Big Back Country Horsemen gathering planned

March 31, 2019

The organization helped ensure decades ago that horses and the people who ride and pack them would be welcome in federally designated wilderness areas such as the Bob Marshall and Great Bear.

The lone surviving founder of Back Country Horsemen of America agreed last year to attend a work party in the vicinity of the Challenge Cabin in Flathead National Forest. Roland Cheek said he participated even though he’d not been active for a while in Back Country Horsemen of the Flathead, the regional chapter.

When members of the Great Falls chapter showed up for the work party, that inspired contemplation of a larger gathering, Cheek said.

Now, he holds a set of reins as communications chairman for an unprecedented event the regional chapter and its Rick Maedje are organizing for August at Challenge Cabin near Essex.

The Back Country Horsemen of the Flathead is inviting members of all the state’s Back Country Horsemen chapters, along with a chapter in British Columbia, to a gathering at Challenge Cabin from Aug. 22 to 25.

The Flathead chapter will perform some trail clearing during the event, but the primary focus of the first annual “Challenge at Challenge Cabin” will be fellowship, the exchange of ideas, socializing and enjoyment of the abundance of trail riding opportunities in the region, the Flathead chapter said.

The cabin is in the vicinity of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Great Bear Wilderness. The hosts will provide maps for trail-riding options.

The Flathead chapter will offer breakfast and dinner for members and other Back Country Horsemen chapter guests on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24.

Cheek said invitations also will be extended to Montana’s congressional delegation, Gov. Steve Bullock and Chip Weber, forest supervisor of the Flathead National Forest.

Back Country Horsemen of America got its start in 1973 in the Flathead Valley. It was co-founded by Cheek, Ken Ausk, Dulane Fulton and Dennis Swift.

For more information, email Roland Cheek at roland@rolandcheek.com or call 406-892-5560.