Skip to content

BC Cowboy Hall of Fame 2024 inductee: Wilfred Anderson — Working Cowboy

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

Born Feb. 28, 1940 at his grandfather George Moore’s ranch at Spokin Lake near Williams Lake, B.C. Wilfred Anderson was the oldest of his siblings by seven years. Mel, Winnie, Clara (Reaugh) and Dennis Anderson would follow.

He grew up riding a horse and travelled by horseback to school many miles away at Rose Lake. Wilfred has many relatives in the Cariboo Chilcotin and beyond. His ancestry is Shuswap, Chilcotin and Irish, he was a member of the Williams Lake First Nation. His mother was Agnes Anderson (Moore) (Tillian) and his maternal grandfather was Chief William. When his mom married Oscar Anderson, Wilfred became the unpaid hired hand. Oscar was a noted horseman from Idaho. Wilfred started and rode many horses growing up.

Wilfred and his brother Mel held Jackpot Rodeos at the ranch in Miocene. Wilfred, his brother Mel and best friend Gordon Mackenzie, started in the sport of rodeo at the Anahim Lake Stampede. While still at home, Wilfred worked for Doc Bell at the 150 Mile Ranch. Wilfred rodeoed for about 10 years while also acting as pickup man.

Bulls were his favourite but he also rode saddle bronc, bareback and a little jackpot roping.

Wilfred’s first job away from home was at Douglas Lake Cattle Company where he rode with Slim Campbell, whom he considered “one of the best cowboys ever.”

While working with Slim, Wilfred learned the art of roping and doctoring animals. Many horses were started by Wilfred during this time, one being “Cow Country,” a bucking horse that went on to the rodeo finals five times. Upon leaving Douglas Lake, Wilfred came home, purchased a team and started in the horse logging business. He also worked as a hunting guide for grizzlies in the Cariboo Mountains for 10 years. Wilfred became adept at problem shoeing and also raised race horses.

Wilfred and his first wife Liz purchased the EP Lee Ranch at Redstone which they renamed 3 Bars Cattle Company. He rounded up and worked with wild horses during this time, while also continuing in the sport of rodeo as pickup man working with Roy Mulvahill.

Wilfred and his second wife Betty (Macalister), who were married 2002 at the Redstone Rodeo, spent countless hours riding to “visit” the wild horses of the Chilcotin.

They had a small ranch on the west side of the Fraser River, from where the couple enjoyed taking their team of percherons on the nine-day wagon trip from Nehemiah to Williams Lake, which they completed three times.

Wilfred died Feb. 1, 2017. A horseman till the end.

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.

Don’t miss out on reading the latest local, provincial and national news offered at the Williams Lake Tribune. Sign up for our free newsletter here.

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
Read more