Historical Highlights of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies

By Michelle Tilly
(Revised 2014 edition by S. R. Watkins)

The Founding Four Fathers…

The history of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies dates back to 1923.

The Rockwall area in Kootenay National Park had little historical significance were it not for a 1923 gathering that took place along the trail. In August 1923 Dr. John Murray Gibbon organized a fishing trip along the Columbia River. As chief publicist for the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) Gibbon had a number of friends in high places. The adventurers he assembled for the trip included Reginald Townsend, editor of Country Life in America magazine, and his wife, Madeline Drexel Townsend; Harry Beach Clow, President of the Rand McNally Map Company and his wife, Elizabeth Clow; famous Chicago artist Reinhold Heinrich Palenske and his wife, Eva Helen Palenske; H. Armstrong Roberts; Byron Harmon, photographer and official photographer for the Alpine Club of Canada; Walter Nixon, an outfitter and guide from the Windermere region, outfitted the party and brought along his friend, Madeline Turner. They traveled from the Kootenay River to the Wolverine Plateau near Tumbling Glacier, probably along the Beaverfoot River and up Dainard Creek to Wolverine pass. A snowstorm on the plateau confined them to their tents for three days. Though no doubt discouraged by the delay, the group took full advantage of their enforced break to set their imaginations free. These experienced travelers found the ride along the Rockwall to be the most scenic they had ever taken. Far from wishing to keep such experiences to themselves, they believed that recreational riders should have regular opportunities to participate in such trips. The result of their discussion was the founding of, “The Order of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies.”

The four founders (Gibbon, Clow, Palenske, and Townsend) felt that a prominent executive committee would give the group credibility and provide the momentum needed to launch it. When Gibbon returned to Montreal he set about convening just such a committee. To help provide a draw for its hotels at Banff and Lake Louise, the C.P.R. sponsored not only the Trail Riders, but later, sister organizations, the Skyline Hikers and the Banff Ski Runners and set about advertising the “Order” worldwide. Dr. Charles Walcott, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, was asked to serve as President and H.B. Clow, Vice President. Gibbon himself took on the role of secretary-treasurer, a position he held for the remainder of his active life. His role at the C.P.R insured strong financial support to the trail riders. “The Council,” an advisory committee, consisted of J.B. Harkin, Commissioner of Dominion Parks; W. T. Hornaday, Director, New York Zoological Society; Sir James Outram, a noted mountaineer (who made the first ascent of Mnt. Assiniboine); Carl Rungius, a wild life artist; Mary Vaux Walcott, Mary Schaffer, botanist and explorer; Jim and Bill Brewster, Jim Simpson, and Bill Potts, outfitters.

Editors note: I am grateful to Mr. Emerson Sandford who gave me permission to update our information with the preceeding two paragraphs with more accurate information. After twenty years of research and hiking every trail in the mountain National Parks, Mr. Sandford has written “Life on the Trail,” an eight volume historical series about the trails of the backcountry of our mountain National Parks. Copies are available from: emsanf@telus.net Thank-you Mr. Sandford for preserving our Canadian history! (SRW)

This interim executive was charged with organizing the first official ride to be held in 1924, and the first annual meeting to be known as The “Pow-Wow” (an Algonquin word meaning “get together”). The Yoho Valley was chosen for this first Pow Wow because of its accessibility as well as for its majestic beauty. With the co-operation of the C.P.R., the accommodations at the Bungalow Camp at Takakkaw Falls were supplemented with twenty Indian teepees and a large circular tent decorated in Indian fashion as a Sundance Lodge. The decoration of the Sundance Lodge was completed by Chief Walking-in-the-Road of the Stoney Indians, assisted by two artists of his tribe whose skill and speed astonished not only the army of photographers on site, but also the noted artists in attendance. Two hundred and seven enthusiastic people attended the first Pow Wow. To mark such a notable occasion, a bronze plaque of Tom Wilson one of the outstanding guides of the Canadian Rockies, had been prepared. Modestly, Tom at first refused to be present at the unveiling, but upon receipt of a telegram from Jim Brewster that read, “Get here if you have to break your neck,” Tom took the train from Enderby, BC. Tom’s response to the welcoming speeches of Col. Phil Moore and Mrs. Walcott was brief and to the point: “I am not accustomed,” he said, “to extemporaneous speaking unless a cayuse has stepped upon my foot.”

Today you can see an example of an authentic “Sundance Lodge” at the Luxton Museum in Banff. The early outfitters and founders of the T.R.C.R. saw the Indian Sundance Lodge at Takakkaw Falls, and they “put their heads together” and thought it would be great to have one of those in trail ride camp. A design was created, the canvas stitched together, and for 90 years now we have been packing in our own “Doughnut” tent to every one of our camps.

The Doughnut is a round canvas tent, 36 feet in circumference with walls that are 5 feet high supported by 32 posts. At that point, a canvas roof, set at about a 45° angle and supported by 12, 18 foot poles, runs from the top of the posts towards the middle of the round walls. It stops short leaving a six-foot “hole,” (hence the term “doughnut.”) Each evening in camp we light a bonfire in the middle of the Doughnut and the smoke appropriately goes out the “hole” in the roof. Our “creation” unique to the T.R.C.R. has been copied by our sister organization the Skyline Hikers, and many other outfitters as well.

Buttons, Teepees, and Music

Another idea broached on Wolverine Pass was to make available “buttons” or “pins” to distinguish the number of miles a rider had ridden in the National Parks. R.H. Palenske, one of the original “founding four” designed the buttons with a slight difference for men and women; the men’s have the horse standing straight and the ladies horse is eating grass. Many people earned their 2500 mile pins in those early days. A list published three months after the first official ride includes 53 of them; there were 97, 2500 mile pin holders by 1927. An early Bulletin relates that, “By 1947, over 2000 riders had attended one or more 5-day rides.” Later Mr. Palenske designed the life membership certificate which is still in use today (completion of seven rides is required.)

Although a Trail Rider is embossed on the buttons, the most recognized and unique symbol of the T.R.C.R. is the teepee. It was natural for the C.P.R. to use teepees rather than tents as the magnetism of the Indians in their colourful beaded buckskin regalia and their colourful “teepee towns” attracted tourists to them. The Stoney Indians made Gibbon a chief in 1944 and conferred on him the title of “Chief-Man-of-Many-Sides.” Indian artists painted the T.R.C.R. teepees until about 1950. After that the new teepees were plain white, but the white canvas just didn’t seem right, so Bunny Robinson, a talented artist and long time Trail Rider, was asked to take over the job of painting them. According to Bunny, “The task of applying appropriate design to an inspiring circle of these dwellings that hold such a feeling of adventure and anticipation to any true Trail Rider upon his first glimpse of camp poses quite a problem. It just didn’t seem right not to use traditional Indian design, and if Indian design, why not “authentic” Indian design. Since our members come from so many scattered geographical points, why not expose them to some of our true Western culture; and so my hunt began for traditional history and authentic design. This became more involved, more interesting, and more rewarding as I went along, until I found myself embarked on a new adventure and experience, adding every moment to my respect and admiration for our friends the Indians. After one becomes familiar with the various Indian legends and symbols, it is an adventure to evolve designs, and I have quite a number of ideas sketched for more teepees in the future.”

Images on the Sundance Lodge depict stone rubbings taken from rock carvings created by the Indians in Writing-On-Stone Park, Alberta, as far back as the 1700′s. Permission to recreate the rubbings was given to Bunny in the 1960’s. Over the years, Bunny, whose first Trail Ride was in 1942, has painted designs on about fifty teepees as well as the Doughnut tent. She passed away in the 80’s. Although we are the only riding organization to greet you with teepees at the end of the trail on the first day, changes in Parks’ policies through the years have eliminated all open fires in them. Since there is wear and tear from the riders and the elements, the teepees must be replaced after about eight years. A Teepee Fund exists to provide for this replacement. Contributions to this fund are very much welcome! (Editors note: The use of teepee poles at times conflicts with Parks Canada polices and in some areas we cannot use our beloved teepees.)

Music has played an important part in our history since the beginning. At the first Pow Wow in 1924 a piano was hauled up from the trailhead to Takakkaw Falls. In subsequent years a portable organ survived fifteen years before a second organ was bought. In 1944 a third organ was finally hurled over a precipice in frustration by the packers led by Soapy Smith, however John Murray Gibbon retrieved the pieces and got it working again. Shortly after, the packers again hurled it, this time to its demise in Og Lake, north of Mnt. Assiniboine. Since then we have relied on more portable instruments including guitars, accordions and fiddles for our entertainment. One of our most well-known musicians was Wilf Carter who had been a packer. At Gibbon’s suggestion, Carter came on his first Trail Ride as musician in 1932, strumming his guitar along the trail. In 1933 he was made “Official Musician,” and thus began his career under the name of “Montana Slim” (Editors note: see a full story about Wilf Carter in our spring 2014 Bulletin.) Later Dora Kirk, followed by Dennis Orr and Stuart Watkins were all “official musicians.” The musical tradition continued, thanks largely to Gibbon’s enthusiasm for putting together a T.C.R.C. song book. Since, then there have been five more editions and the sixth one was produced in the spring of 2013 for our 90th anniversary.

Many of the T.R.C.R. song parodies in our song books were written by Graham Nichols who was the Director of Public Relations for the Canadian Pacific Railway, the T.R.C.R.’s sponsor from 1923 – 1962. Graham lived in Toronto and brought his executive friends and C.P.R. buddies (aka “city dudes”) on a ride every summer. Graham was famous for hosting “over-crowded teepee parties” where accessive amounts of “Oh be joyful” (alcohol) was served. Some of these songs were written during that time frame, the 1940’s and 50’s, no doubt during a teepee party. Examples have been re-printed in our current anniversary songbook. Over the last 50 years, numerous people have contributed to these various editions and the Board of Directors, wishes to acknowledge and thank them for their tireless efforts: Howard Watkins, Dennis Orr, Al and Romana Owcher, Shel and Cylia Bercovich, Sandra Yates, Lori and Lloyd Rotz, Pat Allen, Rick Godderis, Ben Bury, Janina Hoyne, and Dave Keller, and Stuart Watkins.

Although the T.R.C.R. had an official photographer in the early days, Reginald Townsend, one of the group stranded by the weather in Wolverine Pass in 1923 donated the Townsend Trophy to be awarded yearly to the best amateur photograph taken on the trail (As Editor of Country Life of America magazine he also gave much publicity over the years to the T.R.C.R.). The Townsend Trophy Annual Photography competition is a T.R.C.R. tradition and like our mileage buttons, continues today. The splendid silver Trophy is on display at the Annual General meeting and the winners receive an engraved plaque. Since the founding of the Townsend Trophy in 1929, incredibly beautiful trail ride photos have been reproduced in various magazines, brochures and newspaper articles. In 1943 we had our first visitor from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on a Trail Ride. This was followed in 1946 by photographers from the National Geographic and Time Magazines. In 1948 the T.R.C.R. was featured in its first movie, “Trails In The Rockies.” This was followed in 1953 by a Fox-Movie-tone cinemascope short and in 1955 by a C.P.R. movie “Riding High” shown internationally on TV. Media coverage has continued, including a video special and magazine articles celebrating our 60th Anniversary in 1983 and a write-up in “The Western Horseman”magazine in 1968.

Royalty has ridden with us too! In 1931 King Prajadhipok of Siam and his Queen were staying at the Banff Springs Hotel and heard about the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies. Intrigued, they discovered that if they rode at least 50 miles they would be eligible for a pin. (at that time Trail Riders did not have to ride on the official Trail Ride to be eligible.) So the King of Siam, over the protests of his advisors, earned the Silver pin for riding 100 miles and his Queen, a Bronze pin for 50 miles. Subsequently, the King and Queen became life memberships in the T.R.C.R. Needless to say, later T.R.C.R. visitors to Siam were greeted royally! Other famous celebrities that have joined us include Andy Russell, the famous cowboy, rancher, author, and grizzly bear expert. (Editors Note: See our spring 2106 bulletin for a story about the guide who rode with the King and Queen of Siam)

The Golden Years of Trail Riding

Just as Hollywood had its “golden years” so did the T.R.C.R. The marketing strategy during the 40’s and 50’s was to travel west on a C.P.R. train, stay in a C.P.R. hotel (The Banff Springs) and go on a C.P.R. trail (T.R.C.R.). Many “colourful characters” arrived each year from the wealthier areas of eastern Canada and the U.S.A. – Marshall Diverty from New York State, “Prof” Davis from California, Graham Nichols from Toronto and Lib Smith from Pennsylvania. Nichols was the “P.R.” man for the C.P.R. (succeeding John Murray Gibbon) and he arrived each summer by train with a group of “executive city slickers” from the corporate offices of the C.P.R. in Montreal (now in Calgary). Lib Smith operated a “finishing school” for girls in Pennsylvania and brought a group of teenage girls known as “Lib’s harem” on the rides each summer. There were so many U.S. riders, that the President of the “Order of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies” alternated each year between a Canadian President and a U.S. one. This practice continued until 1971 when it was dropped as a matter of practical operations.

The near Demise and Resurrection of the Trail Riders

With the advent of commercial air travel and other financial issues, in early in 1961, the C.P.R. notified all riders and hikers that it would no longer sponsor the associations because of the financial burden. At the end of the 1961 Trail Ride season, the C.P.R. transported the equipment back to the Banff Springs Hotel where the manager announced everything was going to be auctioned! This aroused the wrath of Howard Watkins, a rider since the early 1950’s, who wrote to Norris “Buck”Crump, President of the C.P.R. who was also a past Trail Ride President. Mr. Crump replied quickly that the C.P.R. would sell all the equipment to the T.R.C.R. and the Skyline Hikers for $1.00. As the demise of the T.R.C.R. would have been a terrible blow to the membership, a group of Calgarians, under the leadership of Howard and Bunny Robinson, and Lou Schulman with Mary Lore of the Skyline Hikers, decided to maintain the organizations and established independent non-profit associations. Jack Waite and Earl Lomas provided the legal assistance. Claude Brewster, the outfitter for both groups, agreed to carry on for 1962 as 80 riders had already registered as well as numerous skyline hikers. Howard became the first President of the new T.R.C.R. as a non-profit and was on the board of directors for fifteen years. The club started with the equipment (all stored in Howard’s basement) and $50.00 in the bank. With tremendous effort the two organizations were rescued from their threatened demise. After years of hard dedicated work by these “four founders” (Howard, Bunny, Jack and Earl) the T.R.C.R. not only survived, but flourished.

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, was celebrated at the end of the first ride of 1973 with a “super Pow-Wow” at the Indian Days grounds in Banff. The barbecue was capably handled by Annette and Bud Brewster, who had been the T.R.C.R.’s outfitter for many years before selling the horse part of their operation to Ron Warner and Mac Mackenzie. Third time President Howard Watkins was honoured for keeping the organization going and for attending one to three rides per year during the past twenty years (he Emceed all four rides one year as he could not entice anyone to be an Emcee!)

1983 marked the Jubilee Celebration of Trail Riding with a Sixtieth Anniversary Ride. Wally Jamieson spear-headed the work of Dorothy Lomas, Dennis Orr and dozens of other volunteers. On September 10th, after a breakfast with friends and Park personnel at the Banff Springs Hotel and a parade through Banff, sixteen riders headed north for Jasper. On the same morning fourteen riders left Jasper headed south for Banff. After eight days on the trail, the two groups met with about 200 long-time Riders for a Pow-Wow on the Kootenay Plains beside the North Saskatchewan River. Trail Riders of all ages ascended, many with their families. Former outfitters, staff, musicians, Parks Canada officials, and various dignitaries also appeared for the reunion. Mary Dover (nee Cross), who first rode with the Trail Riders in 1927, was guest of honour. Presentations were made to Fred Laidlaw, the last C.P.R. Secretary-Treasurer; Don Harmon, son of Byron Harmon, represented the photographers; Bud Brewster, represented all the outfitters; Dora Kirk, represented the musicians; and Esther Richards (a long time T.R.C.R. cook), represented all the wonderful cooks. Barbecued steaks grew cold while the hugging, kissing, visiting and dancing continued long into the night. Bright and early the next morning, the two groups of riders once again headed through sun and snow for Banff or Jasper, to continue the celebration of Alberta’s heritage.

Many changes have taken place over the years within the Parks and Teepee Town. From 1924 through 1945 there was one ride every summer, usually in late July, with approximately 65 riders. This moving ride found a new camp every evening. During the war years of the 40′s, it was decided that a stationary camp would better suit the organization, the outfitters, and the environment. (not to mention that the riders and their duffel were separated one year as a result of a snow storm!)

The Golden Years again…

The “golden years” of the T.R.C.R. repeated themselves during the 70’s and 80’s as the club grew to eight, six day rides, which were usually full every summer with as many as thirty-five riders. The T.R.C.R. is indebted to the many wonderful “outfitter staff” that came back and worked on the rides year after year. Mike Crawley (originally from South Africa) with his warm and funny personality and a twinkle in his eye, was our head guide for seventeen summers. Others included: Dan Heather, Steve Goertz, Colin Smith, Gord Thompson, Stuart Watkins, Del Brassard, Roy Yano, “Cloudy” (a university professor of English from Ontario!) Bob Langridge, and Bob Lamone. Our outfitter for thirty-five consecutive years was Ron Warner of “Holiday on Horseback” who we are indebted to for helping to keep us going through some lean years and who helped with negotiations with Parks Canada. We express our gratitude and thanks to all these wonderful employees.

The Annual Calgary Spring Round-Up commenced in 1963 and is still eagerly anticipated each year. It is a time to meet riders not seen since the previous summer, do a bit of reminiscing and enjoy a nice dinner. It is also an encouragement to register for ride for the coming season! In the 70’s and 80’s Dr. Bruce Hatfield was famous for showing his annual “Hatfield’s three ring circus” at the Round-up in the basement auditorium of the Canadian Western Natural Gas building in downtown Calgary. His “circus” consisted of a movie shot of last summer’s trail ride with slide projectors operating each side of the movie screen, all showing pictures simultaneously with Bruce’s funny commentary! During the 1980’s there was a Fall Round-Up at the acreage of long time trail riders, Barb and Frank Wotypka’s in Sherwood Park, AB. There was a huge barbecue, with square dancing, and reminiscing with the tales of the summer’s rides. Barb passed away a number of years ago, and Frank in the spring of 2013.

For the first thirty years of the T.R.C.R’s existence as a non-profit, a medical doctor accompanied each ride which was coordinated by the late Dr. Bruce Hatfield. With the advent of modern technology (communications, satellite telephones and air ambulances) the position of medical doctor was eventually eliminated. The T.R.C.R. is grateful to all those doctors who served in this capacity.

One more group of individuals that the T.R.C.R. is indebted to is our long list of Secretary-Treasurers. Although this was (is) a paid position, the staff were never paid enough for their hours of dedicated service. We are indebted to: John Murray Gibbon, Fred Laidlaw, Howard Watkins, Mary Lore, Muriel Walters, Laura-may Dennis, Linda Stewart, Barb Hensen, Marleen Lee, Penny Edgeland, Michelle Tilly, Kevin MacDonald and our current Secretary-Treasurer, Robert Vanderzweerde. We also acknowledge Sol Lipkind who stored our equipment and housed our offices at no charge for numerous years. We are now indebted to Fairbanks Morris in Cochrane, Alberta who graciously store our equipment year after year at no charge. Many thanks…

New Polices; forever changing the T.R.C.R.

Since the mid 90’s the T.R.C.R. has had to change as the world has changed; different demographics have changed our ridership; the economy, changing tourism trends, pressures and restrictions from Parks Canada etc. The club has not been able to continue its twenty year rotation of campsites. It was lowered to ten, and now four, which has forced the club to go to other mountainous areas outside of Banff National Park and use other outfitters. This has not been an easy situation and at times a logistical nightmare. However, with the determined perseverance of the Board of Directors, the T.R.C.R. continues to operate as a non-profit as it has over fifty years with just three or four volunteer board members. Without their hard work and dedication, the T.R.C.R. would have folded in 1961, and many other times since then. To those that have served, we this next generation of trail riders are most grateful and offer our sincerest thanks: Howard Watkins, Bunny Robinson, Jack Waite, Earl Lomas, Jack Petrie, Sol Lipkind, Barb Rostrom, Barb and Frank Wotypka, (all deceased) Lois Laycraft, Pat Allen, Dennis Orr, Joel Lipkind, Terry Stowell, Rick Godderris, Wally Jamison, Gord Thomson, Dennis Welham, Ben Bury, Kevin MacDonald, Gary Sandbeck, Stuart Watkins and many, many more.

A milestone was reached in the spring of 2014. The trail riders long time outfitter, Ron Warner, sold his business, Warner Guiding and Outfitting Ltd. after 52 years of operations. Ron was very supportive of the T.R.C.R. for many years and we are most grateful to him for that. In addition, he was our best outfitter, no question! A happy and well deserved retirement Ron! The “Warner reins” are now owned by Julie Canning. A retirement/reunion was held for Ron on October 4th, 2014 and T.R.C.R. President Stuart Watkins presented him with several gifts including a T.R.C.R. Honourary Life Membership. Happy Trails Ron!

In 2014, the T.R.C.R. held its first ride with our new outfitter, Julie Canning, in the Flints Valley area of Banff National Park. In 2015, the T.R.C.R. returned to Waterton Lakes National Park, but to new areas within the Park and also used a non-wilderness camp for the very first time, as a trial. (this is because Parks policy forbids us from operating a camp within Waterton Park boundaries.) It was a very successful summer, so much so, that by popular demand we have a three year contract with our new outfitter, Deb Watson owner of Alpine Stables. We were very pleased to see Deb, her Dad Dee Barrius (the cowboy legend) and their amazing family adopting the high standards of excellence that the T.R.C.R. has been proud of for over 90 years. Join us!!!!

The T.R.C.R. can only continue to survive if our riders come forward and offer to volunteer to join the Board of Directors. With the modern technology of the internet and Skype club members no longer have to reside in the Calgary area. Please consider it and contact us if you feel you can volunteer. Every rider can help in three ways:

  1. Come back next year!
  2. Bring a friend, advertise, publish a newspaper article – any marketing you can do is appreciated.
  3. Send letters to Parks Canada and our Federal politicians telling them how much you support horses in the National Parks (addresses are in the fall 2013 issue of “The Bulletin”).
  4. If you cannot attend a ride, please mail us your annual $35.00 membership fee.

One of the objectives of the original constitution of our Society states in part: “To encourage travel of horseback through the Canadian Rockies and to foster the maintenance and improvement of old trails and the building of new trails.” Although Parks policy has limited the areas within Banff National Park in which horse travel is allowed, the organization has cooperated closely with the four Western National Parks. With the increased use of all Park facilities in recent times, it is noteworthy that this part of our constitutional objective is still being honoured. The T.R.C.R. maintains an excellent environmental stewardship record with Parks Canada. National Parks policy allows only three non-profit organizations to have semi-permanent camps in Banff National Park: the Skyline Hikers, the Alpine Club of Canada, and the T.R.C.R. From its camps, the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies seek a new and exciting adventure each day. Additionally, our goal is to educate, maintain, and foster western Canadian history and western cowboy culture. We do this with various educational programs and social events.

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Past Presidents T.R.C.R.

Presidents under the sponsorship of the Canadian Pacific Railway
Year President Residence Ride Location and Outfitter
1923 First ride   Wolverine Pass (W. Nixon)
1924 Dr. Charles Walcott Washington D.C. Takakkaw Falls (W. Nixon)
1925 W. W. Foster Vancouver, British Columbia Marble Can. – Mtn Goodsir (W. Nixon)
1926 J. M. Wardle Banff, Alberta Baker Lake (W. Nixon)
1927 J. M. Wardle Banff, Alberta Mnt. Assiniboine (W. Nixon)
1928 J. M. Wardle Banff, Alberta Horse Thief Creek area (W. Nixon)
1929 Carl Rungius Banff, Alberta and New York, N.Y. Sunshine – Shadow Lake (W. Nixon)
1930 Walter Wilcox Banff, Alberta and Washington D.C. Shadow Lake – Floe Lake (W. Nixon)
1930 Walter Wilcox Banff, Alberta and Washington D.C. Stoney Creek – Flints Park (W. Nixon)
1932 Lt. Col. Philip A. Moore Banff, Alberta Mnt. Assiniboine (W. Nixon)
1933 James Brewster Banff, Alberta Molar/Dolimite Pass (J. Brewster)
1934 Pearl Moore Banff, Alberta Wolverine Pass (J. Brewster)
1935 George Vaux Pennsylvania Banff – Red Deer – L. Louise (J. Brewster)
1936 George Vaux Pennsylvania Johnston Canyon (J. Brewster)
1937 R. H. Palenske Chicago, Illinois Mnt. Assiniboine (C. Brewster)
1938 R. H. Palenske Chicago, Illinois Healy Pass (C. Brewster)
1939 Dr. C. W. Prowd Vancouver, B.C. Sunshine to Moraine Lake (C. Brewster)
1940 Dr. C. W. Prowd Vancouver, B.C. L. L. – Goodsir – Marble Can. (C. Brewster)
1941 William Bardwell Chicago, Illinois Mnt. Assiniboine (C. Brewster)
1942 H. J. Coleman Vancouver, British Columbia Cascade – Lake Louise (C. Brewster)
1943 Marshall Diverty Woodbury, New Jersey Simpson Pass – Fatigue Pass (C. Brewster)
1944 Dr. A. J. Gillespie Fort William, Ontario Fatigue Pass – Simpson Pass (C. Brewster)
1945 Keith Hoffmeyer Indianapolis, Indiana Baker Lake/Ptarmigan Lake (C. Brewster)
1946 George Rea Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Panther River (C. Brewster)
1947 Sidney Hollander Baltimore, Maryland Healy Creek (C. Brewster)
1948 Harold Price Calgary, Alberta Simpson Pass (C. Brewster)
1949 Ralph Mather St. Paul, Minnesota Pipestone/Skoki (C. Brewster)
1950 Fern Brewster Banff, Alberta Palliser Pass (C. Brewster)
1951 Eaton Cromwell New York, New York Wolverine Pass (C. Brewster)
1952 Jock Smith Vancouver, British Columbia Egypt Lake (C. Brewster)
1953 Dr. H. J. Vanek Vancouver, British Columbia Baker Lake/Ptarmigan Lake (C. Brewster)
1954 Charles McDunn Regina, Saskatoon Mnt. Assiniboine (C. Brewster)
1955 C. S. McNair Great Falls, Montana Johnstons Creek (C. Brewster)
1956 Charles Douglas Calgary, Alberta Pipestone River (C. Brewster)
1957 LaVera Fuerst Cincinnati, Ohio Panther River (C. Brewster)
1958 N.R. (Buck) Crump Montreal, Quebec Bryant/Mnt. Assiniboine (C. Brewster)
1959 Dr. Dorothy Muirhead Hastings, Minnesota Palliser Pass (C. Brewster)
1960 Don McVeigh Drumheller, Alberta Pipestone River (C. Brewster)
Presidents Under an Incorporated Non-Profit Society
Year President Residence Ride Location/Outfitter
1961 Howard Watkins Calgary, Alberta Mnt. Goodsir (C. Brewster)
1962 Howard Watkins Calgary, Alberta Pipestone River (C. Brewster)
1963 Bunny Robinson Calgary, Alberta Healy Creek (C. Brewster)
1964 Earl Lomas Calgary, Alberta Bryant/Mnt. Assiniboine (B. Brewster)
1965 R. W. Davis Berkley, California Palliser Pass (B. Brewster)
1966 Jack Waite Calgary, Alberta Ptarmigan Valley (B. Brewster)
1967 Jim Kincaid Oakland, California Palliser Pass (C. Brewster)
1968 Jack Petrie Calgary, Alberta Mnt. Assiniboine (B. Brewster)
1969 Howard Quinlan Indianapolis, Indiana Johnson Creek (B. Brewster)
1970 Lois Laycraft Calgary, Alberta Healy Creek/Sunshine (B. Brewster)
1971 David Lamphre Fullerton, California Pipestone River (R. Warner)
1972 Sol Lipkind Calgary, Alberta Shadow Lake (R. Warner)
1973 Howard Watkins Calgary, Alberta Palliser Pass (R. Warner)
1974 Norman Bell Gormley, Ontario Johnson Creek (R. Warner)
1975 Dennis Orr Calgary, Alberta Pipestone River (R. Warner)
1976 Dennis Orr Calgary, Alberta Cascade Valley/Mystic Lake (R. Warner)
1977 Dorothy Lomas Calgary, Alberta Bryant Creek (R. Warner)
1978 Mona Perry Calgary, Alberta Palliser Pass (R. Warner)
1979 Wally Jamison Calgary, Alberta Johnson Creek (R. Warner)
1980 Joel Lipkind Calgary, Alberta Panther Creek (R. Warner)
1981 Joel Lipkind Calgary, Alberta Red Deer River (R. Warner)
1982 Pat Wilson Calgary, Alberta Bryant Creek (R. Warner)
1983 Rick Godderris Calgary, Alberta Pipestone (R. Warner)
1984 Barb Rostrum Calgary, Alberta Panther River (R. Warner)
1985 Bill Smith Calgary, Alberta Palliser Pass (R. Warner)
1986 Enelly Stone Calgary, Alberta Johnson Creek (R. Warner)
1987 Nancy McGuire Calgary, Alberta Red Deer River (R. Warner)
1988 Shel Bercovich Calgary, Alberta Pipestone (R. Warner)
1989 Pat Allen Calgary, Alberta Panther River (R. Warner)
1990 Pat Allen Calgary, Alberta Palliser Pass (R. Warner)
1991 Micele Tilly Calgary, Alberta Red Deer River (R. Warner)
1992 Micele Tilly Calgary, Alberta Bryant Creek (R. Warner)
1993 Ben Bury Calgary, Alberta Pipestone (R. Warner)
1994 Nancy Maguire Calgary, Alberta Johnson Creek (D. Orr)
1995 Gord Thomson Buck Creek, Alberta Palliser Pass (R. Warner)
1996 Gord Thomson Buck Creek, Alberta Red Deer River (R. Warner)
1997 George Kuxhaus Dalmeny, Saskatchewan Bryant Creek (K. Stanton)
1998 George Kuxhaus Dalmeny, Saskatchewan Panther River (K. Stanton)
1999 Barbara Rostrom Calgary, Alberta Pipestone River (K. Stanton)
2000 Dennis Welham Calgary, Alberta Johnson Creek (K. Stanton)
2001 Dennis Welham Calgary, Alberta Palliser Pass (K. Stanton)
2002 Dennis Welham Calgary, Alberta Yamnuska/Ghost (K. Stanton)
2003 Terry Stowell Calgary, Alberta Bryant Creek (K. Stanton)
2004 Terry Stowell Calgary, Alberta Cascade Valley/Mystic Lake (R. Warner)
2005 Terry Stowell Calgary, Alberta Sundance L./Half-way Lodge (R. Warner)
2006 Rick Godderris Calgary, Alberta Waterton Park (D. Barrus)
2007 Rick Godderris Calgary, Alberta Clearwater River (S. Ratkey)
2008 Nadina Stansby Cremona, Alberta Kananaskis (R. Guinn)
2009 Nadina Stansby Cremona, Alberta Johnson Creek (R. Warner)
2010 Amy Godderris Calgary, Alberta Stoney Creek/Flint’s Valley (R. Warner)
2011 Nadina Stansby Cremona, Alberta Rock Lake/Solomon Creek (T. Vinson)
2012 Nadina Stansby Cremona, Alberta Kananaskis (D. Mathews)
2013 Stuart Watkins Okotoks, Alberta Bryant Creek (R. Guinn)
2014 Stuart Watkins Okotoks, Alberta Flint’s Valley (J. Canning)
2015 Stuart Watkins Okotoks, Alberta Waterton Park (D. Watson)
2016 Stuart Watkins Lethbridge, Alberta Waterton Park (D. Watson)
2017 Stuart Watkins Lethbridge, Alberta Waterton Park (D. Watson)