Our Town

CATTLE COUNTRY: Museum honours B.C cowboys

Museum director Pam Mahon serves cowboy poet and rancher Frank Gleeson at the city’s 88th birthday tea in March.  - Gaeil Farrar photo
Museum director Pam Mahon serves cowboy poet and rancher Frank Gleeson at the city’s 88th birthday tea in March.
— image credit: Gaeil Farrar photo

Many longtime ranchers in the region take a keen interest in the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, home to the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Retired rancher Pam Mahon and rancher Frank Gleeson both participated in the museum’s invitational celebration of the city’s 88th birthday tea held at the museum March 15.

Gleeson is the city’s official poet and wrote a special poem to celebrate the city’s 88th birthday and recited it at the event in his fast talking cowboy poet style.

Mahon has been a volunteer at the museum off and on for many years and a director on the museum board for the past two years.

“I am the director in charge of the Cowboy Hall of Fame,” Mahon says. “Thank goodness I have some very good help, otherwise I would be lost.”

The 2017 inductees in the working cowboy/horseman  category include Bronc Twan of the Alkali Lake Ranch, Mark Grafton of the Bar K Ranch and Miles Kingdon, who worked on the Douglas Lake Ranch, Gang Ranch and Empire Valley Ranch, to name a a few.

The late brothers Antoine Harry and Gilbert Harry, who both worked at the Gang Ranch and various ranches around the Williams Lake area, will be honoured in the working cowboy category.

Mahon says the museum will hold a tea for the local inductees and their families at the museum on the morning of April 23. The same afternoon, she says the inductees will be honoured during the  Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo.

The B.C. Rodeo Association’s 27th Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo takes place at the Cariboo Memorial Complex Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m.;  Saturday, April 22 at 1 p.m. (slack at 9 a.m. if necessary); and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Williams Lake’s 88th Birthday

Now eighty eight years ago today

Good old Williams Lake was born

And we’re all very proud of it

When we wake up every morn.

But let’s turn back the clock a bit

Back to those early years

When cattle roamed the main street

With heifers cows and steers.

They’d drive them over to the stockyards

Until all the pens were full

With five hundred head of happy heifers

And one worn out old bull.

We should bake that bull a cake.

He put in all that time

Out there working day and night

But never took a dime.

Yes, back then the town was filled with fields

Where the wheat and barley grew

Where the Pinchbeck mill up on the hill

Made some spicy real fine brew.

And then a little later

And this is not a prank

A guy walked down the street one day

Went in and robbed the bank.

But now the town has a birthday

Like we do every year

And when we celebrate its birthday

They’ll come from far and near.

Yes, today we’re eighty eight years old

So why don’t we have a wake

And celebrate from dark to dawn

For good old Williams Lake.

So let’s go paint the town red

And let our long hair down

And those of you don’t have any

We’ll get you a crown.

So when we awake and our headaches

From a little too much cheer

No, we just can’t wait for the time and date

When we’ll do it all next year.

Frank Gleeson

Feb. 28, 2017

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