By JESSE BERTEL
Across the Street
As approximately 100 riders flank the Courthouse Plaza on three sides, heading up historic Whiskey Row, spectators will get to witness this tribute to the American horse. The Prescott Long Riders will complete a 10-mile trail ride and all-horse parade from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, starting at Granite Dells Trailhead and ending at the Courthouse Plaza.
The 8th Annual Prescott Long Riders Event features live music from Country Singer Tyller Gummersal, a BBQ dinner from Colt’s Grill and a Color Guard Ceremony.
Riders will begin staging at Granite Dells Trailhead at 7 a.m. with breakfast served. At 9 a.m. the riders will head to Watson Lake for a group photo. Next, they ride south to their lunch stop at Granite Creek Trailhead. They will have nearly an hour to eat lunch and water their horses. Then, they head off to the VA Hospital for the National Anthem and a ceremony honoring veterans. Immediately following, they will take a short trip over to Yavapai College/Tribal Bunkhouse to stage for the Parade and hand out flags and serapes.
Maggie Alderson, Prescott Long Riders president, explained that the event is the only “all horse” parade in Ariz. to raise funds for veterans.
“The event’s mission is to raise awareness and generate funds to help the needs of veterans,” Alderson said. “This year we support the Native American veterans through our partnership with NAVAHCS.”
Alderson added that the purpose of the event is to honor the contributions veterans and horses have made to this country.
“100 years ago, every parade was driven by horses,” Alderson said. “Nowadays, they are driven by engines and exhaust. This parade celebrates the American horse and what this Country was built on. [We want] to celebrate the American horse that helped build this country and honor the veterans who served and sacrificed to protect it and the very freedoms we enjoy each day.”
According to Alderson, the event started with a discussion between two cowboys.
“10 years ago, two cowboys sat at their favorite Whiskey Row bar discussing how modern parades were motorized,” Alderson said. “They commented that a parade with only horses is what was needed and so it began.”
After the horses complete the parade around the Courthouse, they will end at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds to enjoy a BBQ dinner, live music, cold beer and watch some of the roping competition in the main arena.
For more information and sign up for the ride, visit www.prescottlongriders.com.
Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.