Photo courtesy of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin                                The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin plays host to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame, and is a member of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society.

Photo courtesy of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin plays host to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame, and is a member of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society.

CASUAL COUNTRY 2017: BC Cowboy Hall of Fame a treasure trove of history

Men on horseback working cattle are an integral part of North American history.

  • Dec. 13, 2017 10:14 a.m.

Diana FRENCH

Casual Country 2017

Men on horseback working cattle are an integral part of North American history. No one yet has found a substitute for a skilled cowboy. It is important to note that some cowboys are women.

B.C.’s early history was carved out of the wilderness by thousands of hard-working and often-forgotten cowboys.

The BC Cowboy Hall of Fame was started by the BC Cowboy Heritage Society in 1998 to capture the memories of these living legends and share their stories.

When formed in 1998, and when the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin members heard about it, they contacted Mike Puhallo, the president and founder of the group.

He was encouraging, and the museum society joined his society.

The BCCHS had already started the Cowboy Hall of Fame, but they had no home for the inductees’ memorabilia. Although the BCCHS is based in Kamloops, the Ranching/Rodeo museum was a natural place for the collection. In addition to housing the memorabilia and Hall of Fame archives, the museum society has a representative on the hall of fame committee and hosts a luncheon for the local inductee cowboys and their guests prior to the induction ceremonies at the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo in April.

READ MORE: Regional museum options to be investigated

The museum has books featuring the hall of famers.

As of 2017, 125 cowboys have joined the hall of fame. Many of them have given their saddles to the museum and, along with other donated saddles, the museum has one of the largest, if not the largest, collection of working saddles in Canada.

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin is often referred to as the cowboy museum and it is, but many people forget, or don’t know, that there are many kinds of cowboys.

The hall of fame has seven categories: working cowboy, competitive, pioneer, horseman, artistic, family and century ranch.

Until big corporations began taking over the industry, most ranchers cowboyed somewhere along the line. Some cowboys are women, some are artists or musicians.

Sonia Cornwall, who is in the hall of fame is, of course, a woman. She was also an internationally-known artist, a ranch owner and working cowboy.