Cowan Trail Celebrates Area History

Submitted by:
Rose Kovachik |

The annual Cowan Trail Celebration once again occurred on the fourth Saturday of August, being August 27, 2016 this year.

Pictures submitted by:
Rose Kovachik and
Rita Cryderman

What is Cowan Trail? – many people have asked.

Well it is an event that was started some 18 years ago by local volunteers to honor the history of Cowan. Settlers that arrived by train in Cowan would travel to the various locations though-out the surrounding area, such as tent town (now Minitonas), leaving behind numerous trails through the duck mountain area.

So Cowan Trail, today, is a whole day event that entails a horse trail ride as well as an ATV derby that travels small sections of these numerous trails.

This year the rain forecast on Friday dampened the spirits of some, causing a significant reduction of the campers that settled into the Cowan Hall yard that night. However, the parking lot soon filled on Saturday morning as trailers, horses, ATVs and their human counterparts appeared. A flurry of activity began as participants quickly filled their bellies full of pancakes, sausages, hashbrowns, eggs, etc at the breakfast before they began dispersing to their activity of choice for the day.

The horse registration began first. After a slight delay, the horse ride entourage began on their journey beneath partly cloudy skies for a 20 km ride across the Cowan bridge and heading toward the Kettle Hills with lots of new faces and first time young riders. Even with the large amounts of rain experienced in the area, the sandy ridges in this terrain were perfect for the day. The horseflies were even less prevalent than they have been in past years. Imagine a trail by horseback in beauteous meadows and back-wood areas with little in the way of bugs, blue skies and great company.

Once the horse riders had cleared the area, ATV registration began, causing a large line-up for the registration volunteers. Even though the volunteers were new to the process, they didn’t show it, as they managed to process everyone’s registration quickly. Then the participants embarked on their adventures turning their heads south and swinging around back to Cowan from the North. On this trail, you would see a little bit of everything. It is great to see that participants are very respectful of the trails which allows the trails to remain in good condition for much more enjoyment in the future.

Whether you were on horse or on an ATV, gourmet hot-dog lunches were available to keep everyone content until supper. Those that won some of the many event prizes (from our long list of sponsors), probably had even an extra bounce in their step.

Upon return, for those that wished, there was a hearty beef supper waiting which included perogies and cabbage rolls, of course. The supper which started at 5:00 pm remained open until all were fed. Then with a little down time and with assistance of visitors, the hall was prepped for the dance that began thereafter.

As Kenny Thompson and his assistant began to play, the hall was once again filled and cowboy boots were flying. Even though the dance floor was full most of the night with everyone eager to keep their feet moving, there was time to work in a full lunch as well as announcements of the silent auction winners.

We hope all that attended enjoyed their day in whatever they did and will be enticed to return again. For those that were unable to make it due to schedules and other commitments, we’ll be happy to see you next year.

A very big thank you to:
the many volunteers that put ample hours into prepping, organizing, cleaning and working at this event;
the many, many local and distant sponsors that provide all of the silent auction, door prizes, event prizes and lunch supplies; and
the participants for their interest and loyalty to this event.

All of the above are a requirement to make such an event successful and available for years to come – we hope! Was it a success? Well did you come and enjoy the day or parts of it? If the answer is yes – it was a success.

See ya all next year.