Many longtime ranchers in the region take a keen interest in the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, home to the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Retired rancher Pam Mahon and rancher Frank Gleeson both participated in the museum’s invitational celebration of the city’s 88th birthday tea held at the museum March 15.
Gleeson is the city’s official poet and wrote a special poem to celebrate the city’s 88th birthday and recited it at the event in his fast talking cowboy poet style.
Mahon has been a volunteer at the museum off and on for many years and a director on the museum board for the past two years.
“I am the director in charge of the Cowboy Hall of Fame,” Mahon says. “Thank goodness I have some very good help, otherwise I would be lost.”
The 2017 inductees in the working cowboy/horseman category include Bronc Twan of the Alkali Lake Ranch, Mark Grafton of the Bar K Ranch and Miles Kingdon, who worked on the Douglas Lake Ranch, Gang Ranch and Empire Valley Ranch, to name a a few.
The late brothers Antoine Harry and Gilbert Harry, who both worked at the Gang Ranch and various ranches around the Williams Lake area, will be honoured in the working cowboy category.
Mahon says the museum will hold a tea for the local inductees and their families at the museum on the morning of April 23. The same afternoon, she says the inductees will be honoured during the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo.
The B.C. Rodeo Association’s 27th Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo takes place at the Cariboo Memorial Complex Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 22 at 1 p.m. (slack at 9 a.m. if necessary); and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Williams Lake’s 88th Birthday
Now eighty eight years ago today
Good old Williams Lake was born
And we’re all very proud of it
When we wake up every morn.
But let’s turn back the clock a bit
Back to those early years
When cattle roamed the main street
With heifers cows and steers.
They’d drive them over to the stockyards
Until all the pens were full
With five hundred head of happy heifers
And one worn out old bull.
We should bake that bull a cake.
He put in all that time
Out there working day and night
But never took a dime.
Yes, back then the town was filled with fields
Where the wheat and barley grew
Where the Pinchbeck mill up on the hill
Made some spicy real fine brew.
And then a little later
And this is not a prank
A guy walked down the street one day
Went in and robbed the bank.
But now the town has a birthday
Like we do every year
And when we celebrate its birthday
They’ll come from far and near.
Yes, today we’re eighty eight years old
So why don’t we have a wake
And celebrate from dark to dawn
For good old Williams Lake.
So let’s go paint the town red
And let our long hair down
And those of you don’t have any
We’ll get you a crown.
So when we awake and our headaches
From a little too much cheer
No, we just can’t wait for the time and date
When we’ll do it all next year.
Feb. 28, 2017