By Bill Petzold
CARO — Four members of the Tuscola County Mounted Division are scheduled to take part in the upcoming presidential inauguration parade.
The Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard was selected to participate in the 2013 Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama on January 21 in Washington, D.C. Approximately 10 mounted divisions from around the state and two riders from the Toronto, Canada, mounted division have been invited to represent their counties for a total of 30 riders from the Michigan delegation.
Tuscola County Mounted Division riders selected for the honor include Debbie Taylor of Vassar and Charmain Bauerschmidt, Cindy Wells and Ray Rendon from Caro. The Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Unit also was selected to participate in the 2009 Inaugural Parade, but Tuscola County riders were not able to attend because of the cost of making the trip.
Organizations submitted online applications to the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region before the Nov. 30 deadline, which were compiled and then sent to the Presidential Inaugural Committee for review. More than 2,807 applications were submitted to the JTF-NCR website.
The group is scheduled to leave from the MSU Pavilion in East Lansing, site of the annual Stallion Expo that members of the TCMD attend each year. First-year TCMD member Heather Harp said that of the group’s 14 or 15 members, the four representatives were chosen for their consistent dedication to the volunteer organization, and their commitment to attending events on behalf of the TCMD. The Tuscola County Sheriff’s Office provides uniforms for the riders, but the care and transportation of the animals is covered by the riders.
“These four members are really dedicated to the division and the county as a whole, and they’re all really excited to go,” Harp said. “It would be great to get the funds to send them there. They’ve all been in the TCMD for a long time, so they deserve this. This year we’re really trying to push to get the money raised. It’s really short notice that they give you for this.”
Debbie Taylor said that she and her horse Butch are ready for the trip, waiting to receive her security clearance and Butch’s paperwork. Taylor said that the TCMD works at the Sheriff’s discretion, volunteering to help with security details or to search for missing persons in the woods, for example, where horses can travel and vehicles cannot. The group is paid for providing security at the Tuscola County Fair, but by and large the TCMD’s services are volunteered by members of the group.
Donations are being sought to help cover the expenses of transporting and housing the horses and riders, which is $1,500 per horse and rider. Harp said that any sponsorships would be greatly appreciated. For information or to provide donations to the Tuscola County Mounted Division, please contact Debbie Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or Charmain Bauerschmidt at email@example.com. Collection cans also have been placed at Tractor Supply Company (TSC) and McDonald’s in Caro.
“It’s very exciting,” Taylor said of the trip. “It’s a pretty costly thing for us to do that. A lot of us don’t have (the money) right out of pocket. We’re hoping to get some donations to get some of that back. We’re proud to represent Tuscola County and the state of Michigan.”
Taylor said Butch will be stabled at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
“It’s quite an elaborate place; it’s a multi-venue arena,” Taylor said. “They have some very nice stabling facilities for the horses. It’s right on Pennsylvania Avenue, so the horses will be right down the street from the White House.”
Bill Petzold is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.