The Butte Montana Connection
In May 1983 FBI Agent and Butte resident, Gary Lincoln (center above), taught a FBI SWAT course to members of the Edmonton Police Service Tactical Unit. Paddy Bawn and Kevin Quail attended this course and became friends with Gary. In August of that year Kevin Quail and Jim Morrissey went on a motorcycle trip to Butte and heard stories of the raucous St. Patrick’s Day activities in Butte.
In March 1984 members of the pipe band, Jim Morrissey, Kevin Quail and Doc Jardine attended the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and played in various bars but did not march in the parade.
In March 1985 six members of the pipe band marched in the parade. Members traveled to Butte in Paddy Bawn’s motor home and camped at Gary Lincoln’s house. Gary played a major role in organizing performances, funding and meals for many years, until Butte Celebrations took over for a period of time. The photo above taken in 2008 shows Gary Lincoln with four of the 1985 group.
In March 1986 Mayor Peoples made six members of the pipe band honorary members of Butte in a ceremony at BJ’s Ore House. Various members of the pipe band traveled to Butte each St. Patrick’s Day since then to partake in the festivities and march in the parade.
In March 1992 all members of the pipe band played in the parade. The pipe band has played in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the Fourth of July parade on a number of occasions since.
In March 2006, the Friends of the Pipers took over organizing the activities and funding for the Pipes & Drums trips to Butte, which allows the Pipe Band to take on an integral role within the Butte community. During their short stay in Butte, the Pipe Band participates in many visits to the convalescent homes to the delight of the residents and staff. This is very similar to what the band does during the Christmas season in their hometown of Edmonton. Seeing the smiles and hearing screams from the children during visits to local elementary schools is always a memorable experience for band members. The Friends of the Pipers have made it possible to continue the tradition of bringing the band to Butte and help provide a strong heritage of music that is so rich to the citizens of Butte and surrounding communities.
2008 marked the 25th anniversary of members of the EPS Pipes and Drums going to Butte for St. Patrick’s Day. Twenty-five members made the trip including Doc Jardine who was a member of the EPS Pipes and Drums in the 70’s and 80’s and went to Butte in 1984 for the first time. Doc is now retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and still plays with the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band. The band spent three days in Butte playing and visiting with old friends and making new ones.
The trips to Butte Montana have become the yearly focal point for the Pipe and Drums of the Edmonton Police Service, due in large to the hospitality that is extended by the citizens of Butte. Here are some videos and galleries of photos taken over the years in Butte on St. Patrick’s Day and a couple from Fourth of July. Just click on any of the photos to go a page of photos.