The Garnett Valley Gang has proved to be unstoppable.
Operating under a new board of directors the gang is ready to ride and rob again for another season.
The gang was formed in 1996 and since that time its members have been riding out of the hills of Summerland, guns blazing, holding up and robbing the passengers on the Kettle Valley Steam Train. They have reportedly given the money gained to local charities.
At the current time the gang consists of 26 volunteer members who supply their own outfits, guns and horses.
They come from as far away as Winfield and Oliver, hauling their horses here two Sundays a month from June to September.
Over the years they have raised thousands of dollars. This past year alone they have donated money to Cops For Kids, Agur Lake Camp, Penticton Trailbreakers, Arion Therapeutic, South Okanagan Therapeutic Riding, South Okanagan 4H Beef Club, B.C. 4H Stock Show, CHBC Good News Bears and Summerland Secondary School.
“It’s a wonderful way to give back to kids,” said Mexicali, one of the gang members.
“Most of our charities are focused towards kids and horses. If you can make a better kid you’re doing the world a favour.”
She also expressed how much fun it was to meet people from all over the world and to be able to entertain them.
“I’m a train robber, chasing the train down,” said Del Rio, another gang member. “It’s a lot of fun to do something with our horses, rather than just going for a trail ride. It takes the horses getting used to it though, some horses don’t take to all the shooting.”
The gang’s photographer, Shooter, says he carries his gun, but for the most part stays in the background. Kids have told him that cowboys don’t have digital cameras.
“I hide as much as possible, staying on the outskirts taking pictures of the action,” he said.
Two ladies of questionable character actually board the train and try to cozy up to the passengers.
Mademoiselle Promesse says she loves it.
“I have met many amazing people and I love meeting the kids,” she said. “My main thing is to make people laugh that day and I do succeed. People come off that train smiling and I know we have made their day.”
“We’re a group of like-minded individuals who just love what we’re doing,” said Pistol Annie. “We get to dress up and have fun.”
She also reported that the passengers on the train are “very, very giving. It’s surprising how much they give.”
Several of the members also spoke of the adrenaline rush they experience as they hold up the train and they say it happens every time thus making it very exciting for them.
It appears that this gang is not ready to be arrested any time soon.
It has also been rumoured that they are always looking for new members.
If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.