Nova Scotia

Contractor lends charity group dirt

A contractor has come to the rescue and loaned a Cape Breton charity group a lot of dirt for an upcoming event.

A contractor has come to the rescue and loaned a Cape Breton charity group a lot of dirt for an upcoming event.

Mickey MacNeil, the organizer of Mickey's Original 6 Charity Hockey Tournament, said a local contractor came to the rescue after seeing his picture in the local newspaper Thursday.

Gordie MacDonald, of Reserve Mines, offered him the 300,000 kilograms of dirt MacNeil needs to line the local rink for the RCMP Musical Ride, which comes to town in July.

MacNeil has to transform the District Community Centre Ice Skating Rink in Dominion into a stable for 36 horses, complete with dirt on the floor to protect their feet.

The Musical Ride, originating in 1874, is a choreographed execution of calvary drill and intricate figures formed by the horses and their riders in groups of two, four and eight.

MacNeil was sure he could pull it off, after all, he brought the big hockey cup to Cape Breton — the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup — a replica of the Stanley Cup, which goes to the winner of the charity tournament.

"Each team is guaranteed three games and the winner…gets their name on the cup and they get to hoist it and take it around the ice and we try to make it a big a show as we can," MacNeil said Thursday.

"Everybody seems to enjoy it and they get a big kick out of it."

He thinks they'll get a kick out of the horses, too.

MacNeil said the best part about receiving the dirt is that it's recycled.

"You won't believe it, it came from the 1998 Musical Ride at the College of Cape Breton. The horses are going over the same dirt for the second time," he said, with a laugh.

As for spreading the dirt, MacNeil thought he might have to use a wheelbarrow to do the job. But trucker Mike Kennedy has offered to spread the soil.

"I'll help. I'll truck in the soil and we're going to use my Bobcat and my roller to bring the soil in the building and compact it," said Kennedy, who owns Kennedy Brothers Trucking and Paving.

MacNeil is thankful for the help.

"To know that we have this trucking outfit like Kennedy's Trucking, that's awesome — that's a big, big help," said MacNeil.

The Musical Ride comes to Cape Breton on July 16.