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BC Cowboy Hall of Fame 2024 inductee: Wanda Dorsey — Pioneer

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin is home to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame
Wanda Dorsey. (Photo submitted)

Wanda Dorsey was born August 1951 to Lester and Mickey Dorsey of Anahim Lake, B.C. Her mother Mickey grew up in Bella Coola and Lester had arrived from the United States in 1922 and had a hand in starting many of the ranches in the Anahim Lake area.

His only daughter, Wanda, has carried on his legacy. Times were not easy being raised in a household of brothers, yet Wanda grew up strong and capable. She tells stories of her younger brother making money by betting Wanda could beat any other student in arm wrestling. (A strength born of handling a team and dump rake all summer.)

She also has hairraising stories of her and her little brother, riding by themselves at the ages of 11 and 13, to Tatla Lake for the school year (about 120 kilometres) with a note in their pocket from their mom saying “These are my kids, please feed and water them and their horses” for their nightly stops at local ranches.

When Wanda first started to buy the Four Mile Ranch from her parents, as a young adult, the only way to access it was by horseback or wagon. She purchased the herd of Hereford cattle with the ranch. Although the chosen cattle breed eventually changed and motorized vehicles made it in, Wanda has never lost her love for tending cattle from horseback.

Wanda met her life partner, Roger Williams in 1979, and together they expanded the ranch adding the Mooney/Donahue place in 1988. They both enjoyed trapping and Roger especially enjoyed guiding for moose and caribou. Together they increased and improved the cattle herd and raised, trained and purchased horses to develop a fine string of animals.

In 1985, needing some money for fuel for the haying equipment, Wanda reluctantly agreed to guide a group of experienced women on a trip solo. The ride was the beginning of a solid business, taking guests in to the Rainbow, Ilgatchuz and Itcha mountains for seven to 16-day long trips. Up until 2022, Wanda was still guiding, cooking and helping saddle and pack the 24-plus head of horses required for these trips.

2003 saw Wanda and Roger purchase the Three Circle Ranch with their daughter and her husband, this partnership is still thriving. Though health has forced retirement in 2023, both she and Roger plan to stay and remain active and involved on the family ranch. She has two sons and one daughter, exceptional grandchildren and many people who are proud to call her a mentor, friend and teacher.

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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