told by the RCMP that, unless there are a number of days of consistent rain, generally there’s not much damage to the field, at all,” he said.
Magill is awaiting confirmation on the number of horses coming with the RCMP Musical Ride so he will know how many stables to put into the arena.
The best estimate right now is 28 to 30 horses, and their riders.