BCHBC Chapter Profile: West Kootenay
West Kootenay Chapter is the third largest Chapter of the Back Country Horseman in BC. We currently have 68 members. We take pride in having a very strong group of individuals who regularly participate in rides, events, work parties and meetings. Our main goals are to have fun, continue to learn, and enjoy each other’s company. Ask any of our members - we are an exciting group of fun loving horse enthusiasts, with terrific sense of humour.
Join the West Kootenay Chapter – you’ll be riding in great company!
In 2001 two of our founding members Richie Mann and Graham Jones headed to Spokane to attend Washington/Idaho Back Country RV and the Wild Horse Auction. The following year they attended the Back Country Horseman of BC, Rendevous at Wolf Creek Ranch in Pritchard where they received a warm welcome from Jim McCrae, Jack Breaks, Rose Schroeder and many others. Richie and Graham returned home with the belief that BCHBC shared similar goals to their Kootenay group of riders. All enjoying trail riding, packing, maintaining trails and striving to keep access to the back country open. In January of 2003 the first meeting of the Kootenay Boundary Chapter was held at a restaurant in Trail. A good group of people attended, and it was simple task to form a strong executive. In 2011 a decision was made to rename our chapter the West Kootenay Chapter better reflecting the location of our members and riding trails. Although the heart of our chapter is Trail the membership geographically spans to Slocan, Kootenay Lake, Salmo, Fruitvale, Nelson, Castlegar, and Rossland. Regardless of the distance our loyal members support our social events, riding events and attend our meetings. This loyalty shone through when our Chapter hosted Rendezvous at Rock Creek in 2011, with the theme “Bringing the Chapters Together”. Graham Jones led the Rendezvous organization team and the event was a big success.
We host approximately six annual rides, our first being the Historic Fort Shepherd Ride in Trail. This is a fundraiser poker ride hosted in conjunction with, and for our local 4H club. Rosebud Lake Ride in Salmo is a favorite; through 2014 Sue Buerge and a small group of dedicated helpers took on the project to improving the parking area and trails at Rosebud Lake making it an annual event. Fairly new to our trail rides is the Slocan Valley Rail Trail Ride. When Back Country Horseman joined with Slocan Valley Outriders Association and enjoyed the river ride to Lemon Creek. Camping is also an option for those wanting to explore more of the trails in the Slocan area. The Trail Horsemen’s Grounds in Trail is a perfect facility for our weekend camp over with great riding from the grounds and just a short haul to beautiful rides along Columbia River trails. One of our most spectacular scenic rides must be the Seven Summits in Rossland. This five hour round trip ride on mountain trails boasts magnificent, unsurpassed views in every direction. The Harding Heights Ranch in Oasis is our last group ride of the year hosted by Irene and Shauntelle Harding. The BBQ and bonfire social which follows is not to be missed.
Something to remember about the West Kootenay Chapter is that every event, ride, meeting, or symposium is Social.
Our meetings are very well attended, the locations may vary but the favorites are;
- The Colander-Trail
- Chances Casino- Castlegar
- Pend D’Oreille Steak Restaurant-Salmo
Dinner is 6:00 p.m. with the meetings starting at 7 p.m. In January we host a Pot Luck Supper & Silent Auction, and event to help rid you of the winter blues. Over fifty members with their family and friends join to eat a fantastic selection of food, socialize and raise funds to support our Chapter. The weekend before Christmas Rick and Arleen Fillmore host a BBQ & Bonfire Open House at their farm, Park Siding Arena. This event has proved to be one of the biggest social gatherings of horse enthusiasts in the area.
West Kootenay Chapter is committed to enjoying our equine friends safely when riding and doing groundwork. Each year we host an Educational Event with organized symposiums and guest speakers covering a multiple of subjects. In the past members have shared their skill and knowledge on packing, roping, knots and trailering. During May 2014 we organized a “Fun Day” where a crowd of over forty Back Country enthusiasts came to share their knowledge and learn something new. The obstacle course was a huge success as was Rick Fillmore’s demonstration on how to safely introduce your horse to potentially spooky objects and situations.
Our Executive Team
Vice Chair: Shauntelle Harding
Secretary: Laurie Merlo
Treasurer: Paul Hinton
BOD Alternate: Glen Leidloff
Social Director: Pam McIntosh
Past Chair: Richie Mann