National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Cowboy Crossings® Opening Weekend generates nearly $1 million in sales

Submitted by the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association

Intricate spur straps created by craftsman, Chuck Stormes. Photo Credit: TCAA.


OKLAHOMA CITY
 – Cowboy Crossings, one of the nation’s foremost annual Western art sales and exhibitions, is now open to the public at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. During Opening Weekend, Oct. 5 – 7, gross sales exceeded $986,310 with a portion of those proceeds benefiting the Museum’s educational programs.
The event and exhibition offers a unique combination of more than 150 pieces of art represented in different mediums featuring the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA) 52nd Annual Sale & Exhibition as well as the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA) 19th Annual Exhibition & Sale.

“We are pleased by the tremendous support for Western art from across the country,” said Chief Financial Officer and Interim President and CEO Gary Moore. “The combination of working art such as saddles, bits and spurs, and rawhide braiding, along with the fine art of painting and sculpture, helps many individuals connect with the West in ways they might not have previously considered.”

Shot glasses crafted by local artist, Scott Hardy, took home top honours. Photo Credit: TCAA.

Clifton, Texas, CAA artist Martin Grelle’s piece, Expectations, was the show’s highest selling piece at $54,000. The highest selling TCAA piece was a sterling silver shot glass set and tray by artist Scott Hardy of Longview, Alberta, Canada, selling for $31,000.   
The CAA exhibition is available through Nov. 26, 2017, and TCAA will be on display through Jan. 7, 2018. Unsold art is available for purchase through The Museum Store at (405) 478-2250 ext. 228. For more information, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org/cowboy-crossings. For award-winning art associated with this release, click here.

A full list of winners from the weekend’s awards show is as follows:

  • The CAA Stetson Award recipient, selected by active CAA members as the best compilation of individual works, was Paul Moore of Norman, Oklahoma, for his six bronze sculptures: Old Man Losing His Heron, When His Heart is Down, Tug of War, Blessing at Wuwuchim, Hopi Two Horned Priest, and Young San Felipe Green Corn Dancer. 
  • The Anne Marion Best of Show Award, chosen by anonymous artist judges from the four gold medal winners, was given to Grant Redden of Evanston, Wyoming, for his painting, Feeding the Flock.
  • Jason Scull of Kerrville, Texas, earned the Ray Swanson Memorial Award for his bronze relief, Waitin’ for Daylight. The award is given for a work of art that best communicates a moment in time, capturing emotion.
  • Grant Redden received the Oil Painting Gold Medal Award for his painting, Feeding the Flock.
  • Martin Grelle of Clifton, Texas, received the Oil Painting Silver Medal Award for his painting, Expectations.
  • Whirling Wind on the Plains, a Texas limestone sculpture by Oreland C. Joe Sr. (Navajo/Ute), of Kirtland, New Mexico, was the Sculpture Gold Medal Award winner.
  • When His Heart is Down, a bronze sculpture by Paul Moore of Norman, Oklahoma, was the Sculpture Silver Medal Award winner.
  • Phil Epp of Newton, Kansas, received the Water Soluble Gold Medal Award for his painting, Hilltop.
  • Mikel Donahue of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, received the Water Soluble Silver Medal Award for his painting, The Bronc Stomper.
  • C. Michael Dudash of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, received the Drawing and Other Media Gold Medal Award for his charcoal and chalk drawing, Cowgirl.
  • Tyler Crow of Hico, Texas, received the Drawing and Other Media Silver Medal Award for his charcoal drawing, Cow Camp Studio.
  • The Buyers’ Choice Award, selected by show attendants, was awarded to Tyler Crow for his charcoal drawing, Cow Camp Studio.

    Artist, Tyler Crow. Made in America, Oil, 32” x 26” Photo Credit: TCAA.

The TCAA’s do not confer awards for their pieces in the Cowboy Crossings exhibition, instead choosing to offer cash scholarships to a select number of up-and-coming traditional artists. This year’s fellowship winners are:

  • TCAA Fellowship for Cowboy Craftsmen recipients are Troy Flayharty and Graeme Quisenberry.
  • Mike Eslick received the Emerging Artist Award.

    Saddle with Tapaderos by craftsman, John Willemsma. Photo Credit: TCAA.

About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located only six miles northeast of downtown Oklahoma City in the Adventure District at the junction of Interstates 44 and 35, the state’s exciting Adventure Road corridor. The Museum offers annual memberships beginning at just $40. For more information, visitnationalcowboymuseum.org. For high-resolution images related to the National Cowboy Museum, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org/media-pics/.

Premiere Western Art Show at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum will host Cowboy Crossings, one of North America’s foremost annual Western art sales and exhibitions, opening to the public this October 7, 2017 in Oklahoma City, OK. The event and exhibition offers a unique combination of more than 150 pieces of art represented in different mediums featuring the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA) 52nd Annual Sale & Exhibition, as well as the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA) 19th Annual Exhibition & Sale.

Reaching for the Bronc Rein, Oil, 45” x 46”, by Jason Rich.

“The quality and diversity of perspectives showcased in Cowboy Crossings is indicative of how vast and relevant the West is to everyone today,” said Chief Financial Officer and Interim President and CEO Gary Moore. “Western art is at the foundation of the National Cowboy Museum’s mission, and the combination of art styles represented in this show, such as saddles and spurs along with paintings and sculptures, enables everyone to identify with a part of the West.”

Lakota Daydreams, Oil, 34 x 34”, by R.S. Riddick.

The CAA’s mission is to authentically preserve and perpetuate the culture of Western life in fine art. Representing some of the most highly regarded cowboy artists of today, the CAA’s goals include ensuring authentic representations of the West, “as it was and is,” and maintaining standards of quality in contemporary Western art and helping guide collectors.

TCAA Santa Susanna Bit, by Wilson-Capron.

The TCAA is dedicated to preserving and promoting the skills of saddlemaking, bit and spur making, silversmithing, and rawhide braiding and the role of these traditional crafts in the cowboy culture of the North American West. With a focus on education, this organization aims to help the public understand and appreciate the level of quality available today and the value of fine craftsmanship.

Hilltop, Acrylic, 60” x 60”, by Phil Epp.

CAA will be on display through Nov. 26, 2017, and TCAA will be on display through Jan. 7, 2018. For more information, a full list of Opening Weekend activities, or to purchase tickets, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org/cowboy-crossings or call (405) 478-2250 ext. 218.

About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum – Nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located only six miles northeast of downtown Oklahoma City in the Adventure District at the junction of Interstates 44 and 35, the state’s exciting Adventure Road corridor. For more information, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org.

Polo, This Weekend

Photo by have-dog.com

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If you’re looking for an exceptional experience this weekend, why not come out to the Calgary Polo Club this Saturday August 12, to watch the Canadian Open – Smithbilt Hat Day at 2:00 pm? Featuring the Canadian Open Match Game (12 Goal), fans can watch Highwood vs. Château D’ESCLANS.

This weekend will also showcase their regular 4-goal games on Sunday, at 12 and 2pm.

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The combination of speed, control and horsepower in polo is intoxicating. If you’re looking for some great family fun on the sidelines, or longing to renew your passion for equestrian sport, the Calgary Polo Club (CPC) is the perfect place for all levels of enthusiasm.

It’s interesting to note that some of Calgary, Alberta’s best polo players originally came from the discipline of team penning. People from a medley of other events find themselves enamoured with the sport, the first time they crush the ball down the field.

Photos by Callaghan Creative Co.

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Polo culture involves tailgate picnics. Bring some chairs, a basket of delicatessens, a charcuterie board and cold beverages and your gathering of friends will think you picnic like an event-planner.

Social members can take in all the field-side exhilaration with the option to reserve white tents to block out the warmth of the sun on hot days. White VIP tents with designer leather furniture can additionally be reserved for a fee to make it a Sunday Funday like no other.

Photo by Callaghan Creative Co.

 

Photo by have-dog.com

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The sport of kings is dependent on the grace of equines. Men, women and children can all enjoy the game of polo, because the horse is an extraordinary equalizer.

There a few things you may want to know, before you go. The rules of the game are based on the right of way of players and the “line of the ball,” created each time the ball is hit. Once the ball is struck by a player an imaginary line is formed, creating the right of way for that player. No other player may cross the line in front, as doing so results in dangerous play. Crossing the line in front of speeding horses at right angles, is the most common foul in polo.

THROW IN: Umpires start the game by throwing the ball between the two teams that are lined up on different sides.

KNOCK IN: The defending team is allowed a free ‘knock-in’ from the place where the ball crossed the goal line if the ball goes wide of the goal, thus getting ball back into play.

RIDE OFF: Involves safely pushing one’s horse into the side of the opponent’s mount to take him or her off the line. Contact must be made at a 45-degree angle or less and only between the horse’s hips and shoulders.

HOOKING: This is the action of blocking another player’s shot by hooking or blocking his or her mallet.

OFF-SIDE: The right side of the horse.

NEAR-SIDE: The left side of the horse.

Horses in play have their tails braided and manes shaved to avoid the hazard of becoming entangled in a players’ mallets and/or reins. White pants worn by riders is a tradition that can be traced back to the 19th century in Britain and India, where the game was played by royalty only and in very hot temperatures. Hence, the preference for fabrics that were light in colour and weight. The shaft of a polo mallet is akin to the soul of a good horse; strong, resilient and adaptable. Polo mallets have magnificent flexibility and strength.

Lastly, spectators are encouraged to back their vehicles up to field, all the while maintaining a safe, 20-foot distance from the sideboards. At times, players may send their horses over the boards in pursuit of the ball – and you don’t want to be in their way.

 

Photo by Callaghan Creative Co.

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No matter the type of hat you wear, there is a level of polo participation for everyone. Perhaps Western Horse Review will see you out there! For more information on tournaments and events at the Calgary Polo Club visit: www.calgarypoloclub.com.

*Make-Up credit to The Aria Studios, Hair by Meagan Peters, Outfits by Cody & Sioux.

 

 

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Little Known Facts about the Kentucky Derby

A view from the first turn. I’ll Have Another is seen here in the middle of the pack. He shortly thereafter burst through and went on to win Kentucky Derby 138. CREDIT: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography.

 

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BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE

It’s Derby Day! And with that, we wanted to share with you 10 interesting facts about this wonderful event and the history behind it:

10 – Unfortunately, not everything in the world of racing is cheerful and exciting. In 1899, Meriwether Lewis Clark, founder of the Kentucky Derby, committed suicide just a few days prior the 25th running of this prestigious event.

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9 – In 1919, Sir Baron won the Derby, becoming the first winner in history of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing (a term that didn’t become official until the 1930’s Derby, when the New York Times used it to describe the combined wins in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes).

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8 – The first network radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby took place on May 16th, 1925, with about 5 to 6 million thrilled fans tuning in for the anticipated race. Also, Bill Corum coined, for the very first time, the now well-known phrase: “Run For The Roses.”

Count Fleet before the race in 1943.

7 – Not even World War II could cause this beautiful sport to press pause. During 1943, regardless of the war-time restrictions, 65,000 fans gathered at Churchill Downs to see “Count Fleet” take the tittle home.

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6 – 1968 marked a turning point for the sport, as “Dancer’s Image” became the first winner to be disqualified. After the race, “Dancer’s Image” tested positive for an illegal medication. Thus, the purse was taken away from him and awarded to the second-place finisher.

Diane Crump.

5 – Stick it to the man! In 1970 Diane Crump became the first female jockey in history to ride in the Kentucky Derby race. Even though Crump finished 15th out 0f 18 horses, she sent a strong and clear message to everyone watching, and brought women to the forefront of horse racing.

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4 – During the 99th running of the Kentucky Derby, famous “Secretariat” won the race establishing the fastest finish time to date. He completed the race in just 1:59:40. Not only that, but “Secretariat” went on to win the Triple Crown, for the first time in 25 years. What an amazing athlete!

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3 – In 1977, Seattle Slew wins the Kentucky Derby and goes on to win the Triple Crown. He becomes the 10th Triple Crown winner, and only horse in history to achieve that tittle while remaining undefeated.

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2 – The early 2000s caused an array of emotions to the millions of fans all around the world. 2000 marked the third century in which the Kentucky Derby was run. Six years later, “Barbaro” would become the winner of the Kentucky Derby by six-and-a-half lengths, recording the largest victory since 1946. Unfortunately, Barbaro was injured a few weeks after, and passed away due to complications of that injury. He stole the hearts of millions of fans, and in his memory, a bronze statue was placed above his remains at the entrance of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

The finish line.

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1 – With the 143th edition of the Kentucky Derby happening today, we can’t help to look back to its very beginning and wonder; what makes the Kentucky Derby so special, so unique? It might be the fact of how little the event has change since its very first “Run For the Roses” back in 1875. As many other sports evolve and progress in many ways, the Thoroughbred Racing world has remained unchanged: same location, (Churchill Downs), same date (first Saturday in May), same breed and age (3 year old Thoroughbreds), and even similar fashion sensibilities. All these factors have shaped and molded the Kentucky Derby into what is today, and will help it withstand the test of time for many years to come.

Oldstoberfest Returns for Second Round

 

Oldstoberfest returns for a second round of rodeo, beer and lederhosen.

The unique event that combines rodeo with an Ocktoberfest swing to it is returning to Alberta this September 15-16 at the Olds Regional Exhibition grounds.

In 2015, the event brought over 8,000 visitors into the town with a professional rodeo, an authentic Biergarten and world class concerts. Under new ownership of C5 Rodeo Company, Oldstoberfest will now return as an annual event once again.

“We are so excited to bring this event back to Olds and continue a tradition that brought many together in such a fun, unique celebration.” said Gillian Grant, C5 Rodeo Coordinator. “Our goal is for Oldstoberfest to be the premier fall community event in the town of Olds for years to come!”

Oldstoberfest will continue the tradition of combining the World’s First Bavarian Rodeo and Cow Palace Biergarten, with exceptional outdoor concert entertainment. A volunteer meeting will be held at the Olds Cow Palace on April 13th, 2017 at 6:00 pm and is open to anyone who would like to be involved.

Mane Event 2017

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MANE EVENT

It’s Spring and that means the Mane Event, Red Deer, AB, is just around the corner!

Elevate your riding skills and learn how to communicate better with your horse at the upcoming Mane Event, Equine Education and Trade Fair April 21 – 23, 2017 at Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB. Horse owners and enthusiasts are in for a treat at this very diversified horse expo.  The Mane Event is very proud of their commitment to providing the very best equine related education, shopping and entertainment all at one location.


The mini-clinics this year include some of the best equine educators and clinicians available in a variety of disciplines including; Peter Gray – Jumping; Shannon Dueck – Dressage; Craig Johnson – Reining; Sharon and Storme Camarillo – Barrel Racing; Van Hargis – Ranch Horsemanship; Garn Walker – Cowboy Dressage; Kalley Krickeberg – Horsemanship; Nate Bowers – Driving; and Nicole Tolle – Gaited Horsemanship.

Attendees will also be enlightened by a variety of presenters in the lecture area on saddle fitting, nutrition, equine health, and much more.


The Trainers Challenge is set to be a scorcher this year with Martin Black, Glenn Stewart  and Shamus Haws working with horses from the Ace of Clubs Quarter Horse. The goal of the Mane Event is to have everyone learn including the trainers. In addition, Glenn, Martin and Shamus will each be presenting an arena session on Saturday, and participants are being accepted for their arena sessions.

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Organizers of The Mane Event have not forgotten the upcoming young horse owners and riders – 4H, Pony Clubs and riding clubs! This year they will have a special Youth Lecture Area which will feature some of the clinicians doing special presentations for youth.

Also, be sure not to miss the Friday night Youth Pro-Am sponsored by “Back On Track”. This is an event that teams youth riders and their horses up with Mane Event trainers to ride a timed obstacle course. When the concept was first introduced at last year’s Red Deer Mane Event, the demand to bring it back was very high so here it is again! There is no cost to ride in this competition and prize packages will be offered by Back On Track. Applications are available on the Mane Event website and it is limited to youth riders only.

Youth writers are additionally invited to enter the Youth Essay Contest to win a beautiful, registered AQHA filly generously donated by the Rocking Heart Ranch. The deadline for entries is April 10th – please visit the website for more information.


What would a horse expo be without shopping?!? In the trade show, you will see a diverse group of vendors from across the USA and Canada with only equine products and services, western clothing, equine décor and home furnishings for horse owners and enthusiasts.

After you have shopped and learned from some of the very best in the equine world today, it’s time to relax and enjoy some great entertainment in the “Equine Experience.” This year’s lineup includes the Calgary Stampede Showriders; trick riding by Morgan Stewart; the Millarville Musical Ride, a demonstration by Glenn Stewart, and one by Kalley Krickeberg plus more to come. A schedule for the Equine Experience will be posted closer to the event.

This is a weekend jam-packed with equine education, fun, knowledge and shopping.  Tickets are available in advance (which will save you some money!) or lots at the door – plan now for 3-days of nothing but horses, horses, horses!
Come and experience what people call “The Mane Event”
Visit www.maneeventexpo.com for more information.

Bucket List: Equine Vacations

Elephants

A riding safari in South Africa promises animal sightings of all kinds

 

If you haven’t seen the April issue of Western Horse Review yet, you must! In it we have reinvigorated our Getaways column, a regular feature that highlights adventurous equine-related travel ideas. With insight from Travel Professionals International consultant, Patricia Blanchard, this month’s installment features a riding safari in South Africa for the trip of a lifetime.

“There are many beneficial reasons to use a travel agent vs. booking online,” says Blanchard.

Primarily, a professional agent should be with you (theoretically) from the minute you step out the door until you return home safe with your luggage intact.

AZ-LOW-RES

A desert riding experience in Arizona? Yes please!

 

There are no real hard-and-fast timelines for booking specific vacations but it stands to reason that most things are based on availability.

“If you have a group that is traveling together, the earlier you book is better than later. There are people who book last minute too and in this case, we can usually find something wonderful for those clients as well. If you have something specific you want to do however, then waiting for last minute could leave you disappointed and settling for something else,” she says.

Horse-on-the-beach

 

“There are many things we can help clients with – we can assist with all types of travel. If a client wanted to book a trip to a dude ranch in Canada for example, I could help with that and help to cultivate the very best experience possible.”

 

"Glamping" at Paws Up in Greenough, MT.

“Glamping” at Paws Up in Greenough, MT.

 

Or if a client wanted to book a destination wedding with horses involved in some way, that’s possible too.

bigstock-Bride-On-A-Horse-By-The-Sea-82898453

A travel professional has first-hand knowledge of the places you are wanting to go. He or she has also likely been there in person, or has a friend who has. Here are a few more reasons why a professional can help you with your next vacation:

1) Convenience and Time Savings – You can surf the internet all night or you can make one call to a professional to source the best deal. This way,  you can spend your time on more important things.
2) Peace of Mind – A professional has your back and works for you! And actually cares about you having a wonderful holiday / vacation. “We are here and  are available to assist you throughout your vacation,” says Blanchard. “If you book on the internet there may not be anyone to assist you in an emergency. To them, you are just ‘data.'”
3) Expert Advice – A professional has invaluable knowledge and expertise about destinations, documentation, immunization, insurance, etc. They also have access to a multitude of airlines, hotels, tour companies and cruise lines to provide you with the best value!
4) No Cost – “Not only does it not cost more to book through me, I can also usually save you money with my Virtuoso worldwide travel connections,” Blanchard states.

5) Insurance – Travel insurance should be the first thing you pack when going on vacation. It’s the #1 item you can take with you and a professional can guide you to obtaining the best coverage for your situation, before you head out.

“Unfortunate things can happen to good travelers and they can happen anytime or anywhere. They can be also be expensive to deal with, especially if you need unexpected medical care. Travel insurance can pick up where your government plans or credit card coverage leave off, and offer up to $10 million to get you back in the saddle, (so to speak!)”

A baby giraffe sighting on a riding safari.

A baby giraffe sighting on a riding safari.

Whatever your fancy, there are many benefits to utilizing a professional on your next holiday. A pro can help you achieve that once-in-a-lifetime experience because everyone knows – memories, “Me-Time” and mental tranquility are precious commodities.

Swimming-w-horses

A ride in the water in Jamaica.

BIO – Thank-you to Patricia Blanchard for providing us with the research and details for this trip. Blanchard is an independent advisor with Travel Professionals International. She moved to Calgary in 1993 from Newfoundland and has always had a passion for travel and helping others. She made the leap to being a travel agent and is now doing travel full-time from Chestermere, AB. Blanchard has contended in both reining and western pleasure since moving to Alberta but now has just one retired horse. She loves to ride her Harley and travels at any opportunity. For more info please visit: tpi.ca/PatriciaBlanchardTPI/

Kamloops Cowboy Festival Celebrates 20 Years

Lots-on-stage

By Guest Blogger, Debbie MacRae

The Kamloops Cowboy Festival held annually in Kamloops, BC, celebrated its 20th anniversary this past March 17-20. The festival stuck to its roots, bringing back many of the same fabulous entertainers who have brought the sparkle to this musical feast and story-telling celebration for two decades. Having attended the 20th anniversary, an overwhelming appreciation of BC’s Cowboy culture emerged from the experience. Here are a few highlights from the 2016 event. We also pay tribute to the minds behind the magic.

2oth Anniversary poster collection.

2oth Anniversary poster collection.

Over a span of twenty years, with organizational ideology which included the likes of Connie and Butch Falk, Linda and Mike Puhallo, Hugh and Billie McLennan, Frank Gleeson and innumerable others, the concept of an enduring festival which would immortalize the cowboy heritage has become an iconic reality.

No festival is complete without the entertainers and competitors – the musicians and artists who showcase their ideas, manifest their lyrics into songs, and accompany their vocals with instrumentation. Without the entertainers and artists, there would be no Art Show or Rising Star Showcase.

Art-show

Behind the scenes are the numerous contributions that bring this event to light. There’s the poster and pin design and development: the production of event pins are done by Laurie Artiss out of Vancouver, BC. There’s also the coordination of over 80 volunteers with hundreds of collective hours of service and dedication.

Sassy Six-Gun. An event volunteer.

Sassy Six-Gun Shooter. An event volunteer.

Shuttle drivers such as Sassy Six Gun, who dress the part, provide the service, sacrifice the hours, and ensure a memorable experience for entertainers and attendees. Volunteers like Red Allan, Trade Show Manager and his wife, Helen Allan, volunteer coordinator whose selflessness ensure a seamless experience; pushing carts, arranging the space and making endless phone calls for support.

Ruscheinsky---Rising-Star-winner

Jason Ruscheinsky – Rising Star winner.

The Guitar donated by Lee’s Music epitomizes the junction of western heritage with an illustration of First Nations totem artwork and cowboy persona. The Keeper of the West Award is provided in the form of a Sterling Silver Belt Buckle awarded to the entertainer with the best new song or poem reflecting the Festival’s mandate. The Joe Marten Memorial Award is offered for the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in BC.

NEWSilent-Auction---20th-Anniversary-Guitar

The Silent Auction 20th Anniversary Guitar.

We recognize contributors to the Silent Auction, which funds are directed to ongoing financing of expenses; and the judges, without whose efforts the competition would not have merit; whose talents and voices echo the experience of their own cowboy contribution.

In the words of entertainer Tim Hus, “Being a judge is easy – until you try it… As an entertainer, people judge you. It’s a paradigm when you become the judge.”

Sound-man

Scott from Lee’s Music is a 31-year-old sound man with a Master’s Degree. Organizer, Kathy McMillan has said “…if it wasn’t for these guys, the festival could not succeed.”

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Then there is the competition. This year the scores were incredibly close – with some judges awarding scores for one artist, and another scoring equal points for a competitor, creating a unique sense of competition and accomplishment.

Cowboy-Church

Cowboy Church.

Pastor Don Maione has been an integral part of the festival as he has so willingly offered his Calvary Church to performers; not only to showcase their talents, but also to share their collective appreciation for the gifts which have been bestowed upon them. Pastor Don approached the festival and said, ‘You have a need, and we have a facility.’

Thompson-River-Boots

Trade-showThe cooks, the chefs, the attendants in concessions, the hostesses, and the chef in the breakfast bar – all contribute to make the Kamloops Cowboy Festival a memorable and unique appreciation of cowboy heritage – in a modern day environment. This year there were 48 booths and 4 tables in the trade show, all collectively marketing their innovations, decorations, and presentations. Everyone in attendance captures the Cowboy image in its best light and preserves that light to enhance the awareness of the urbanite; in song, word, color and deed.

“Cowboys are gentlemen,” to echo Leslie Ross. “We need to carry on the message of the Cowboy ways.”

on-stage
Gary Fjellgaard laments, “Whatever happened to my heroes? They don’t make ‘em like they did in ’44. But they were there when I needed them. I wish they’d all come back again, cuz I don’t have no heroes anymore…”

The heroes are the ones behind the scenes, the ones we don’t thank everyday – but we should; the minds behind the magic, like Mark and Kathy McMillan, who work on their ranch from dawn to dusk, and then pick up their pens and their pencils, their guitars and strings, and telephones and work the magic so that we can appreciate and preserve what some of us take for granted; the Cowboy heritage of the last frontier, in beautiful British Columbia.

 

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 idea of the Kamloops Cowboy Festival came out of a concert held at the annual Kamloops Bull Sale in March. The first festival was held on the same type of stage show they have today, at the Stockman Hotel in downtown Kamloops.

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.