Hooves of History Sep 27 to Oct 1, 2001

The Hooves of History was a fundraising event for the Western Heritage Centre to celebrate our western culture.

I spoke with Ken Aylesworth, Steering Committee Chair, President and CEO of the Western Heritage Center about his memories.

Click on any image for a larger view.

The goal of the event was as a fund raiser to establish an annuity to support the operation of the Western Heritage Centre.

The original goal was to have 2000 head of cattle driven by 1000 outriders. While that ambitious goal was not reached 1000 cattle and 750 drovers made the 55 km ride from Sibbald Flats near the Trans Canada Highway into Cochrane 4 days later.

The drive stopped for nights at a Campground, Tom Copithorne ranch and the last night at the Wine Glass Ranch. 

Neil Sanger and Maureen Tynan were married that night on the Wine Glass Ranch by Cowboy Poet Doug Richards along with 50 guests.

A team of volunteers was out front of the drive taking down ranchers fences and pounding posts to tie up horses at every nightly stop. The route was selected because land owners allowed the drive to cross private property many times providing the necessary insurance as well.

While in Cochrane, the cattle were auctioned off, a dance was held in the Western Heritage Centre parking lot, outhouse races took place, stage entertainment including a western shootout, and a Cowboy Church.

Ken says it was a big, big job requiring nearly 400 volunteers.

Jim Bates was responsible for feeding nearly 2000 riders, volunteers and media personnel. 30 Volunteers helped serve food along the drive and another 30 prepared daily boxed lunches. Jim says the meals were not exactly gourmet cuisine but there’s nothing quite like a hot meal cooked on the open plains.

By the time the ride is complete, Bates will have served 4,000 lbs of beef, 4,800 lbs of potatoes, 24,000 eggs, 1,500 lbs of bacon, 12,000 buns, 500 lbs of butter, 72,000 creamers in 35,000 cups of coffee and 6,600 boxed lunches.

From a Cochrane Times article September 27, 2000
Crossing the Jumping Pound Creek
Hugh Halladay 75 Rocky Mtn House Takes a lunch Break Cochrane Times Photo

People attended from around the world including the rest of Canada, England, Australia, Norway, Holland and many parts of the U.S. Ken estimates 30% of people attending were not from the area.

10 wagons followed the drive.

Besides saddle sores, there was only one injury. Ken’s dad Bob Aylesworth was thrown from his horse minutes from the start breaking his pelvis.

"The day we came down the hill to ride through Cochrane was very emotional. All this work and we were coming to the end of it all. The streets were lined and people were on the roof of the bar. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun."

Driving down Main Street, Cochrane Times Photo

Brad Dennis, a friend of Kens and an investment banker participated.  Ken convinced him to come and he had one of the most incredible experiences of his life with riding a horse and sleeping on the ground. When we stopped he said “Kenny, lets do it again.”

Hooves of History created a wonderful event for Cochrane. Media from around the world were here.

Thanks to Ken Aylesworth, the Cochrane Times and the Cochrane Historical Museum Archive for providing details of Hooves of History 2001.

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