The forces of nature passed through Maple Ridge Thursday afternoon with an intense deluge of rain accompanied by lightning flashes and booms of thunder rocking the region.
The storm passed through nearly as quickly as it arrived, making way for another force - adorned in red serge and aboard jet black horses with Hanoverian bloodlines.
Under a blanket of cloud, 32 rider-and-horse teams with the RCMP Musical Ride performed outdoors in front of a near capacity audience at Albion Fairgrounds.
Much to the astonishment and delight of organizers, that pelting rain, flash floods, lightning strikes, and roaring thunder stopped just in time for Maple Ridge's presentation of the musical ride.
The horrifying mid-afternoon weather had organizers of the show terrified. It was honestly looking like a washout, said Lorraine Bates, manager of the host group from Country Fest.
The outdoor show began at 6:30 p.m., and she believes it was close to 5:30 p.m. when the torrential downpouring of rain and stormy conditions ceased.
"At one point this afternoon, I said to myself, 'oh, what will be, will be.' I just couldn't believe it was happening. So many put so much time and effort into making this happen... but you have to shake it off because there's only so much that's within your control," Bates said.
A short time later, the storm passed, and much to her surprise and glee cars full of families began pulling into the Albion Fairgrounds to see the show.
"I'm ecstatic with how it all turned out," Bates said. "I'm just surprised at how many people showed up," estimating the crowd to be at about 1,300.
Doug Fynn was one of those who brought his family of 10 - representing four generations - to the show.
"It was with some trepidation that we came through the storm from Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody, and Mission," he said. "But God was very good and the weather was great, and we all had a wonderful time."
Speaking to organizers, he said, "You folks are to be commended for putting on an excellent evening... It was the first time my two grandsons, aged four and two, have seen this production, and they loved the horses, and dogs, and policemen. It was also the first time my stepmother, aged 85, has seen the ride - and she loved it. Thank you for all your effort to provide such a great evening for us."
The musical ride Bates described as "phenomenal," and said everyone she asked after the show used words like "awesome" and "terrific" to describe the event.
"When you have perfect, what more can you say," Bates concluded, thanking the RCMP Musical Ride team, all the volunteers, sponsors, and spectators for making the local event such a success.
"When the day is over, and all is said and done, we have raised some money for two worthy charities and the community had a chance to watch a national treasure."
The event was put on by and benefited the Country Fest and the North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association.
As of Monday, organizers were estimating the charity show raised about $8,000 for each organizations.
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