One hundred and twenty-five people will be re-enacting the
journey, beginning May 8, 1999. Starting in Emerson, Manitoba,
the first group will enjoy 18 days of riding until they reach
the stop in Saskatchewan. There they will turn back and the next
group will carry on. The final destination will be reached on
July 28 in Alberta.
As a part of the Garden Valley Teacher Association Representatives
on the Local planning committee, Miller was involved in the decision
that the community would sponsor a rider to represent Winkler
and the surrounding area for the trip. The offer was opened up
to the public and in Manitoba alone, 10,000 people applied for
But few people met the qualifications such as having a horse,
being physically fit enough to participate, and being able to
receive time off from work. Three hundred people are currently
on the waiting list if one of the riders is unable to go.
Miller and Sherra Penner, a recent GVC graduate, were both
chosen to participate.
"Sending a teacher and a young person speaks very highly
of the community," says Miller.
One hundred twenty-five riders will join in each of the three
phases of the March West. Twenty five of those participants will
be RCMP officers and the other 100 will be civilians such as
Miller and Penner. One hundred seventy-five other riders will
be joining in as part-time riders for two to ten day stretches.
There will be a maximum of three hundred riders at a time, not
including the wagons coming along on the road.
Asked why she would leave her family and work for so long,
Miller replied, "Horse people don't even ask. There is
a passion felt for your horse and riding in nature. It's sort
Miller's father will be driving her truck and trailer during
the eighteen days and she is looking forward to spending that
time together with him. Miller's two son's will also be camping
with her on the weekends when they don't have school.
Miller says she is looking forward to many aspects of the
"My time with my horse, meeting new people and just experiencing
Yet with the good may come the bad; riders are nervous about
what the weather will be like.
"It could be snow or 80 degrees outside," says Miller,
In the case of spring floods and washed-out roads, there are
alternate routes planned.
As a teacher, Miller is nervous about leaving her students
with someone else for that amount of time, as well as spending
so much time away from her family.
"The boys are excited that Mommy is going to be on TV
and on the news and in the newspapers," says Miller. "I
don't think it has sunk in yet just how long I'll be away. Another
thing that is hard is leaving my husband to do the single-parent
thing along with the rest of the chores at home."
Miller's will return home from the ride on May 27th. Would
she like to go all the way to Alberta?
"If nothing was holding me back," she says, "I
would do it."
The community has been very supportive of Laura Miller and
"I hear lot's of 'congratulations' and 'way to go' from
people," says Miller. She is pleased to be a part of "the
biggest RCMP venture since the original March West."