The Long Rider, an inspirational, emotional and enlightening story of the most daring and epic proportions, plays at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Salmar Classic. (Contributed)

The Long Rider, an inspirational, emotional and enlightening story of the most daring and epic proportions, plays at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Salmar Classic. (Contributed)

Shuswap Film Society: Inspirational, emotional film The Long Rider coming to Salmar Classic

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

By Joanne Sargent

Special to the Observer

Never underestimate the effect of reading to children.

Filipe Masetti Leite’s father used to read the book Tschiffely’s Ride, the true story of Aimé Félix Tschiffely’s epic horseback ride from Argentina to New York in the 1920s, to the young boy at bedtime.

Leite says this was the spark of his dream to take a long ride of his own.

An immigrant from Brazil, Felipe grew up in Toronto and went to journalism school at Ryerson. His ride was spurred not just by a yearning to return to his birthplace, but also to see the Americas, to connect with nature in a deeper way, to help people see beyond their political and personal ambitions, and to share it all as a journalist. In July 2012, after months of training and planning, the personable 25-year-old “cowboy” departed from the Calgary Stampede on what turned out to be an 803-day trip by horse to his family’s homestead near Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Battling blistering heat, cold, rainstorms, drought, bears, dizzying heights, traffic accidents, injuries, fatigue and loneliness, each day Felipe was mentally pushed to the limit. His horses were his priority—he always had their health in mind, travelling only 30 kilometres a day and taking lots of rest days. Because he required so much help to find water, feed, and a corral for the horses, he was made to knock on strangers’ doors daily and was surprised at the way he was welcomed into homes. He was given the opportunity to really experience the culture and the people, good and not-so-good, of all the countries he crossed.

His decision to park the question of how to cross the Panama Canal until he got there almost proved his undoing. That, and horse colic, sketchy and insensitive border officials, and that time a jealous hotel owner seemed on the verge of trying to kill him. Through his toughest days, his determination and indomitable spirit made the difference between giving up and getting back on the horse.

The Long Rider, an inspirational, emotional and enlightening story of the most daring and epic proportions, plays at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Salmar Classic. Happy Thanksgiving!

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