Kamloops Cowboy Festival

    Celebrating 20 years with a great Canadian West tradition.

    Kamloops Cowboy Festival Kamloops Cowboy Festival

    Skijoring the Blues Away

    How does a person skijor? One winter day, we decided to find out.

    Skijoring the Blues Away Skijoring the Blues Away

    Arizona’s Best

    A list of some of our favourite haunts in Arizona.

    Arizona’s Best Arizona's Best

    Big Country Farm Toys Sponsorship of Joe Frost

    Finally, a wholesome message and role model for children.

    Big Country Farm Toys Sponsorship of Joe Frost Big Country Farm Toys Sponsorship of Joe Frost

    Arizona Riding

    A snowbirds guide to riding in Arizona.

    Arizona Riding Arizona Riding

    Trust Us, Say the NDP. Not, Say Albertans

    The “Legislate First, Ask Questions Later” approach is not flying with AB farmers & ranchers.

    Trust Us, Say the NDP. Not, Say Albertans Trust Us, Say the NDP. Not, Say Albertans

home_b4_blog

Kamloops Cowboy Festival

For 20 years, cowboys and cow folk have made their way into Kamloops, British Columbia, for the annual Cowboy Festival. 

BC's pioneers come to life during the Cowboy Festival Dinner Theater.

BC’s pioneers come to life during the Cowboy Festival Dinner Theater.

Drifting down into Cowtown 

This year from March 17-20, the Kamloops Cowboy Festival will take over the Calvary Temple and the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre in Kamloops. Saddle makers, cowboy poets, musicians, fine artists and local ranching legends, will all align in the city to celebrate the legacy of the working cowboy.

The entire list of on-stage entertainment is guaranteed to be authentic. According to radio host Hugh McLennan, it really says something if you have the BC festival on your resume. Those who are hand picked to be part of the entertainment take great pride in delivering a unique cowboy show.

McLennan has been a fixture of the event since it’s inception at the Kamloops Bull Sale, almost two decades ago. He explained that the essence of this festival is to immerse the audience in the working cowboy life. Good cowboy poetry is all about delivering the most captivating picture of this unbridled lifestyle.

“You can just see a picture of what the poet is reciting,” explains McLennan. “The images you see with the horses galloping down the sides and their hearts pounding. It’s just amazing.”

Good poetry, he comments, will put you in the saddle. According to McLennan, the entertainment and audiences at the BC Cowboy Festival tend to really know what ranching and cowboying is all about.

“We hear that the Kamloops audience gets it. Some of the material could get lost in an urban audience, however the terms and lifestyle presented on this stage is understood. People who are superstars in the industry, find that Kamloops offers an enthusiastic crowd. People leave on a high. They are proud to be a part of it.”

As McLennan points out, a lot of festival newbies quickly realize that this style of life is pretty much alive and well in this part of Canada.

“It still happens here. One thing that makes ranching possible here is the large grazing permits and you can’t move cattle with a quad. You had better make sure you have a good horse and cow dog.”

The lure of being a ranching cowboy is a given. This lifestyle provides a certain freedom that no one else may be able to experience. Here at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival, one will discover that ranching cowboys have not yet painted their last chapter in the history book.

Juno Award winning Canadian music legend Gary Fjellgaard, has been a staple on the Kamloops stage.

Juno Award winning Canadian music legend Gary Fjellgaard, has been a staple on the Kamloops stage.

Historical Mentions 

Long before the BC Cattleman’s Association was formed at Kamloops in 1889, the city was known as the hub of the province’s interior cattle operations. Originally, the Kamloops Cowboy Festival was founded during the annual Kamloops Bull Sale in March. The first festival was held conveniently held right in the middle of the sale ring.

Legendary Outlaws

Bill Miner was a reowned train robber through the last 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but made his way up through the northwest, robbing trains and stage coaches. As legend has it, he as the first to use the phrase, “Hands up!” Miner eluded the authorities until his capture near Kamloops at Monte Creek in 1906. To this day, locals believe that the hills around Kamloops may still hold Miner’s hidden stashes of hijacked treasures.

Horseman’s Entraps

Arid rolling hills, bunch grass and jack pines – this was the environment that spawned the imagination of the pioneers in BC’s cow country. Today you will find remnants of the cattleman who cultivated the rugged terrain of BC’s ranch lands.

Take a drive out into the country and discover the region’s cattle history. The Quilchena Cattle Company at the Quilchena Hotel, Hat Creek Ranch and the prestigious Douglas Lake Ranch, are some of the province’s most renowned ranching operations and historical sites. All three locations can be found within an hour and a half of Kamloops and are worth the drive.

If you are in the mood for some downtown activities, shine up your boots and take a guided tour through the Kamloops Museum. Encounter traces left by those who pioneered the Thompson Nicola region. Chinese Legacies: Building the Canadian Pacific Railway, is the museum’s temporary exhibition running from January 10 to April 30. The exhibit will be showcasing the story of Chinese laborers who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway through Port Moody and Craigellachie, BC.

Unwinding

Kick off your cowboy boots, put your skis or hiking boots on, and see what’s nestled in the hills at Sun Peaks Resort. In March, you will find everything from snowshoe campfire cookouts, World Cup skiing and first class dining experiences.

If you are in the mood to take in some more cowboy’n, take a ride into the sagebrush at the Tod Mountain Guest Ranch. Or stay close to town and spend a couple nights at the South Thompson Inn. Nestled along the shores of the South Thompson river, this sensuous escape offers activities such as golfing and guest ranch retreats.

BC's Rob Dinwoodie and Butch Falk, on stage during the 2013 Kamloops Cowboy Festival.

BC’s Rob Dinwoodie and Butch Falk, on stage during the 2013 Kamloops Cowboy Festival.

Skijoring the Blues Away

In a Canadian winter, it’s often difficult to break the “winter cycle.” You know, go to work or school, come home, watch TV. It’s often so cold outside that it’s difficult to summon the motivation one needs to get outside and reap some much needed Vitamin D.

That is of course, unless you are a horse person. Horse people must go outside. Even when we really don’t want to…

We often find ourselves engaged in winter activities, even if it only involves the simplest task of feeding horses or doing chores. Oh, there are so many benefits of horse ownership!

And here’s another one for you – Skijoring.

According to Wikipedia, Skijoring is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word “skikjøring” meaning, ski driving.

Here in Canada, Skijoring is a darn good way to spend a snowy day. And, beat the winter blues.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

So how does one simply, skijor?

In my barn, we figured you pretty much… just got outside and did it.

One fine winter day, some neighbours, friends and I decided to find out what it takes. With the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, a mild winter temperature hovering around -5 degrees C and zero windchill, we met in the middle of a pristine cow pasture (retired for the season). There were no gopher holes to worry about, but there was a fresh layer of powdery snow waiting for our arrival.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

*

What does it take to skijor? While we weren’t entirely sure, we knew good-minded horses were the key. Our darling neighbour Caroline, brought out her awesome little gelding named “Webster” and our friend Murray brought two mounts, “Prairie” and “Rocket.” All three were absolute super stars.

Murray and his horse, Rocket. Photo by Jenn Webster.

Murray and his horse, Rocket. Photo by Jenn Webster.

*

All three horses had been used extensively for roping and were extremely seasoned mounts. They ran barefoot in the pasture. However, according to some Skijoring associations, many horses wear studded ice shoes.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

We were successful in having the horses pull a sled. The kids loved it!

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

 

And the burning question I had was – could one snowboard behind a horse?

Boarding-WEB

I learned that yes. You can! And it’s a good time too, because a board glides along easily behind a loping horse.

Just don’t catch an edge.

Or a frozen cowpie…

Snowboard-WEB

*

When the horses really got going, the sled went along at a pretty good clip. This is where the token “cowboy hat” came in handy. It could protect one’s face from the flying snow of the horse’s hooves.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

*

Next time we’re gonna try it with a warm bonfire to greet us at the end. And a whole bunch of marshmallows to roast.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

What a way to make some Canadian memories!

Arizona’s Best

AZpost

Arizona may be a horse rider’s utopia, but that’s not all there is to this great state! Here’s some of our favourite stops. Don’t miss our Arizona Snowbird’s Special in the January/February issue of Western Horse Review, you can subscribe http://www.qfie.com/WesternHorse/clsWHRPubSite.asp

Walk through a museum and an art gallery

Enhance your Arizona vacation, with a tour through a true southwestern sensual experience. Many of the country’s top western artists authors and architects, have been inspired by the state’s environmental and human history.

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

One of the top western museums and art galleries in the country, located in Wickenburg. www.westernmuseum.org

Notable: Collecting the West, the Tia Collection, exhibition Nov. 2 – Mar. 2. Paintings and sculpture by notable historic and contemporary artists capture interpretations of the panorama of western life, complemented by historic photographs, letters, and sketches from this private collection shaped by a passion for the culture of the great American West.

Heard Museum

World renowned for it’s collection of American Indian history and the tribes of the southwest, with both a main location in Phoenix and a North Scottsdale branch. www.heard.org

Notable: The annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, held in March, features over 700 Native American artists and includes a juried competition.

Phoenix Art Museum

Step out of your box and become in tune with the very best of Arizona’s visual and performing arts. A vibrant destination for more than 50 years, Phoenix Art Museum presents festivals, live performances and independent art films. www.phxart.org

Notable: Watch for the Hollywood Costume exhibit beginning late March.

Smoki Museum

Experience the history of Arizona’s American Indian culture, in Prescott’s quaint heritage museum. www.smokimuseum.org

Notable: The permanent collection includes I,000 year old artifacts, Yavapai baskets, Katsina dolls, Kate Cory Paintings, Smoki People history, models of dwellings and a hands-on children’s table.

Become a margaritas connoisseur

If you are into immersing yourself in some flavorful experiences, be prepared to get spoiled. A word of caution – once you are hooked on really good Arizona margaritas, it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of withdrawals upon your return back home.

El Ranchero Restaurant

Top shelf margaritas, and authentic Mexican cuisine.

Wickenburg, www.elrancherorestaurant.com

Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequilla

Home of the Tequila Hall of Fame

Scottsdale, www.cienagaves.com

The Horny Toad

A biker’s haven with “margarita ready” atmosphere.

Cave Creek, www.thehornytoad.com

Elencanto Mexican Restaurant

A romantic old-world mission style restaurant with ambience galore.

Cave Creek, www.elencantorestaurants.com

Go back in time

If you’re up for a bit of “cowboy” try taking in some of Arizona’s authentic fixtures from the original Old West. From ghost towns, live dinner theaters and mining towns, discovering the Wild West couldn’t be more captivating.

Goldfield Ghost Town

Claim to Fame: “Phoenix, Arizona’s only Authentic Ghost Town”

Apache Junction, www.goldfieldghosttown.com

Gold King Mining Museum and Ghost Town

Claim to Fame: “The largest ghost town in the U.S.A., and a history buff’s delight.”

Jerome (one mile north), www.goldkingmineghosttown.com

Rocking R Ranch

Claim to Fame: “Arizona’s oldest Wild West town.”

Mesa, www.rockinr.net

The Palace Restaurant & Saloon on Whiskey Row

Claim to Fame: “The oldest frontier saloon in Arizona.”

Prescott, www.historicpalace.com

Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse at Wild Horse Pass

Claim to Fame: “Arizona’s largest western-themed attraction.”

Chandler, www.rawhide.com

Give into your guilty pleasure!

You only live once, right? Besides, ‘til you drop shopping or a day in the saddle can certainly harvest a hankering for some swell dining. Thankfully, great food is one of Arizona’s best assets. From decedent to the greasy spoon, this state has all your food bases covered.

Cowboy Club

Big steaks served in a colorfully charming atmosphere.

Sedona, www.cowboyclub.com

Raceway Bar & Grill

Featured on the American Pickers television series and also home of the famous Canadian New Years Eve Parties.

Maricopa, www.racewaybarandgrill.com

Spotted Donkey at el Pedregal

Over 46 varieties of tequilas and a southwest fusion cuisine.

Scottsdale, www.spotteddonkeycantinaelpedregal.com

Wagon Wheel Restaurant & Coffee Shop

A classic 1960’s style dinner, which captures the flavor of an authentic greasy spoon.

Cave Creek

Go for a ride in the desert

The ultimate way to appreciate the raw beauty of this state is via horseback. Arizona has thousands of majestic miles dedicated solely to horse trails, and over 80% of the land in the state is parkland, so take advantage of it.

Cowboy Way Adventures

A great deal on picturesque trail rides in Wickenburg, Prescott and Sedona.

Cottonwood, www.cowboywayadventures.com

Cave Creek Trail Rides

Experience the West with a “family friendly” cowboy style escape.

Cave Creek, www.cavecreektrailrides.com

Rancho des los Caballeros

A five-star historical dude ranch, frequented by Hollywood’s celebrities.

Wickenburg, www.ranchodeloscaballeros.com

Hacienda Del Sol

An exquisite guest ranch and spa in historic Tucson.

Tucson, www.haciendadelsol.com

Shop till you drop!

Discovering original pieces for your home decor and style collections can be a hard thing to do. After locating some of the state’s bounty of glamorous western wear and rustic rare finds, the only thing on your mind will be, “How will I get it all home.”

Double H Hat Man

Jimmy, the master hat maker, can build a cowboy hat to match any personality.

Wickenburg, www.doublehhats.com

Cowboy Trading Post

Cowboy ecletic, carrying everything from hay to home consignments.”

Wickenburg, www.cowboystradingpost.com

The Lazy Lizard

Artwork, furniture, jewelry, vintage books and magazines – you’ll find it all at this super-cool cowboy and Mexican consignment store.

Cave Creek, http://www.lazylizardaz.com

Valerie’s

All the goods to furnish your house in high-end cowboy and accessorize your western dream.

Cave Creek, www.valeriesfurniture.com

Go a little wild

Why not, after all this is Arizona right? Warm starry nights skies with live music and fire pits may ignite your crazy bone. If you do go a little off the deep end, be warned – the state has a low tolerance for those who get a out of hand. That’s why spotting a couple horses tied outside the local tap house is still not an uncommon occurrence.

 

Rusty Spur Salon

Scottsdale’s first ever saloon, etched with age-old western character.

Scottsdale, www.rustyspursaloon.com

San Tan Flat

Fire pits and live music – the ultimate combo for a fun night.

Queen Creek, www.santanflat.com

The Crystal Palace Saloon in Tombstone

Step foot in a solid piece of history in the town too tough to die.

Tombstone, www.crystalpalacesaloon.com

Big Country Farm Toys Sponsorship of Joe Frost

Joe Frost earns 83.5 points on Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Cowboy Cool in Round 9 of the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (Ric Andersen photo).

  Big Country Farm Toys, the fastest growing line of 1:20 scale farm, ranch and rodeo toys in America, has partnered with Joe Frost and the Frost family to offer creative, interactive farm and rodeo life toys which promote great character and values. * Announcing the partnership during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las […]

[Continue reading…]

Arizona Riding

Arizona_D3-3511_140924

Experience Horse Country Diverging into Arizona horse country, is like discovering a decadent dinner buffet. Whatever your flavor or interest, there is an event, barn or picturesque part of the state that will feed what ever you’re craving. From reiners to ropers- it doesn’t matter what type of riding you are into, Arizona is a […]

[Continue reading…]

Trust Us, Say the NDP. Not, Say Albertans

Ministers....

  The “Legislate First, Ask Questions Later” approach to Bill 6 is still not flying with Alberta farmers and ranchers. By Jenn Webster They came in sprayers, grain trucks, round bale haulers, tractors, combines, on horseback and in a variety of agriculture modes of transportation. There were elderly folks with walkers, feedlot workers, mother and […]

[Continue reading…]

Getaways – Fabulous Fort Worth

rodeo-grand-entry

Hub of the hottest performance horse shows in the world, and charmed with old time western culture, there just isn’t a bad time to visit this great Texas city, but if you’re hankering for the hottest rodeo action, now might just be the best time. World’s Original Indoor Rodeo The pinnacle event this time of […]

[Continue reading…]

Regina Rodeo

BSN-CPRA-May-2012

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) and Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) have announced a new rodeo partnership and structure for the 2016 edition of Canada’s largest livestock exhibition and trade show. The formal announcement was made by the two organizations as they concluded an agreement that will see CWA partner with the CPRA to host the “Agribition […]

[Continue reading…]

Bill 6

Photo by Natalie Jackman, www.have-dog.com

  RE: BILL 6 Dear Premier Notley, I find it gut wrenching to receive the following email (please see below). As the owner of an equine training breeding and boarding facility, Bill 6 will directly affect my family. I tried to register to attend the information session being held in my area on December 2, […]

[Continue reading…]