Westernaires are read into the U.S. Congressional Record
In 1968, United States Congressman Donald G. Brotzman took a few moments to say some kind words about the Westernaires. Those comments were transcribed into the United States Congressional Record.
While Westernaires has been recognized and commended by numerous U.S. Presidents, this was their first instance of their being honored within the Congressional Record.
About the Westernaires, U.S. Congressman Donald Brotzman stated:
"Mr. Speaker, in these times when we read almost daily of some criminal incident of dramatic protest involving young people, I am fearful that the public may be receiving a distorted picture of our citizens of tomorrow. Too often the fine accomplishments and outstanding community work of the majority of our young people are pushed off the front page by the more dramatic activities of the hyperactive minority.
"I want to call to the attention of my colleagues in this Chamber a group of fine young people in Colorado who for years have been devoting their spare time to positive activities and -- in the process -- have given enjoyment and pleasure to thousands of spectators.
"I am referring to the Westernaires. This group has been described as "the dashing, daring, colorful young riders from Colorado. They are accomplished horseback riders and have performed at top shows and rodeos around the country, including such well-known events as the Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Omaha AkSarBen, the American Royal Show in Kansas City, Colorado's own National Western Stock Show, and numerous State fairs.
"A prominent editor has said that as horsemen, the Westernaires are to the United States what the Canadian Mounties are to Canada, except that they present more dash, are nonprofessional, and can present a different feature for 10 different performances.
"The Westernaires got their start in 1949 when the Youth Council of Lakewood, Colo., area asked Mr. E.E. Wyland to organize an activity on a year-round basis whereby young people of the area could learn to ride horses and learn about and live in the Western tradition. The committee stressed that the organization must be nonprofit, for both girls and boys, have no paid employees and must provide activities to take up any slack time for the members all year.
"The first class consisted of 36 boys and girls. In 1967 the Westernaires boasted a total membership of over 800 between the ages of 9 and 18 years of age.
"To help the organization the Westernaires have over 200 volunteers who give their senior instructor classes and are qualified to teach riding and other horse classes. Others use their own training and teach many types of courses offered to the young people. Free classes, including classes for parents, also are conducted on needed subjects such as medical self-help, safety, modeling and poise, and public speaking. On an average Saturday, you will find a work crew at Fort Westernaire, their headquarters near Golden, Colo., of from 10 to 50 parents and youngsters working on building maintenance, truck repair, printing, harness and wagon repair, painting and a variety of other activities.
"This type of volunteer support has enabled the Westernaires to grow and prosper as well as to build Fort Westernaire without Government support.
"The Westernaire spirit is best summed up by something an adviser for the group told me:
We are trying to teach self-support and thus far have not only accomplished this but with the help of contributions and donations of old buildings, trucks and other equipment, which we could rebuild or recondition, we have Fort Westernaire, a modest fleet of trucks to haul our horses to shows and parades, and a large assortment of costumes made by our own seamstress from bolt material bought at sales. We are practicing what we preach -- Not to ask others to do something until we have proven that we can do it ourselves."