Some Random Thoughts From #rcmpmusicalride in #yqr

A group of eight of us were very excited to take in the “Canada 150” Edition of the RCMP Musical Ride last night, not least of which because Shea’s cousin’s husband is an RCMP member who has been training for the last couple years so that he could be riding in the Tattoo for this anniversary tour.

Here are a few random thoughts from the event…

  • I was very surprised to see the arena was maybe half full?  Not sure if it was poorly advertised or because it was a weeknight or if people just weren’t interested or if there is lingering backlash from an animal abuse scandal around the Musical Ride earlier this year or just why attendance was so low.  At the same time, I’m not sure we’d have taken our family if we didn’t have that personal connection either.
  • The Musical Ride is one of those things that’s so ubiquitous in Canadian culture that I literally don’t know if I’d seen it before live or only on TV but I feel like I *must have* seen it live at some point.  (I talked to a few people who felt exactly the same way.)
  • We weren’t sure exactly what the program would contain (beyond the actual Musical Ride of course) but, counting the intermission, it turned out to be a nearly three hour program with all sorts of elements – recent RCMP cadets marching in formation, a Metis fiddler, a woman singing a song about a soldier returning home from the war, a barbershop-style singing group, a well-known First Nations hoop dancer, cowboy poetry, trick riders, and more.
  • Speaking of cadets, it was interesting to see one cadet in a turban after all the controversy that surrounded this when it was an issue in the 1990’s.  An an atheist, my own view is that I wish that people wouldn’t wear religious symbols either.  But while some see this as breaking tradition or religion overriding things that it shouldn’t,  for me, it’s because I see religious symbols as fairly arbitrary and ultimately, if you don’t believe in a particular god (or goddess) about as meaningful as wearing the ball cap of your favourite sports team.  But on the flip side, I appreciate the gesture as a way to show openness and inclusiveness of diversity, something the RCMP hasn’t always been known for.  (Do those two sentences make me some sort of a hypocrite?  I guess my point is I don’t really care if people wear/believe in religious symbols as long as they’re not forcing them on other people and it works for them.  I’ve got mixed feelings about the ruling that allowed RCMP members to wear turbans and can see reasons it should be allowed and reasons it shouldn’t.  But ultimately, I wish we’d all get past the superstitions of nomadic desert tribes from two thousand years ago so that these types of things weren’t issues at all.)
  • If you pay attention to history at all, you’re probably going to also have some mixed feelings about what was a fairly “Hooray for Canada!” spectacle.  What does Gord Downie say?  “It’s not about our first 150 years.  It’s about fixing everything we did wrong during that time in the next 150 years.”  
  • It’s cool that the kick-off show was in Regina which is the original home of the musical ride and still home to the RCMP Training Depot (in fact, another cool experience was attending the wedding of Shea’s cousin and the person who is now riding in the Musical Ride at the Depot Chapel about eight years ago.  The chapel is either the oldest building in Regina or the oldest church – can’t remember which. And, even though I’m an atheist, I can still appreciate the history and beauty of religious things including Depot Chapel.)
  • $50 for five small popcorns and five drinks.  Ouch!Not that there has to be an obvious and direct connection but was I the only one who found it weird that the segment of the show about Indigenous people was sponsored by Maaco, the Autobody People?  Sometimes corporate sponsorships are…jarring.
  • At the same time, it was cool to hear that Maaco had sponsored tickets for 300 new Canadians.
  • On the other hand, I couldn’t help wonder if it was disturbing for any of those new Canadians to have guns (firing blanks) pointed at the section where they happened to be sitting during one point of the show, especially if they came from a war-torn country?
  • On that note, the guns were also pointed in the direction of the the nearby dignitary box too which I’m sure was unintentional but was also a bit unfortunate. 🙁
  • Speaking of (real) danger, there was one segment near the end where a pipe band walked out while the thirty or so mounted riders were in the arena and the bagpipes appeared to spook some of the horses who got a bit agitated and unruly. Luckily, the riders managed to keep them under control and, not sure if it ended abruptly or not but the bagpipes seemed to stop playing while the drummers continued.  Planned or not, that was very fortunate.   
  • Because we knew Shea’s relative, it was cool that we got to go to the barns on Monday night for a tour and a visit.  Then right before the show on Tuesday when the barns were officially open to the public, we got another visit (and the kids even got to feed apples to one of the horses!)

So, that’s some of my random thoughts – good and less good – about the show.  Overall, the show was a bit of a mixed bag with some really entertaining parts and some that were less engaging (possibly due to it being opening night?)

But overall, it was an entertaining, educational and fun night and I’m glad we went. And the musical ride was definitely the highlight – not just because we knew one of the riders but for the pageantry and history that it represents – right up there with hockey and Tim Horton’s as a piece of Canadiana!

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  1. From Head Tale - Throwback Thursday – #tbt – Las Vegas County Jail on 26 May 2017 at 9:03 am

    […] spending a lot of time this week with Shea’s cousin’s husband who’s an RCMP officer and a member of the Musical Ride, I thought it was important to note what this side of the family gets up to! […]

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