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Bar U Ranch opens for 20th season

Bar U Ranch Rodeo, courtesy of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.

Bar U Ranch Rodeo, courtesy of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.

Pincher Creek Echo
May 26, 2015
By Lambie Carruthers

Bar U Ranch is throwing open its doors May 17 and has old-fashioned discoveries for all to experience.

There will be a blend of old and new attractions this year for visitors to explore, said Mike McLean, Bar U Ranch site manager.

“We enjoyed a record attendance season in 2014 with more than 19,000 stopping by,” McLean said.

On opening weekend there will be horse action near the visitor centre as volunteers plant crops and the Percheron teams move the wagons back and forth between the historic buildings.

Visitors can try their hands at roping and watch the leatherworks show their craftsmanship in their workshop.

This year visitors are invited to tour the newly restored root cellar, McLean added.

Other activities planned this season include the Friends of the Bar U Trail Ride, the Old Time Ranch Rodeo, and the Chore Horse Competition.

The ranch, which officially opened as a Parks Canada national historic site 20 years ago, the only national historic site to commemorate the significance and history of ranching in Canada, according to Parks Canada.

The ranch will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary of its grand opening on July 30 with cake and fun festivities.

Special guests for the 2015 season include the Canadian Cowboy Challenge and the Canadian Border Collie Association annual Championship Sheep Dog Trial.

Bar U Ranch welcomes patrons to join them in celebrating Canada Day on July 1 with cake, flag raising and music. The Strathcona Mounted Troop will be participating in the day’s activities by performing their cavalry drills and equine exercises.

The season’s special events include the Bar U chuckwagon cook-off where people can sample the competitor’s culinary delights cooked over an open fire.

John Barlow, Member of Parliament for Macleod, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today invited Canadians to join Parks Canada at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site as they begin their exciting 20th season.

Come out and explore the historic ranch from the comfort of a Percheron drawn wagon or step down and watch the ranch day unfold in and out of the historic buildings. Special guests for 2015 include participants in the Canadian Cowboy Challenge (a timed obstacle course done at speed) June 27th and 28th as well as participants in the Canadian Border Collie Association annual Championship Sheep Dog Trial August 27th to 30th.

The roster of special events this year includes the Bar U Chuckwagon Cook-Off. Come meet the next generation of round-up camp cooks on Sunday, June 7th. Sample the competitors’ version of beef stew and biscuits, cooked over an open camp fire. While the stew bubbles, settle back with a cup of cowboy coffee and enjoy some cowboy tales.

On July 1st, come celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday with cake, flag raising and some old fashioned country celebration.

On July 18th the Bar U Ranch celebrates Parks Day and is proud to welcome back the Strathcona Mounted Troop for a display of equine precision and breathtaking cavalry drills.

Don’t miss the highlight of the summer on July 30th, the 20th Anniversary of Bar U Ranch’s First Opening Day. Parks Canada will be serving up cake, fun and other festivities. Stop by and help “round up” some new memories for the next 20 years!

The season will round out with the pleasant Friends of the Bar U Trail Ride, the thrilling Old Time Ranch Rodeo which adds a Ranch Horse Competition this year and our fall Chore Horse Competition.

Look for Parks Canada’s red chairs at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. The red chairs give us an opportunity to stop and connect with nature and history in Canada’s most treasured places. There are not many better places to do so than in the incredible surrounding that Parks Canada has to offer.

Quick Facts:

* Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until September 30.

* The Bar U Ranch is the only national historic site to commemorate the history and importance of ranching in Canada. It was acquired by Parks Canada in December of 1991.

* Last year, more than 19,000 people experienced the incredible history of the Bar U Ranch – a record for attendance at the site.

*Government of Canada news release