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Musical Riders donate remaining funds

Ag Society and Haying in the 30's benefit from funds as the St. Paul Musical Riders Club dissolves.

ST. PAUL - After decades of performances, the St. Paul Musical Riders Club has officially dissolved, with remaining funds recently being donated into the community.

The memories created throughout the 1980s, 90s, and into the 2000s, will be cherished by those who were once involved. 

The idea to create the Musical Riders Club stemmed from the St. Paul Light Horse Club, in the mid 1980s. Under the leadership of Louis Jubinville, the Light Horse Club members and families were wanting an added challenge. Being a musical rider offered an opportunity for added training, increased horsemanship, and experience in precision riding, according to a brief history of the club. 

Interest in the club was strong in its early years. The musical riders began performing at the local level, in rodeos and taking part in parades. The group become well-known throughout central Alberta and appeared at the Lakeland Rodeo Association Finals, in St. Paul. 

In 1992, the club was asked to perform at Showcase '92, which was held in Calgary. The event was held a celebration of 75 years of 4-H in Alberta. 

The club took a break for a few years in the 90s, but in the fall of 1997, under the leadership of Maurice Fontaine, the 4-H Light Horse Club Musical Riders were re-born as the St. Paul Musical Riders Club. 

The riders once again began performing in the area. The club was even invited to be part EquiDance 2000, which was held in Calgary.

Donna Hanson was a long-time member of the musical riders. She acknowledges that it was a lot of work to keep the club going, but she enjoyed her time with the musical riders.

While deciding what to do with the remaining funds that were still in the club's bank account, Hanson says she reconnected with former members who shared similar sentiments, saying they too will fondly remember being part of the club.

"I was lucky enough to lead the club performances for the last few years in a lot of the performances. I loved the ride and its challenges," says Hanson.

The musical riders' last performance was in August of 2010 in Westlock, and included eight riders. After that, the club never practiced again. 

Over 100 people from the community rode with the club since it began in the 1980s. 

With the club no longer active, but some money still in the organization's name, a decision was made to donate the funds to two local causes - the St. Paul Ag Society and Haying in the 30's. Presentations were made a few weeks ago to the two organizations. Both groups received just over $8,300.

The St. Paul Ag society was asked to earmark the donated funds in case a new riding group wants to form a similar club in the future. The funds will be seed money to help a potential group start out. 

Haying in the 30's, a local cancer support society, was chosen as the second recipient due to the musical riders losing a number of former club members to cancer.