April/May 2012

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Finally! John Ware Immortalized on Stamp

He has long been known as Alberta’s most famous cowboy, and finally, the rest of the country will join in celebrating the honourable life of rancher John Ware.

Ware emerged from slavery and in 1882 he made his way to Canada as a trail hand on cattle drives. By 1890 he had his own ranch in the foothills of southern Alberta under his Four Nine’s brand, also known as the Walking Stick. (It was later reregistered as Three Nine’s). On the event of his marriage to Mildred Lewis in the town’s First Baptist Church, the Calgary Tribune extended its “heartiest congratulations,” noting that “probably no man in the district has a greater number of warm-personal friends than the groom.”

Eventually John and Mildred and their five children founded another ranch headquartered by Millicent. It was there that Ware died in 1905 when his horse tripped and fell, crushing its rider. His funeral was said to be the largest the young city of Calgary had seen. He is buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary.

The Canada Post issued stamp features a montage of the deed to Ware’s first ranch, a lariat, a photo of his log ranch house and the most well-known photograph of Ware himself.

The stamp was design-ed by Victoria’s Lara Minja. The stamps can be purchased at any Canada Post Office.


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Miss Rodeo Canada 2012 Arleta Bowhay carrying the Canadian flag at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas
Photo by Jo Lawes

Canada’s First Lady of Rodeo

Miss Rodeo Canada 2012 Arleta Bowhay is having a wonderful time as Miss Rodeo Canada 2012!

Her journey started with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, which was an amazing experience. In January she attended the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo as well as the WESA Market where she had the opportunity to help Roper/Stetson showcase their new line of boots and clothing.

Back here in Canada, she attended the Alberta Feeders Association Convention in Red Deer, as well as the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies in Edmonton. There she met Alberta Agriculture Minister Evan Berger and several MLAs. She also attended the Country Road RV Show in Olds.

With warmer weather just around the corner her schedule is about to get very busy promoting Canada, rodeo and our western heritage.


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Alberta rancher Travis Toews
photo courtesy Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

Rancher Receives Queen’s Medal

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) President Travis Toews received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Feb. 6 for his ‘dedication to the field of agriculture, and for his support for farmers and cattlemen.’

Toews is one of 60 Canadians honoured at the medal’s inaugural presentation ceremony at Rideau Hall. He received his medal from the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was also at the event, held in honour of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The commemorative medal is presented to Canadians who have made significant contributions to their community and their country.

Toews has been involved with the CCA since 2005. Formerly the CCA’s vice-president, Toews chaired the Foreign Trade Committee and has served on the Domestic Agriculture Policy and Regulations Committee and the Value Creation and Competitiveness Committee.

Toews, along with his wife Kim, run Melbern Holdings, a cow-calf and backgrounding operation, near Grande Prairie, Alta.


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One of Jack Anderson’s 100 vintage vehicles to be auctioned off in support of Olds College is this spectacular, rare white Studebaker Hawk
Photo courtesy Olds College

Rancher Donates 100 Vintage Vehicles

Calgary-area businessman and rancher J. C. (Jack) Anderson will be donating the proceeds from the sale of his collection of 100 vintage cars and trucks to Olds College during its 2013 Centennial year.

Planning for the “100 Cars and Trucks For Our 100th Year” auction is underway. Anderson’s prized collection will be auctioned off in a very public and celebratory auction that will be a cornerstone event of the Olds College Centennial year. The date of the auction has not been announced yet. The generous philanthropist is not an Olds College alumnus.

Olds College President Dr. Tom Thompson captures the college’s gratitude. “Jack has, again, given us a remarkably incredible gift. It’s not just the seven figure cash donation that will flow from the auction, but the auction itself has amazing potential to shine an enormous spotlight on our college as we celebrate 100 years of education excellence. We are beyond grateful.”

Anderson will allow the College to decide how to best use the proceeds from the vehicles auction, but it is likely that the College’s next capital building campaign and the year-long Centennial celebration will be beneficiaries. Mr. Anderson gifted Olds College $1 million in 2007, without restrictions on its use.


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Lynn Miller, He Wrote the Book(s)

For those of us that have farmed with horses chances are, we’ve got at least one of Lynn Miller’s “Work Horse Handbook” publications in our library. More than likely we’ve got them all.

For the first time this practical horseman, author and America’s foremost expert on horse farming is coming to Alberta and he’ll be sharing his knowledge and expertise with draft horse enthusiasts at a field day at Alberta Carriage Supply June 2 just east of Calgary, Alta.

Among other topics, Lynn will be covering the use of multiple hitches in farming, when to add horses, the equipment needed, etc. The day will conclude with a roast beef dinner.

Call 403-934-9537 for more information.


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Glenice and Cam with their children Sandy, Ruben and Maggy
Photo courtesy Cooper Family

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Wade and Nadine with their children Sam, Grace and Bryn
Photo courtesy Cooper Family

Cooper Children Trust Fund

Facebook Auction

Thousands of Westerners banded together on the internet to raise funds for the children of Wade and Cam Cooper. The well-known brothers were tragically killed in a plane crash last summer.

In just 10 days, over 4,200 people joined the Facebook group and donated nearly 300 items, ranging from stems of semen from herd sires and bucking bulls, to art, jewelry, barrel racing lessons, cattle dog puppies, a horseback ride viewing bison, music CDs, a fishing trip at a luxury resort, custom cowboy hats, horse gear, clothing a luxury package to the CFR and even that Western Canadian delicacy, homemade Saskatoon pies. As well, many people just flat out donated money and when the dust settled, over $123,000 was raised. To view all the items, join Cooper Children Trust Fund on Facebook.

The auction was organized by Canadian Cowboy Country with Meghann Tanner at the helm, with special thanks going out to Lindsey Edge and Dee Roy for their invaluable help on our first auction.

“What amazed me the most was how fast it grew and the range of donations,” says Tanner. “There was even home baking and those cinnamon buns went for $220!”

The final bids were collected by Canadian Cowboy Country and every penny went to the Fund.


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Tim Hus and the Rocky Mountain Two, from left, Riley Tubbs, Tim Hus and Billy MacInnis on stage at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival
Photo courtesy Tim Hus

He Shoots, He Scores!

Prolific songwriter and the Prince Royal to Stompin’ Tom’s legacy of Canadiana music, Tim Hus and his band, the Rocky Mountain Two (Riley Tubbs on stand up bass and Billy MacInnis on lead guitar and smokin’ fiddle) recently returned from a hat trick of shows at the 28th annual Cowboy Gathering in Elko, Nevada.

The Elko crowd, more used to hearing songs about howling coyotes, horse wrecks and vintage tunes, rewarded Hus with standing ovations and sold out CDs.

His music is as Canadian as toques and Chinooks, with tunes written about such unlikely subjects as the discovery of oil (Alberta Crude), mining, ranchers, fishing trawlers, Small Town Saloon, Saskatchewan, Flin Flon, working in a gravel pit (a huge crowd favourite), a wealth of truck driving songs including one about a beer truck driver; (Hus says there’s 63 different brands of beer mentioned in the tune; “I did a lot of research,” he laughs), and of course those early morning coffee sipping, foot stamping fixtures of the arenas?—?Hockey Moms.

While radio airplay might be hit-and-miss for this already-legendary performer, television producers have taken notice and Hus is about to get a huge boost to a national audience. CBC has licensed his iconic small town rink song, Hockeytown, for Hockey Day in Canada. To get CDs of this Canadiana Cowboy’s music, visit Cowboy Country Market


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Where in the world is Canadian Cowboy?
Photo courtesy Anne Stevick

The Sphinx, Jungfrau, Switzerland

To reach Europe’s “Top of the World” ranchers Quentin and Anne Stevick of Pincher Creek, Alta., travelled onboard a hundred-year-old rail line to the Jungfraujoch. The rail line alone is a great engineering wonder. It’s the world’s highest subway climbing through four miles of tunnels through Eiger Mountain.

The Jungfraujoch observation deck is at 11,350 feet, flanked by the jagged peaks of the Jungfrau and the Mönch which form a valley that cradles the Aletsch Glacier. To reach the spot where they are standing, they rode an elevator another 356 feet up to The Sphinx, the Jungfrau’s highest platform (11,762 feet).

The Stevick’s spent a week in Germany and a week in Switzerland, visiting young women who spent time on their ranch doing practical work in agriculture. “We had to leave our magazine with our friend in Germany as they are really keen to read about western life in Alberta,” writes Anne.


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Calgary Stampede President and Chairman of the Board Michael Casey making the draw for the Calgary Stampede Centennial Saddle
Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede

Raffle Winner Spanier Claims Coveted Centennial Saddle

Brenda Spanier of Cochrane, Alta., is the lucky winner of a 2012 Calgary Stampede Centennial Saddle, after her name was recently drawn from hundreds of entries in a raffle organized by the Stampede’s Western Performance Horse Committee.

And even though this beautiful, purpose-built specimen is the real deal?—?and her Palomino horse Ranger, who stands 16.2 hands high, would love to try it on for size?—?Spanier says she’ll treasure it as more of a showcase piece. “I’m so thrilled. It’s a bit surreal to win a saddle like this,” says Spanier. “If I do use it, it’ll be on my special horse Ranger. But for me, it’s always something that’s going to be a collector’s item. ”

Spanier’s windfall is the latest development in a special celebration of the Stampede’s 2012 Centennial that has already been nearly a year in the making. Back in the spring of 2011, the Stampede’s Western Performance Horse Committee commissioned the production of up to 100 identical Vic Bennett Custom All-Round Saddles, to be handcrafted exclusively for the Stampede’s upcoming Centennial festivities in July.

Michael Casey, the Stampede’s President and Chairman of the Board drew Spanier’s name from the ballot box Jan. 11.


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Roy Rogers in a classic pose on Trigger. Dale Evans is standing nearby.
Photo courtesy Happy Trails Children’s Foundation

They Sold Trigger

This might be old news to you, but it was news to me…

The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, Missouri closed its doors forever and the contents of the museum were sold at public auction in late 2010. It’s reported that Roy Rogers told his son, Dusty that if the museum ever operates at a loss, close it and sell the contents. He complied.

A partial listing of some of the items that were sold at auction included Roy’s 1964 Bonneville which went for $254,500; his famous vehicle, Nellybelle sold for $116,500, his script book from the January 14, 1953 episode of This Is Your Life sold for $10,000; one of Roy’s many shirts sold for $16,250, one of his cowboy hats from his collection sold for $17,500; one pair of Roy’s boots sold for $21,250, one of several of his guitars sold for $27,500 and a Republic Productions Poster bearing many autographs of the people that played in Roy’s movies sold for $11,875.

Their stuffed and mounted family dog, Bullet, fetched $35,000, Dale’s parade saddle, estimated to sell between $20-30K, sold for $104,500 and Dale’s mounted horse, Buttermilk sold for $25,000.

One pair of Roy’s spurs sold for $10,625, (he never used spurs on Trigger), Trigger’s Bohlin-made saddle and bridle sold for $386,500 and Trigger sold for $266,500.


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Cowgirl Cattle Company

No one can throw a party like a gathering of Cowgirls, and 2011 saw a banner year for the charities they support!

The mission of the Cowgirl Cattle Company is to promote Western values and heritage. This group of like-minded women who share a background in the agricultural (mainly ranching and rodeo) industry also do a tremendous job of raising funds for charity.

The success of the Cowgirls has branched out to the ranching community in Saskatchewan and the combination has not only provided a fun get-together for the women of the range, but has resulted in a combined total of $154,755 being raised for charities ranging from STARS Air Ambulance to breast cancer research. They also award annual scholarships to women with a strong agricultural background attending a post secondary institution.

The Alberta branch holds their Rendezvous in May; the Saskatchewan branch holds their Gathering in September. For more info, visit Cowgirl Cattle Company.


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The Six String Nation Guitar, nicknamed the Voyageur, was constructed using wood and metals from 63 iconic Canadian symbols
Photo courtesy Six String Nation Guitar

The Voyageur Travelling Across Canada

The Six String Nation Guitar, nicknamed the Voyageur, is the spirit of a country embodied in a single guitar.

This instant icon was made from 63 pieces of Canadian history and heritage including wood from former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s canoe paddle, a piece of Paul Henderson’s hockey stick from the most famous hockey game ever played (Canada vs. USSR, 1972), a piece of the Hand Hills Lake Stampede Dance Hall floor board, Nancy Greene’s ski, wood from the schooner, Bluenose II, wood from John Ware’s cabin and a piece of Wayne Gretzky’s hockey stick.

The Voyageur was the brainchild of award winning broadcaster Jowi Taylor. He collected artefacts and shipped them to master luthier George Rizsanyi who completed it in 2006; with inlay work and other assistance by Sara Nasr.

After the guitar was built Taylor took to the road again, getting all manner of people to play it, from Canadian musical legends (Gordon Lightfoot on his birthday, in his home) to world-famous musicians touring the country to hundreds of ordinary people.

To invite this guitar to your community, visit Six String Nation.


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Lorne Hindbo, his pack of five cougar tracking Plott Hounds and his ranch cattle dog

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This female cougar was tracked, treed, tranq’d and re-collared in the Cypress Hills. Notice the tips of her ears were frozen off sometime in her life. The collar the cat was packing malfunctioned and had to be replaced.
Photo by Gary Houston

Collaring “Ghost Cats” in the Cypress Hills

Lorne Hindbo of South Ram Outfitters of Caroline, Alta., has been spending a lot of time reading sign in both Alberta and Saskatchewan this past winter. The award-winning outfitter and rancher is one of Canada’s premier cougar trackers.

When not doing predator management, he works closely with wildlife biologists in tracking cougars with his purebred pack of Plott hounds. Once safely treed, the team, led by biologist Carl Morrison from the University of Alberta, move in and tranquilize the animal to collar, measure and collect other data for the studies underway.

“I really enjoy meeting and working with the ranchers over there,” says Hindbo. “They’re the nicest people and they’ve got a unique point of view. For such a relatively small cougar habitat there is a very healthy population in their area. There is also a very healthy deer population too.”

As both a lifelong rancher and tracker Hindbo has a lot of experience with the big cats.

“There is a lot of data that supports the knowledge that cougars aren’t a threat to cattle; they tend to prefer deer and the “exotics” like donkeys, miniature ponies and llamas.” He pauses and adds, “I don’t want to be a fear monger about cougars. I’m more used to calming people down about them.”

He pauses and added, “For the recreational hiker it’s always wise to carry a big stick or hike with a real gritty dog. But anytime you’re out in the wilderness it’s just common sense to watch your back.”

Over the past year, Hindbo has collared some 18 cougars, including three kittens, in the Cypress Hills. In the Central Alberta area west of Red Deer, he has tracked down over 100.


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Top Canadians Heading to California

With no judges, no timers and no awards on the line, twenty of the world’s top horsemen are donating their time and heading to California to take part in the Horsemen’s Reunion where 20 trainers will each pick out a remuda from 40 un-started horses and transform them into working, willing mounts in six days.

This one-of-a-kind assembly of top hands will be held April 2?–7, 2012 at the California Mid-State Fairgrounds in Paso Robles, Calif.

Billed as “Authentic Western Horsemanship” and an educational opportunity for the public like no other, the Reunion is the brainchild of Rowly and Cathie Twisselman, owners of Madonna Inn Quarter Horses in Southern California, and horsemanship clinicians, Chris Cox and Martin Black.

The horsemen are a mix of well known clinicians, professional horsemen and ranch cowboys from the U.S., Canada and Australia. A total of 40 head of two and three-year-old horses will be started. At no other event, has the public witnessed this many horses being started by more top horsemen in one place, at one time, all working without the pressure of the clock or a prestigious title.

The sixth day will conclude with a Grand Finale/Sale Preview and a First Ever Horsemen’s Re-Union Horse Sale. Many of the horses will be offered to the public at auction. Also, the horsemen have been offered spots to sell some of their own personal, more experienced mounts at this sale.

Horsemen will be coming from six states and four nations and includes Sid Cook, Mike Sears and Blake Schlosser from Canada.

For more info, visit Horsemens Reunion.


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Newlyweds Dustin and Lorelei Thompson on the beach at the Mayan Riviera in Mexico
Photo courtesy Dustin and Lorelei Thompson

Thompson and Reidy Take the Plunge

Congratulations to 10-time CFR qualifier (BSR, NSB-2, SB-7) professional saddle bronc rider Dustin Thompson and his bride, Lorelei (Reidy) Thompson on their sun soaked January 17 wedding. The ceremony took place at the Bahia Principe on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.

Groomsmen included fellow saddle bronc riders Chet Johnson, Dustin Flundra, Kyle Thomson and Billy Richards.

Over 70 guests attended the beach wedding. “We had the time of our lives!” says an enthused Thompson.

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