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BC Cowboy Hall of Fame 2024 inductee: Bill Sure — Builder of Western Culture

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin is home to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame

Bill Sure was born in Wuppertal, Germany in 1935. After watching John Wayne movies, he decided at a young age to move to North America to follow his dream. At the age of 19, he boarded a boat and headed for Canada. He arrived in eastern Canada and from there, he managed to take up odd jobs before making his way out west, eventually settling in the B.C Interior.

In 1960, Bill married Martha Dick from Alkali, and they would have four children; Willie, Irene, Norma and Donna. Bill worked on any ranch that would take him as he was determined to learn and develop cowboying skills. He learned to ride, break and train horses, cattle handling and roping.

Bill worked on both Douglas Lake and Alkali Lake Ranches, up until the birth of his fourth child, when he chose to take up his trade in welding and fabricating. His expertise in welding led to a side job in manufacturing horse trailers and roping dummies.

Bill never hung up his spurs as he raised his four children in the cowboy and rodeo life. Bill competed in multiple events, team-roping, calf-roping, steer wrestling and later in breakaway. All the Sure children were taught to ride and rope. Bill was instrumental in founding the Spring House Sports Club which eventually evolved into the Interior Rodeo Association (IRA). The Sure children also excelled in the sport of rodeo, his son Willie went on to be a bullfighter, while daughters Irene and Norma competed in the BCRA and WIREA in team-roping and breakaway. Bill also taught his grandchildren to compete. Today, Norma and granddaughter Trinity still compete in barrel racing.

In 1992, the Sure family moved back to their heritage lands of their great grandfather on the reserve lands of Alkali Lake. The family fenced and cross-fenced 1,100 acres to start the Little Springs Ranch. The ranch was a working cattle ranch and also hosted BCTRA events and team-roping events. The family mainly started and trained their own horses for ranching and competitive rodeo activities, while also taking in outside horses for training. Bill and Martha still live on these lands, where at the age of 89 Bill still rides his horse daily and practices roping on the dummy.

The BC Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees will be honoured just prior to Sunday’s rodeo performance at the Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo in Williams Lake April 21.

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