|Prince of Wales riding Midnight at EP Ranch, Pekisko, Alberta. Sep 1923. Glenbow Archives|
The 1923 photo above shows Edward, Prince of Wales, riding Midnight at the Edward Prince (EP) Ranch in southwestern Alberta, Canada. Edward bought the ranch in 1919 as a place to relax away from the limelight. Note that Edward is using a western saddle with a high horn that cowboys and ranchers use, rather than his usual smaller, lighter english saddle.
As heir to Britain's royal throne, there were certain expectations of Edward's time, and gallivanting off to play cowboy was not one of them. However, he managed to get back for a visit in 1923 to attend a public sale of his improved ranch stock, which turned out to be a huge publicity event from the moment he arrived.
Being friends with George Lane, founder of the Calgary Stampede, and other ranching dignitaries, helped Edward meet many of the rodeo celebrities including Pete Vandermeer, Canadian champion bronc buster, shown here receiving an award from Edward who appears to be enjoying the occasion.
Another Stampede champion, the great Guy Weadick, is shown teaching trick roping to Edward while at the EP Ranch.
Although Edward could probably drive a buggy without assistance, his ranch training involved driving a team of horses and a hay wagon without a seat, padded or otherwise.
With haying in full swing, Edward climbed aboard the stacker for a turn. Newspapers reported that the Prince of Wales wanted to experience everything about the running of a ranch starting with the most menial jobs.
|Haying at EP Ranch, Prince of Wales on Stacker. Sep 1923. Glenbow Archives|
As the owner, Edward could have stood back and let his manager and ranch hands do the manual labour, but it would have robbed him of the satisfaction he received working with land that he'd personally chosen and paid for without it being part of an inheritance or gift.
Love those knickers!
Stay tuned for my next post on the EP Ranch as we see what happens when Edward shows up for his 1924 visit.
If you missed it, the first post in this series starts with Alberta's Edward Prince Ranch.