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BC Cowboy Hall of Fame 2024 inductee: Olive (Ollie) Curtis — Competitor

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin is home to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame
Olive (Ollie) Curtis (Norberg) (Matheson). (Photo submitted)

Olive (Ollie) Curtis (Norberg) (Matheson) was the third child born to Harry and Julia on June 23, 1908 at Chimney Creek. Ollie first attended school at Soda Creek, until a school was later built in Alkali. Ollie started competing in horse events at the age of 14. As a teenager she was named B.C All-Around Champion Cowgirl in 1927, and held the title for B.C Girls Steer Riding Champion for three years.

She was the first woman to compete in the spectacular Mountain Race at the Williams Lake Stampede, coming in second in 1927. She received a Silver Tea Set from the premier of the province. She also competed in bronc riding and flat racing. Ollie and her brothers Ray, Marvin and Peter were pioneers in the development of the Williams Lake Stampede and competed for many years in various events.

Ollie married Al Norberg in 1928. Her father and brothers helped to build the couples first home at the corner of Third Avenue and Barnard Street in Williams Lake. The couple moved to Kamloops in 1932 where Ollie completed business college. After 14 years of marriage the couple separated and Ollie moved back to Williams Lake with her two sons Doug and Reg.

She started work as a bookkeeper at Mackenzie’s Store, and later moved to work for the Department of Highways as a secretary. In 1961, Ollie and her son Reg purchased an insurance company renaming it Norberg and Matheson.

Ollie’s dedication extended beyond her professional pursuits; she devoted many years to volunteering for the Williams Lake Stampede Association, serving as secretary for 11 years. Her lifelong interest in rodeo and active participation in curling, golf, bridge and cooking showcased her vibrant spirit and diverse interests.

Ollie passed away June 8, 1986. Her story is an inspiration to all.

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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