This will be the second year he has travelled old-school style over four days to raise money for the children’s Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation.
The first time was two years ago, when he prepared for the -34 C trip despite friends and family telling him not to do it.
“Everybody told me I shouldn’t do it and I said ‘Why, it’s for a good cause’.”
“I always wanted to do it and I finally ... I said, this is it I’m going,” McDougall recalled.
“Roy approached us … (he) was going to ride his horse and carriage from Prince Albert to Saskatoon and collect donations along the way and present it when he arrived here in Saskatoon,” said Geneen Guinan, Kinsman Foundation administrator.
“(He was) just very enthusiastic about the whole thing, “ Guinan said.
The first wintery Wild West trip raised $8,000. This year he has already received several sponsors from around the city, and has managed to raise nearly $7,000.
“I’m hoping to raise anywhere from $8,000 - $10,000 this year,” McDougall said.
Donations range widely and he never asks for a set amount. He takes toonies and he takes hundreds of dollars, whatever the donor offers.
Several donors have their emblems on the wagon.
The Beardy Blackhawks hockey team in Duck Lake will be making a donation and giving McDougall a jersey to fly from his wagon, when he trudges through.
The wagon was parked outside of the Prince Albert Brewing Company on Tuesday and Wednesday as the pub sponsored his trip by giving the sale of all wings for both evenings to McDougall’s horse trek.
The two wing nights raised a total of $1,300.
On both nights McDougall could be found inside the pub talking with supporters or with anyone interested in the cause.
A dark period of life or a traumatic event has catalyzed countless individuals to try to change the world or the circumstances that impacted their life and it was no different for McDougall.
“I lost a daughter when she was 18 months. And she woulda never walked or talked. She woulda needed Telemiracle and that’s what made me decide to go,” McDougall said.
His daughter had cerebral palsy.
“She lived 18 months and she couldn’t do it anymore. So we brought her in the hospital at 12 p.m. that night and at 5 a.m. that morning she was gone.”
“So that’s what made me do this,” McDougall said.
McDougall has known more than one child who has needed the support of Telemiracle.
“I got two grandchildren that are a little slower. One’s in a wheelchair and one is a little slow. And my wife’s cousin, she’s got a little guy that can’t talk very well,” McDougall said.
“I lost a daughter when she was 18 months. And she woulda never walked or talked. She woulda needed Telemiracle and that’s what made me decide to go,” McDougall said. -
“That’s why I’m doing it. It’s for kids that need help.”
Just like the first year, the trip is on no matter the weather.
“No matter how cold it is … the morning I left, two years ago, it was – 34 C and I still went,” he said.
Along for the journey will be Ron Parchoma on the wagon, Bernie Zintel driving a pilot car with lights, Alex Fiddler will drive the half-tone needed for the off-duty horses and McDougall’s 12-year-old granddaughter, Kendall Young, who is the only first timer on this journey.
Zintel is looking forward to the trip.
“It was great last time we were up there. … I’ll be running the van again. Just everything about it was great, the people, whole trip was nice,” he said.
The most precarious part of the journey is keeping the horses safe while they travel on the highway.
“The challenge is having the horses alongside the road with the traffic. That’s the only problem, but I think it’ll be a little better this year because it is mostly twinned highway now. So it’s gonna be a little easier, be a little more fun,” Zintel said.
The troupe leaves from Canadian Tire at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 and arrives four days later in Saskatoon, where he will present the cheque.
His journey will take him from Prince Albert to Duck Lake for his first night and Osler the second with the last night on the outskirts of Saskatoon.
On Sunday morning he will make the last hoof of the journey towards downtown Saskatoon and is scheduled to arrive at TCU Place and appear on Telemiracle TV between 12 and 1 p.m.
“What he does is he parks his horse outside of TCU Place ... settles the horses… and then he’ll come in somewhere around 1 p.m.,” said Debra Haubrich, the Telemiracle administrator.
Going on strange journeys for charity is not unheard of in Saskatchewan.
“The Agriculture students from the University of Saskatchewan, every year that it is down in Regina … they push a bed from Saskatoon to Regina,” said Haubrich.
They have been doing that for over a dozen years and last year raised about $4,500, she said.
Those interested in donating to the cause may contact McDougall at 764-4507 or 961-9454.