As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

FRENCH CONNECTION: Let’s hope cowboy heritage society rides on

Mega thanks to the McMillans and all the BCCHS members for their dedication

Congratulations to Surinderpal Rathor on his retirement after 46 years with Tolko, Soda Creek Division.

Along with his work record, Surinder was a city councillor for 21 years, and spent many, many hours volunteering with community groups.

His contributions have earned him both provincial and federal awards. I’m sure he’ll continue his involvement in community activities. I can’t see him spending all his retirement time “resting.”

***

The retirement of Mark McMillan after some 24 years as president of the Kamloops-based BC Cowboy Heritage Society is sad. With no one stepping up to replace Mark and his wife, Kathy, with age and burn out reducing the number of volunteers, and the society’s main fundraiser, the annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival , cancelled twice in a row, the future of the society at this point is unclear.

READ MORE: Great to see gov’t collaboration to curtail COVID-19

BCCHS was founded in 1996 to “promote, encourage, establish, conduct and operate events and activities relating to the preservation of cowboy heritage in BC, while fostering and developing community interest in the province’s cowboy/ ranching history.” (Note “cowboy,” not western.)

The society founded the Cowboy Hall of Fame and along with the annual two-day Kamloops festival, it ran many programs, including scholarships and awards.

The Williams Lake Museum Society had a ranching/rodeo theme to reflect the history of the Cariboo Chilcotin, and back in the late 90s,when we heard the BCCHS was lookinng for a home for the Hall of Fame collection, we offered space. The offer was accepted, the museum society joined the heritage society, and the hall of fame came to Williams Lake.

Mega thanks to the McMillans and all the BCCHS members for their dedication to cowboy heritage over the years. Let’s hope there are enough people with the time, interest and energy to keep the society going.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.


 


editor@wltribune.com

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