First Year Sell Out for Country Thunder AB!

Calgary love for Country Thunder AB.

Calgary love for Country Thunder AB.

Due to the overwhelming interest in the inaugural year for Country Thunder Alberta, organizers announced today that the festival has reached capacity and is officially sold out.

“We are so grateful to the people of Calgary for their overwhelming support. Our walk up sales were incredibly strong yesterday, helping to drive our attendance to capacity,” said Kim Blevins, director of marketing. “It is very encouraging to us as organizers of a first year show, to get this amount of support.”

Backstage Experiences are truly the best way to do Country Thunder, AB.

Backstage Experiences are truly the best way to do Country Thunder, AB. Some lucky Western Horse Review readers got to experience just that this weekend.

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Although no additional tickets will be sold to this event, current ticket holders looking to upgrade to the backstage experience, can still do so at the box office at each entry gate.

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Big-and-Rich

Big & Rich gave a thundering performance to kick off the first night of Country Thunder Alberta on Friday, August 19, in front of the gorgeous Calgary skyline. The entire day of entertainment was stellar, from Jess Moskaluke’s electric performance, to the sweet sounds of Chris Young later in the day.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Fans will be treated again tonight with veteran Neal McCoy, showman Phil Vassar, Bobby Wills, Chris Janson, and topping off the evening with superstar Tim McGraw.

Special thanks to Country Thunder’s official charity, the Rotary Club of Calgary South for providing most of the staff for the event.

Special Festival Information

The Child Find is located at the medical tent adjacent to the main entry to Prairie Winds Park. Families can bring their children for a special wristband to help locate them if they happen to get lost in the park.

As the temperature rises, festival organizers are offering a water filling station for patrons to keep people hydrated in the heat. In addition, patrons are allowed to bring in a sealed bottle of water with them to the event.

A Water Station is available...

Water Stations are available in Prairie Winds, to help patrons stay hydrated this weekend.

Country Thunder AB is Here!

Guitars

The debut of Country Thunder Music’s inner city festival in Calgary, Alberta starts tomorrow! Featuring Luke Bryan, Big & Rich, Tim McGraw and many more as they invade Prairie Winds Park in NE Calgary for one unforgettable time, the festival takes place all this weekend (August 19-21, 2016).

In case you’re curious about some “insider” tips for making the most of your Country Thunder Alberta experience, we had the chance to speak with Gerry (one of the concert producers), and he had this to say:

Q. Where is the best concert merch to be found?

Everybody’s tastes are different, so we try to have a nice variety of things. The options are spectacular, really. We have long-sleeved shirts, festival sleeveless shirts featuring the music line ups – and lots of men’s and women’s choices. All the artists will have their own merch too. There are also Country Thunder and Lammle’s tents on site that are tricked out, plus the Boutique of Leathers next door. These would be my hot picks.

Q. Are there ATMs on site? What about food?

Yes, there are ATMs on site. There are lots strategically placed around Prairie Winds Park. There are also coupon booths (places where you buy coupons for food and liquor) covering the park . All food and beverage are purchased by voucher. Adult beverages are very fan friendly – priced at $6. There are spirits and beer available, Palm Bay has 2 flavors on site and we have Bud light Apple. No outside food or beverages are allowed in.

Q. Any advice for finding the porta potty locations with the least chance of a line-up?
We do a ratio to make things comfortable, so people aren’t waiting in line. The same goes with food and beverage, so they’re not waiting in line for long times. We have to have lots of those amenities available for people to facilitate an event this size.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Q. Best place to be for a chance celebrity siting?

They typically don’t walk out in the general population, but they have been known to pop into our hospitality tents! As a rule, artists are in their dressing rooms before they go out. But it’s also possible to spot them at a hotel beforehand.

Q. Best way to beat the heat? (Or beat the rain?)
Stay well hydrated. There are lots of water and drinks available on site. There are also lots of treed areas to catch shade. Bring sunscreen and bug spray. Also appropriate clothing for later in the evening, if it becomes cool.

Q. Aside from the concerts, are there any other specialty acts happening?
The Country 105 stage will offer a real nice variety of local artists. This includes the Dungarees (from Edmonton, AB, who have opened up for Miranda Lambert). They will be playing twice on Sunday. There’s also a line dancing group doing a variety of things on site around both stages. There are a number of games that Budweiser will be doing, same with Country 105.

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Q. Are there any upgrade packages available once you’re already on the ground?
If you want to upgrade your experience, you have to do that before you enter our venue. Check out our website for more info at: www.countrythunder.com

Upgrading to the Backstage Experience is really the right way to see this show. Plus you get parking near the site. The value of this festival is excellent and great for the market.

Q. On the topic of parking, any suggestions?
We have very limited for parking for this festival. So the best way is via shuttles from Cowboys, or taxi delivery. Or the LRT is an efficient and safe method of transportation without the mayhem of bringing you car. Or if you’re riding your bike down, AMA @albertamotorassociation has roadside assistance for your bike!

“We are sure excited to be able to be bringing this great venue to Calgary and it’s certain to be an excellent time!” – Gerry

 

Country Festival Survival Kit

Craven Country Jamboree, Craven, SK.

Craven Country Jamboree, Craven, SK.

 

Summer music festivals are a blast and may be a highlight of the season. But they can go downhill very fast if you don’t have the right essentials. With a long list of country music festivals happening this summer like Craven Country Jamboree, held in Craven, SK on July 14-17 (featuring Eric Church, Alabama, Kacey Musgraves and the Zac Brown Band!) or the inaugural Country Thunder in Calgary, AB at Prairie Winds Park on August 19-21 (headlining Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Chris Janson, Big & Rich, and more!), you’ll want our list of hacks to make your experience that much better.

cocoa-beach-bound1

Sunscreen

The smell of sunscreen isn’t always fragrant, especially if you need to douse yourself in it to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. So why not get an amazing smelling sunscreen that can also double as a perfume or body spray? Sun Bum makes the perfect sun protection (that also smells amazing) and is available in travel size. You can find scents such as mango, pineapple and jasmine, fresh lavender or banana coconut daiquiri.

trustthebum.com

Walkie-Talkies

Don’t rely completely on your cell phone to communicate, while at an outdoor festival. Often, cell service slows or Wi-Fi stops completely. It may something to do with population density and overloaded networks. Plan accordingly. Walkie-talkies can be a concert lifesaver – especially if you want to split up from your group to see different bands or singers.

Festival-Lead-in

Backseat Air Mattress

If you prefer to camp in a car instead of a tent, these nifty amazing mattresses that fit the back seat of your car. This way you can still get a pretty good sleep – depending on if people party through the night in your camping area, without the worry of falling off the back seat of your car.

The Full Suite

Car-Back-Seat-Sex-Self-drive-Travel-Air-Mattress

Head Torch

Sometimes, walking back to camp in the dark after a night of partying can be somewhat difficult – especially if there is no light to guide the way. It’s always handy to pack a head torch to make that lovely walk back to camp much more safe and enjoyable.

fringefannypack

 

Fringe Fanny Packs

When anyone thinks of fanny packs, it’s likely to recall the ugly models of the 80’s and 90’s. Thankfully, fanny packs have been revamped to stylish, new country designs. A functional and fashionable fringe fanny pack could be the icing on the cake for your festival outfit, especially because it will hold all your necessities. Providing you with peace of mind from losing something important.

balmponybreath_1024x1024

Lip Balm

Lip balm is always important, especially if the festival is in a really dry, hot place. You could opt go for your typical cherry chapstick, but why not try something a little different? Long Winter Farms has created all kinds of unique lip balms and “Pony Breath” – with its apples and sugar cubes fragrance – is one of them.

www.longwinterfarm.com

Polaroid Camera

Polaroid cameras are a must have if you want genuine pictures of the memories you had at the festival. Sure you can use your iPhone or Android, but its not the same as a polaroid. You can easily get your pictures within a minute ans decorate your campsite with all the crazy adventure you had during the festival.

Temporary Metallic Tattoos

A fun accessory that will bring any outfit to another level is Metallic temporary tattoos. You can get everything to feathers, Aztec patterns and much more. The metallic shade will glimmer in the sun add more pizazz to an outfit. A Bonus about them is that they only last 4-6 days. Under $10

FlashTattoo2

 

If you have all these essentials and some of these fun accessories you’ll be sure to have a memorable time at any music festival you go to! Be sure to see our July/August Western Horse Review for a full summer line-up of country music festivals and gatherings!

 

 

 

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.

 

Carnero Vaquero

IanProfile

Ian Tyson. (photo by Karyn Scott Drake)

“Way out West, on the lonesome trail, where a man and his horse seldom ever fail, they ride the range, from sun to sun, for a cowboy’s work is never done,” sings cowboy music troubadour, Ian Tyson in Doney Gal, a traditional cowboy ballad, and sweet lead-in to Tyson’s newly released Carnero Vaquero.

If it rings of an ancient ballad, it is, with Irish-Scottish roots, he explains, during an interview for my feature about him and a cast of his favorite horses in the next issue of Western Horse Review.

“The great cowboy songs all are. You see, those people mainly came from Tennessee and Kentucky, after the Civil War, Scots-Irish mostly. And they adapted them. Doney Gal’s kind of a mystery, because it wasn’t from that Charles Goodnight cattle driving period. Those boys couldn’t have mares on the drives. So it was all geldings, no mares. Doney Gal is from the earliest of times, and usually refers to a woman. Maybe it somehow slipped over to be a horse.”

So, it’s a metaphor?

“Yes, a metaphoric thing. But it’s a beautiful song; I love that song. I asked Catherine Marx to come up from Tennessee and play on it, and she just totally smoked it. She’s superb; she just knows what to do.”

There aren’t many who can match Tyson for authenticity. Just as Charlie Russell – who Tyson admittedly still idolizes – more than a century earlier, painted and understood that his work would be essential depictions of the last of a way of life in the West, so Tyson understands that what he writes and sings about represents the last of his generation’s West, with another reinvented version, constructed by “downtown cowboys” in big hats and fancy trucks, just over the rise.

He points to Will James, the master of the phenomena, a Quebec wannabe who reinvented himself as a cowboy of the West. His 1984 tribute to James is included in this collection.

I love Tyson’s approach to song writing, for it’s often a strange brew of old and new, such as in Jughound Ronnie, composed with Calgary writer and musician Kris Demeanor. He casts the character of an unfaithful wife who leaves her babies at home with the nanny, and returns her “high heeled boots made of embroidered leather” and “white Escalade,” to her husband, in favour of running off with her lover, all an adaptation from Woodie Guthrie’s, Gypsy Davy, and can be trailed further back in time to Raggle Taggle Gypsy, a traditional Scottish folk song.

“There are many, many variants of it,” Tyson explains. “In all the versions, and they go back, way back, she never comes back to the babies, and none of them are his. You’d think there’d be variations of these old songs, but no, not with Gypsy Davy.”

Call it a few centuries old, but I love Ian’s “oil and gas” version of it.

Ballads such as the telling Wolves No Longer Sing, co-written with his longtime friend, Tom Russell show he has no interest in mellowing out his disappearing West message as he sets into his 80th decade on this earth.

 

Now the old man sold his horses, and his children sold the ranch,

And there’s roads all through that valley, where his ponies used to dance,

The dry wind sings a lonesome tune, a longing for the Spring,

And love no longer matters, and the wolves no longer sing.

 

The Old Man sold his kingdom for a song,

What’s happened to the music? Where have the wild ones gone?

 

Not that it’s all parabolic fire and brimstone in this collection. There’s The Flood, also co-written with Demeanor, which speaks to the Alberta floods of 2013, but also feels metaphoric of other, perhaps all, things lost, as well as Cottonwood Canyon, which has been picked up as an environmental ode.

It’s fitting it all came together at the stone house, a mile or so up the road from his ranch, and it could be said, on the edge of the passing West, a spectacle he told me he never quite expected to see in his lifetime.

The other day I stepped into the truck and flicked on Outlaw Country radio, to hear Cottonwood Canyon playing. Neat. I couldn’t help thinking how Tyson, just like his West, has reinvented himself from his Ian and Sylvia days to an important canon of solo work. Lucky for us.

Be sure to check out my piece with Ian Tyson in Western Horse Review. You can’t miss the issue – he’s on the cover.

7 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

Music is a constant at the log house. We each have our influences and our tastes meander all genres. Shelves and cupboards overflow with CD’s, and I’m mildly grateful the era of albums is over, for the room it’s saved me. Even with the overabundance of our current collection, and the advent of itunes, new CD’s regularly find their way into the house. I don’t know about you, but itunes just doesn’t cut it for me. Hits aren’t sustainable enough to hold my attention, too much like soundbites of a larger picture. I need to listen to the full CD, to hear the entire story told.

In this house, the gift of music, in any form, excepting of course, Toby Keith, can never be misguided.

Here’s some of the latest we’ve been listening to.

Ryan Fritz writes all of his own material, inspired by the trails and cowboying life he’s led. He grew up in southern Alberta, and worked for many years on Canada’s renowned ranches such as the Gang and Douglas Lake Ranches. Ryan Fritz and his family now live in eastern Saskatchewan where they run cattle and manage a 5,000 steer pasture. And, play guitar. Produced by fellow prairie musician, Eli Barsi and John Cunningham, Wind Blown Buckaroo is Fritz’s fourth album, and his best, keeping the tradition of cowboy music alive. Order direct from Fritz at ryefritz@gmail.com.

Western Horse Review writer Deanna Buschert interviewed Tim Hus for an earlier issue this year, and upon the edit, I was awed by his humbleness. He didn’t let an answer go by without thanking his mentors, fellow musicians and always, his fans and friends. Just one of the reasons why it’s so satisfying to see his latest album, Western Star, receive such fantastic reviews and play. Some compare him to the late and great Stompin’ Tom Connors; I don’t see that comparison myself in the music, but one thing is sure, he is a true Canadian and original roots musician.

And, finally, Johnny Cash. Insight Editions recently published House of Cash:  The Legacies of My Father, Johnny Cashwritten by his son, John Carter Cash. This book gives you an insight into the Man in Black the likes of which you’ve never seen before. It is an intimate exploration of the soul behind the music, housed in a beautiful mock-leather binding, with a feature CD, accompanied by reproductions of handwritten song lists, lyrics and liner notes.

Gathering together previously unpublished photographs, lyrics, art, notes such as this humorous “to do list”. . .

. . . letters to June, and recollections from the Cash family archives, John Carter paints a portrait of his father’s inner life, and the values he imparted to his son and family.

This is truly a unique portrait of a deeply spiritual, creative, and passionate soul whose music sprang from the way he lived, and one I don’t mind saying, I would love to find under our tree.

Country Concerts & Benefits

Marilyn Manson once said that music can be the strongest form of magic. It’s an accurate statement – regardless of genre or style, music carries the power to bring people together in a magical, and even spiritual sense. Nowhere has this been more evident and in epic proportion than currently in southern Alberta as thousands of rural people continue to pick up the pieces of their lives after the devastating floods of the past weeks. Musicians with ties to rural Alberta, and even those without, continue to announce benefit concerts and events all over the West, to raise money for flood relief. I’m so proud so see this outpouring, and thought I’d list as many as I could track down in this post. Summertime is a fabulous time for concert-going – knowing the proceeds of your ticket go to flood relief efforts is just the icing on the cake, isn’t it?

In our July/August issue we featured 48 of our personal picks for Best of the West Adventures. One happened to be the Auditorium Hotel bar in Nanton, Alberta. Known to insiders as one of the last genuinely great, funky old bars, the Auditorium may be one of a dying breed (for instance, don’t look for a website, you won’t find one), but the acoustics and atmosphere still render it a one-of-a-kind. Built in 1902, the Auditorium overlooks mainstreet Nanton and on any given weekend offers up some of the most authentic and entertaining music in the country, say for instance, the likes of the late Stompin’ Tom Connors or Ian Tyson.

The Auditorium is holding a benefit concert tomorrow evening, featuring none other than Fred Eaglesmith. Tickets are still available and you can order them directly from the hotel at (403) 646-2746. At $20 a piece, it’s an fantastic deal, and all of the proceeds go to flood relief. In addition, there is a Silent Auction, where we’ve already seen some amazingly generous items up for auction, check the Auditorium’s Facebook Page for the latest additions. Western Horse Review is partnering with some of the other 47 Best of the West picks to offer packages specifically for the Silent Auction. We’ll be announcing those on our Facebook page as we confirm them, so check back often. If you have anything you can donate – items or your services – please e-mail Tanis Bailey at baileytanis@hotmail.com with the details of your donation. Needless to say, time is of the essence!

You can find Allison Brock, host of CKUA’s Wide Cut Country – in this household, an absolute must every Saturday morning – on Facebook, or at her Radiobrock website, where she’s been listing concerts, and other music-related fundraising efforts.

Last week Jenn Webster at My Stable Life wrote about George Canyon’s impressive Team Canyon Cleanup Crew, have a look at his Facebook page for more information and highlights from the very many volunteers who have signed up to help.

You don’t have to travel all the way to southern Alberta to partake in the benefit concerts. One of our fave Albertan musicians, and featured in our March issue, Corb Lund is hosting a benefit concert at the Starlite Room, Edmonton, on July 28. Tickets on sale tomorrow, check his website for more information.

Aspen Crossing, also one of our Best of the West picks is now donating part of the proceeds of a concert they already had in the works to flood relief. Join them for the Southern Alberta Music Festival, featuring musicians such as Steve Coffey and the Lokels, and many more August 24th!

Finally, Chelsea Cunningham is part of a neatly inspired fashion shoot Managing Editor, Dainya Sapergia dreamed up recently, (watch for it in the Sept/Oct issue), but in the meantime her Hell or High Water video hit the heartstrings of many in recent weeks. Leaving you with it and hoping you’ll be able to take part in some of these inspiring music festivals and jams this summer.

Farewell To A Canadiana Music Legend

Happy Trails From The BC Cowboy Festival

BY DEANNA BUSCHERT

BC Cowboy Festival

The 2013 BC Cowboy Festival buckle, crafted by silversmith Richard Tenisch, from Merritt, BC. Photos by Deanna Buschert

For many talented cowboy entertainers, artisans and Western lifestyle addicts, the Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival is a March tradition. This year marked the 17th edition of the Kamloops, BC, festival, which hosted an extensive list of the hottest performers of today’s country western entertainment. The star studded stage line-up included Canada’s Tim Hus and Gary Fjellgaard, American’s Dave Stamey and the half-cracked humour of Australian Champion Bush Poet, Carol Heuchan.

Kamloops is historically considered to be ranching country. Throughout the second weekend in March, the BC Cowboy Festival’s objective is to honour the legacy of the working cowboy and promote the unique heritage, which follows this way of life.

Shirley Field Allen Christie  Mike Dygert

Mike Dygert of the Gordy West Band, Shirley Field and Allen Christie, took the stage during the Friday evening performance.

The music, poetry and artisans which decend upon Kamloops during the March cowboy gala, are second to none.

“It’s not what you expect sometimes- it is genuine and real,” explained festival co-founder and entertainer Hugh McLennan.

According to McLennan, the Kamloops Cowboy Festival is considered by everyone in the genre, the place to be.

The 2013 BC Cowboy Heritage Society’s Hall of Fame Artistic Achievement, was awarded to the late Cowboy Poet Mike Puhallo- co-founder of the BC Cowboy Festival.

This year’s BC Cowboy Heritage Hall of Fame honourees included Artistic Achievement winner, (the late) Mike Puhallo, Century Ranch recipient the Pooley Ranch, Working Cowboy award winner Steve Archacan (Hyde) and the annual Family inductee went to the Pozzobon (Sammy) outfit.

BCCHS Pooley Ranch

The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, honouring the Pooley Ranch family with the BCCHS Century Ranch award.

The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lietenant Governor of BC, was on hand to congratulate the 2013 BCCHS Hall of Fame honourees. Guichon knows the cowboy life first hand. The Governor owns and operates the Gerard Guichon Ranch, a large cattle operation in the Nicola Valley, BC.

The Joe Marten Memorial Award winner, Don Lowen of Cowboy Classic Equipment

The Joe Marten Memorial Award winner, saddle maker Don Lowen of Cowboy Classic Equipment and his family.

This year’s Joe Marten Award winner was Merritt BC’s Don Lowen. Lowen is a talented craftsman, who once worked on the famous Douglas Lake Ranch and for several decades has been one of BC’s most respected saddle makers.

“I remember having this desire to build saddles,” said Lowen. “Then I gave it all that I had.”

The Joe Marten Award is honoured to those who have worked the ranges and continue to preserve the Western heritage in BC.

Country 103's Louis McIvor congratulating Rising Star winner Rae-Lee Faser of Barriere, BC.

Country 103’s Louis McIvor congratulating Rising Star winner Rae-Lee Faser of Barriere, BC.

Finishing off the weekend’s festivities, was the crowning of this year’s Rising Stars. In the poetry division, BC’s Rae-Lee Fraser of Barriere, BC took home first place and the $1000 grand prize. The Rising Star competition is a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work and gain exposure to the Western performance scene.

For more information on the 2013 Kamloops Cowboy Festival and its extensive list of entertainers and award recipients, go to www.bcchs.com.