Wilfred Anderson, 75, loves horses and always has.
He grew up on a cattle ranch near Rose Lake, or Oak Tree, as it was known in those days.
“I remember going to school in a log school,” he recalled. “It’s still there I think.”
One of five children, Anderson is also the oldest grandson of Chief William.
By the age of 12 he was jockeying at the Williams Lake race track, and at the age of 16 left high school in Williams Lake to work as a cowboy at the Douglas Lake Ranch.
“I rode a lot of horses at Douglas Lake Ranch,” he said. “One particular horse was called Cow Country and I used to tell Mike Ferguson he should sell it for a bucking horse.”
Ferguson said it couldn’t buck, but when Anderson left they sold Cow Country for bucking stock and he went on to go to 11 trips to the national finals and became famous, Anderson said.
Eventually Anderson left the ranch and went with a friend to work in Alberta.
“In Alberta I rodeoed a little bit and logged a little bit.”
During the 1960s he purchased a team of horses and skidded for his neighbour.
One year he competed at the Williams Lake Stampede as a bull rider.
Then he and his friend Gordon McKenzie, a vet, started going to the Anahim Lake Rodeo together.
“That’s where I first started saddle bronc riding,” Anderson recalled. “I won the first time I was ever out on a saddle bronc.”
He and Ernie Mulvahill “rode off” for a big trophy and drew straws for the top bucking horses.
“I’d seen a big horse and saw him pull people over their heads and buck them off,” Anderson said. “I thought he wouldn’t do it to me, I’d just take a long rein on him and ride him.”
He was bucked off, but that was OK, he chuckled.
“I loved riding bucking horses and bulls and bareback horses, just anything and everything.”
He also chased wild horses with Roy Mulvahill, caught wild horses, was a pick up man and did some calf-roping.
Anderson always dreamed of owning his own ranch and eventually he purchased Three Bars Cattle Company at Red Stone.
“It was 1420 acres. I ran it for about 15 years.”
These days he and his wife Betty Anderson, an area director for the Cariboo Regional District, live on the Chilcotin side of the Fraser River.
They have a dozen horses with a few newborns on the way.
Last week the Andersons participated in the Xeni Gwet’in Wagon trip for the third time, bringing their own team of Black Percherons and wagon.
Anderson said he loves the ride.
He never had any children of his own but raised foster boys.
However, after he married Betty 13 years ago, he became a step dad and grandpa to her two children and four grandchildren.
He probably met Betty through church, he mused.
“I’m not what you would call a religious guy, but I have a relationship which is like me knowing you,” he explained.
As for his health, it’s super he added without hesitation.
“It’s like brand new I always say.”