About the Westernaires Alumni Association

Westernaires is a non-profit youth horseback riding organization, founded in 1949, and based in Jefferson County, Colorado.  Matriculating through the Westernaires organization, its top riders travel all across North America and are "the best precision mounted drill team at speed anywhere in the world."

Over those past seven decades, thousands of individuals have graduated from the organization, thousands of volunteers have assisted in the matriculation of those young members, and tens of thousands of others have partaken in Westernaires classes and activities.  We, the Westernaires Alumni Association, seek to unite that network of past and present, celebrate the recent successes, and share the organization's rich and vibrant history.

Westernaires alumni have gone on to live and prosper in all corners of the world.  While many alumni have remained in the horse world as equine professionals, others have gone on to be successful: attorneys, businesspeople, artists, farmers, military personnel, and public servants.

Similar to other fraternal organizations, the Alumni Association seeks to support, celebrate, and fundraise when needed for the Westernaires organization.

Westernaires Alumni Association is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.  TIN 27-1072277



About the Westernaires

The Westernaires were organized in 1949 at the request of the Lakewood, Colorado Youth Council with the support of civic, service, and fraternal groups.  Elmer and Marjorie Wyland, together with just a handfull of volunteers, taught 36 riders in that first year, but their hard work and momentum quickly compounded.  

Westernaires is an organization that encourages self-respect, responsibility, and leadership through horsemanship and family participation.  This non-profit organization, headquartered in Jefferson County, Colorado, provides a fun and challenging avocation for kids between the ages of 9 to 19.

As a remarkable by-product, Westernaires has also earned the moniker of "the best precision mounted drill riding teams at speed, anywhere".  They have traveled all over North America as paid feature acts in rodeos, horse shows, television appearances, and movies.  Westernaires are the oldest youth riding group in the United States of America.

With over 1,000 member riders and over 300 volunteers, Westernaires calls Fort Westernaire their home base.  Located on 35 acres directly south of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Fort Westernaire offers: indoor and outdoor arenas, classrooms, and dining facilities for year-round activities.  It also provides pasture and barns for over 200 head of rental horses, ponies, and drafts.  Members of Westernaires need not own their own horse; in fact, most Westernaires don't.

Westernaires is run by a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers -- around 300 in total (many of whom are alumni).  The only paid position is the full-time, live-in caretaker of Fort Westernaire.

To learn more about Westernaires, click here to visit their website.


Westernaires founders Elmer E. Wyland and Marjorie Wyland, circa 1965

(l to r) ..., Cindy McCloskey, and ..., circa 1966

The Riders of the Steppes team performs a "Cossack Shuffle" (running down the line of horses) to create their pyramid at the 1980 Festival of the West

Westernaires warming up before their performance at the Adams County Horse Show in August of 1953

The Varsity Big Red Team lines up in front of the famous Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backward) monument during their performances at the 1965 AkSarBen Stock Show and Rodeo.  Though the event has changed and evolved over the years and has a rich history in Nebraska.

The Westernaires roman riding team deftly performs at the 2004 Sheridan, Wyoming Buffalo Bill Days extravaganza

(left to right) Cindy Parsons, Robert Strawn Jr., and Melody Mundell in their Dressage parade costumes, circa 1969

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60th Anniversary picture -- 2009

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10th Anniversary picture -- 1958

Why can’t we all give more of our time to young people?  We should not criticize them.  We should give them the guidance that only our experience can provide.  They’re in need of that, they want it, they relish having real discipline.  I’d like to see more people helping the young people.  More people making that a way of life after retirement when they can spend more of their time without the press of business.  I’d like to see them spend it helping others, helping young people, helping to guide them.  There are a lot of ways that it can be done.
— Elmer E. Wyland, Founder of Westernaires

Westernaires Alumni Association
P.O. Box 260529
Lakewood, CO 80226

Email:  info@westernairesalumni.org