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Horsemen "Riding For America"

By Diana Volk

Horsemen all over the United States will be saddling up, riding for freedom in the most famous ride of our present day history "Riding for America". It is possible for you, your family or friends to become part of the ride that will make history as it crosses the country riding for Freedom, riding to be an American, riding together as a group proving that we are from an united nation, carrying on what another country started in the "Cowboy Way".

Cowboys and cowgirls, headed by Gregg and Debbi Hampton, from Alberta, Canada wanting to reach out a comforting hand to Americans in the shadow of the terrorist act of September 11th started a horseback ride collecting donations, headed toward the United States border to pass on what they had collected calling it "Alberta Rides for America". As the morning of September 25th dawned riders could be seen for miles converging on the United States and Canadian border with riders from three nations. The United States, Blackfeet Nation and Canada with 200 plus riders strong were joined together in a ride for freedom. Several of the Blackfeet Tribal Council rode in the event, Earl Old Person, chairman in full ceremonial dress, including drummers and singers to honor the meeting, singing the "Warrior Song and Flag Song". The Blackfeet Nation fed all the hungry riders before their return home, as nations were united and souls were united.

The Compton family, with only 3 days notice, organized to have riders at the Canadian border, not realizing they would decide to commit themselves to take the ride to the Wyoming border taking the whole family away from work for a month. The next morning with no prior planning they left, three riders strong to begin a journey that would be taken up by other riders as they heard what was happening and wanted to join in the ride that would become "Riding for Montana". A month would pass as riders were spotted passing through towns, on the lonely stretches of highway, sleeping sometimes in tents, sometimes in mansions, carrying the Canadian, American, Blackfeet flags and saddle bags that had been given to Don Compton by the Canadians that they used to collect donations in their ride across Canada. Sometimes in desolate areas farmers would offer what they had in way of water, places to keep horses, but whatever they owned was welcome to the riders while towns would offer rooms or a fancy meals, but wealthy or poor, they were made welcome by all.

Wyoming riders, headed by Lee Yake, met the Montana riders in a ceremony at the state border and turned with Montana to their backs and started through the "Cowboy state" rushing to get to it across their state before the cold winds of winter were too harsh to travel. Upon reaching the edge of the state, South Dakota riders joined them as the flags were closed for the winter and for it to become organized.

Jeff Compton, of Montana, has taken on the responsibility of head organizer, organizing the ride all the way to NY that will begin again April 7th and end in New York Sept. 11th, a total of 6 months worth of riding. Living on hot-dogs and diet coke, drawing no paycheck, he has obligated himself to work almost 24 hr days, eating and sleeping the responsibility of thousands of riders as they travel to New York and the Statue of Liberty.

"I want to ride to the lady, because that’s what she stands for----freedom ----and that’s what we are riding for-freedom," says Jeff as he works looking for support to get the riders funded, food for horses, riders, and travel expenses.

The best part of the ride is that you are not too late to join. Clubs, individuals, young, old, English, western all it takes is a patriotic heart and have the desire to have fun while riding your horse. No horse? Want to help? Think about what it takes to get horses and riders across the country, if the ride passes through your town or by your house they might be needing a place to stay, water, or just someone to cheer them on.

Wyoming will passed on the flags, April 6th at the Wyoming/South Dakota border, heading to Crazy Horse Monument, Mount Rushmore and will spend a month crossing the state and then head on to Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and to its final destination of New York. Mounted police will be meeting riders as they enter New York September 2002.escorting them as they finish the last leg of the 3,000-mile ride that will reach from Alberta Canada to New York City

In a 7 1/2 months time period it will have traveled 3,000 miles, crossed 15 states, visited over 10 state capitols, been to the United States capitol of Washington, DC, and crossed three nations with riders too numerous to count as they ride for freedom. The best part is that riders can still join in the ride as it starts in April and will travel across the country for 6 months as horsemen ride for their country--"Riding for America."

To be part of history or to help history being made contact Jeff Compton, 406-249-0188, email and be sure to visit the web page

The ride will be in Mitchell May 4, 5, heading to Sioux Falls to arrive May 7th.


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