Lifelong Chilcotin cowboy Lawrence Elkins of Anaham Reserve shares his passion for horses with his granddaughter

Lifelong Chilcotin cowboy Lawrence Elkins of Anaham Reserve shares his passion for horses with his granddaughter

Smart 55: Lifelong cowboy still seated in the saddle

As he picked up his grand daughter Natyra to give her hug, Lawrence Elkins said he was about her age when he first rode a horse.

As he picked up his three-year-old grand daughter Natyra to give her hug, Lawrence Elkins said he was about her age when he first rode a horse.

“We were moving with a team and wagon and I was crying and crying so my dad put me on a saddle so I’d quit crying,” he recalled.

“I don’t know how long I rode that day, but it sure kept me quiet.”

During an interview at the Williams Lake Stampede while his grandson Cody was competing in steer riding at the Little Britches Rodeo, the soon-to-be 70-year-old said he was the second oldest of 12 boys.

Born and raised on the Anaham Reserve west of Williams Lake, Elkins grew up helping his mom Annie Elkins at home, packing water and wood and helping his dad, Thomas Elkins, raise cattle on the reserve.

“We had a ranch on the main reserve, the hay fields were on the lower part.”

He attended the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School from kindergarten until Grade 4, attended Grade 4 and 5 at the Anaham Indian Day School, and then was back at the mission until he went into Williams Lake for high school.

“They were lonely times, I missed my family and parents, but two of my brothers were there,” he recalled of being at residential school, although he said playing hockey in the school’s house league was a highlight.

He also played recreational hockey and softball on the reserve.

Eventually he quit high school and went home to work with his father, who was now doing guiding as well as raising cattle.

“I assisted dad with moose hunting and all his American clients,” Elkins said, adding most of them came from the west coast of Washington and Oregon, sometimes California.

Elkins was heavily involved with the rodeo circuit competing in saddle bronc riding and competed for 20 years mainly in B.C.

He was 16 years old the first time he competed, although that was the bareback event.

In 1978 he garnered the title of North American Champion in Saddle Bronc Riding, and still has a buckle at home he won during a state fair in Spokane, Wash.

After helping his dad with cattle, Elkins branched out on his own in 1976, raising cattle until 2004.

These days he continues to work as a cowboy, chasing cows at Chilko Ranch, assisting with weaning, branding and shipping cattle. He also owns a dozen head of horses and figures he’s put in more than a million miles on horseback.

Elkins has lived on the reserve all of his life and has five grown children — Junior, Trudy, Carmen, Tyler and step daughter Geraldine.

A self-described hockey grandpa, he can be seen hanging out at the hockey rink on the weekends or at tournaments with his wife Rose who was a Stump, although this year they will be dividing duties because grandson Cory Loring is playing for a rep midget team in Prince George.

When asked about First Nations politics, Elkins shrugged.

“I’m not interested in it,” he smiled.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Williams Lake’s YBC Bowlers Remy LeBlanc (back from left), coach Kevin McAlpine, Kara-lynn McAlpine, coach Lindsey Kelley, coach Lisa Mcalpine, Avrel Kidney (middle from left), Weston Kelly, Renee O’Hara, Lily Stewart, Brandon LeBlanc, Serena Kidney (front from left), Elsa Kunka and Colton Lendvoy have managed to carry on through the COVID-19 pandemic while following health guidelines. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Youth bowlers still throwing strikes, despite pandemic

Young bowlers have been able to carry on relatively unaffected due to the nature of the sport

Members of the Tl’etinqox First Nations are awaiting word of when they will receive their second dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
‘We need the second round’: Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse questions vaccine roll-out

It’s been 42 days since Tl’etinqox First Nation members received their first dose of Moderna

A drive-thru restaurant and beer and wine store is being proposed by Broadway Landco Management Ltd. for the former Chemo RV site at 1704 Broadway Ave. South. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Drive-thru restaurant, beer and wine store proposed for Williams Lake

Owners of property at 1704 Broadway Ave. South have applied for a zoning amendment

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read