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Dunmore Heritage Gather Event July 12-14

Posted on July 9, 2024 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dunmore Equestrian Grounds in Dunmore, Alberta will play host to the third annual ‘The Heritage Gather’ from July 12 to 14, 2024.

Kathy Schnell says that the event will open on Friday at 6 p.m. with a special pow-wow demonstration done by The Wild Tongues Drum Group, which are a group of pow-wow dancers that will perform several Indigenous dances including the jingle dress dance, the chicken dance, and a fancy dance. The event, Schnell says, will also open the event on the Saturday as well.

“I just think it’s an amazing event that combines both the western heritage and Indigenous culture, and it
brings both together,” said Schnell.

“That is what developed Western Canada.”

Corie Schock, a Director on the Dunmore Equestrian Board of Directors as well as the Secretary, says that following the pow-wow demonstration, the rodeo will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday evening and will be presented by Rugged Rodeo.

On Saturday morning, Schnell says, the day begins at 8 a.m. with a Western Tractor Breakfast and that will run until 10 a.m. Following breakfast, Schnell says, the James Hargrave Memorial Ranch Scramble and Top Puncher Competition starting at noon.

“They compete in five events, which are doctoring, branding, penning, trailer loading, and tie down,” said Schock.

“We cap it at 20 teams and the top eight from the Ranch Scramble then go on to compete in the evening rodeo.”

The Ranch Scramble itself, Schock says, is called James Hargrave Memorial to honor James Hargrave, who was a local rancher and firefighter in the area who lost his life in the 2017 Hilda Fire.

“We do that for James’ family, and his wife Liz and their children always attend the event,” said Schock.

“Any proceeds that we get from the James Hargrave Ranch Scramble, we give to the James Hargrave Legacy fund, so we donate money to that legacy fund every year. That’s one way we can give back to Liz, the family, and the community.”

On the Sunday of the event, Schock says, there will be Barrel Racing and Team Roping Jackpots during the day beginning at 10 a.m.

Schock says that The Heritage Gather will also feature Western Tractor Gather Patio Beer Gardens all weekend where the band ‘Mahoney’ will play Saturday night after 9:30 p.m.

Schnell says that there will also be an artisan market during throughout the event that will feature several Indigenous artists including Brenda Mercer, who will be teaching a free workshop on how to make leather medicine bags. In addition to that, Schnell says, she hired ‘Cowboy Joel’ Lybbert to do a halftime performance involving buffalo and bison and he will also teach kids to twirl rope and make ropes how they were in the 1900’s with a vintage rope-making machine that he later gives out as souvenirs. Schnell says she also arranged for teamsters to provide free wagon rides around the property during the Friday night and Saturday rodeos. There will also be mutton busting available, according to Rugged Rodeo Contractor Al Bouchard.

“What we’re trying really hard to do is get people to come to this heritage event,” said Schnell. “Last year, I had some people come that were from Paris, France, and they stopped when they saw the teepees and they said, “Only in Alberta would you ever get to stop and see an Indigenous performance and a Wild West rodeo. They were so happy. They
figured we should be marketing this internationally because they said that’s what the Europeans want to
come and see.”

Schock says that the Dunmore Equestrian Board of Directors organized this year’s event and Bouchard stated that approximately 10 or 15 people were involved in putting on the event, and there will also be a cheer team that’s going to run the run the gate to raise money for their organization.

There are also two announcers, Bouchard says: Jordan Pancoast and Neil Sielicki, and they do a good job and are entertaining.

“I’m pretty proud of the event that we got started,” said Bouchard. Schock says that those involved in making the event a reality include Kelly Creasy, Justin Kraft, Corie Schock, Joyce Stuber, Cathy Schnell, Eugene Erick, Paul Blasetti, Nic Wittig, Dominique Hirsch, Blair Reid. Reid, Schnell says, is a lifetime honorary board member and the founder.

“We would have none of this without Blair; he’s the kingpin,” said Schnell. “This was his vision in 2010, whenever he was getting close to retirement, he wanted to give back to his community and this is what he started. He started the nonprofit and he happen ed to go by my place and say, “Kathy, what are you doing with those horses? And I said, “Well,
I really am interested in bringing equine therapy to my community. He said, maybe you should help me.” The rest is history. We now have this over $3 million facility out there.”

Bouchard states that he personally assisted in helping to make The Heritage Gather a reality, as he believed the facility needed a rodeo that was unique.

“I had a meeting with their members, and we decided we’re going to make something different than just a regular rodeo,” said Bouchard. “There are rodeos all over the country, so we thought, “Why don’t we put it based around our heritage – the heritage of Medicine Hat and area? And then there was a guy by name of James Hargrave who was killed in the prairie fires, and everybody liked him a lot.”

“I didn’t know myself personally, but everybody said he was a great person and they wanted to keep his name alive. That’s how we ended up getting the Ranch Scramble event and the horsemanship events.”

Admission to The Heritage Gather, Bouchard said, is $20 per day, a weekend pass is $35, and 10 and under is free and people can pay at the gate. Last year’s event, Bouchard, had close to 2,000 people in attendance.

“We had some people come, and we had fans that were all the way from out in Eastern Canada stop by, and they, they loved it,” said Bouchard. “Everybody always tells me how good a show it was and how much they enjoyed it. I’m proud of the product we’re putting out for the community.”

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