Samara Mammel is a keen on fishing, her community, and the opportunities for exploration the Williams Lake area offers. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Samara Mammel is a keen on fishing, her community, and the opportunities for exploration the Williams Lake area offers. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

OUR HOMETOWN: Samara Mammel is a woman of many hats

Williams Lake is home, she said

Samara Mammel loves the sense of community in her hometown of Williams Lake.

“Everything you need is here or within a five-hour drive. If you want to go exploring you always have someone who wants to go with you.”

Born in Williams Lake to Brenda Ballas and Jim Mammel, Samara has an older brother Jesse Mammel who lives in Red Deer, Alta.

Until she was eight-years-old, the family lived on Mayfield Avenue in Williams Lake and during that time she attended Poplar Glade Elementary School.

Eventually the family moved to Rose Lake where her grandparents Paul “Buck” and Margaret Mammel owned the Poole Ranch,which they had purchased in 1969.

Originally from Romania, Buck had arrived in the Cariboo-Chilcotin in 1939 and worked on several ranches. Before the Poole Ranch they purchased the Pioneer Ranch at Miocene, which they sold in 1973. Buck died in 1996 and was inducted in the 2020 BC Cowboy Hall of Fame, which Samara accepted on behalf of the family at the 2022 Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo.

“I loved it,” Samara said about living on the ranch. “My grandpa was there, my cousins, my uncle. It was a cattle ranch and I rode horses. I grew up with lots of boys, playing pond hockey and stuff like that. My uncle still owns half of the ranch.”

She attended 150 Mile Elementary School for Grades 4 to 7 and remembers fondly going on a two-week intermediate band trip with teacher Ross McCoubrey.

Samara played the clarinet and taught herself to play with the opposite hands – meaning her right hand was at the top and left hand underneath.

“I don’t really know why I did it that way, but I did and never changed.”

When she was 14 her family moved back into town and from Grade 8 to 12 she attended Williams Lake Secondary, graduating in 2004.

After high school she had her son, Sydney Jorde, and stayed in Williams Lake until he was three-years-old.

From there she moved to Vancouver to study hairdressing at Blanche Macdonald Centre, eventually working in West Vancouver as a hairdresser for several years. Tired of the city she moved back to Williams Lake and worked at Lush Boutique.

Adventurous at heart she left in intervals to work at various places including a ski resort in Ontario, a heli-skiing company near Terrace, a fishing lodge and at a hot springs in the Kootenays.

In between those adventures, over the last 13 years she worked at Oliver Street Bar and Grill.

“I have a wonderful relationship with the owners. It’s a pretty special place for me,” she said, adding she is now the daytime manager Monday to Friday.

Two years ago in March she bought her nana Connie Edgson’s home, which had a nice garden.

“I’m not really a gardener. I pick nana up and she comes and does gardening for me sometimes,” she said.

An avid fisherman she enjoys ocean fishing the best, which she was introduced to by a friend who owned a fishing lodge.

When asked about her biggest catch so far, she said it was a marlin she caught in Mexico that weighed 132 pounds.

“That was pretty cool.”

She also caught a sturgeon on the Fraser River near Chilliwack during a girls’ trip for her birthday.

“I’m lucky,” she said. “I still have a group of girlfriends from high school.”

With sturgeon being protected she only got to touch it at the side of the boat before it was released back into the river.

Photography is another hobby, something she gravitated towards when she was a young self-described ‘artsy’ kid.

“I had an Olympus 35 mm and took a photograph of a staircase coming down into McLeese Lake at my friend’s place. I remember thinking, ‘this is kind of fun.’ I still have that photo.”

Samara used to photograph weddings and more recently has shot some rodeos where she is often flooded with fond memories of her grandfather who was on the rodeo circuit in his day.

“They are in an extreme element,” she said of why she likes photographing rodeo competitors. “I know quite a lot of people on the circuit. I have a friend who does team roping, another does barrel racing.”

She also does “pubography” of food, people and drinks for Oliver’s social media pages.

These days she and her son Sydney do photography together, and she enjoys that opportunity.

“He’s getting more of a social media presence and I’m backing off,” she said, smiling.

READ MORE: 2020 BC Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee: Paul ‘Buck’ Mammel



monica.lamb-yorski@wltribune.com

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