My Point of View April 2011

Table of Contents

Riches of the Cariboo

The Cunningham Ranch at
Mile 74 of the fabled Cariboo
Wagon Road

Living Legend

The life of rancher, teacher,
outfitter, storyteller and Metis
leader, Frances Riviere

Nk’Mip Cultural Centre

A showcase of a thriving
aboriginal culture that has
morphed into a multifaceted
business empire

You Gotta Have Style!

Trend-setting fashions guaranteed
to take you both from the barn to
black-tie events in style

Cowboy Savvy

Canada’s most qualified coach
and judge gives her take on the
exacting sport of musical rides

Vacations for the Soul

I’m on lovesick “Super Cowhorse” Woody
and Chris Schauer rides her mare, Brandy,
about to ‘take a walk on the wild side’. We
paused for a photo before riding into the
spectacular badlands where we camped
with our horses for the weekend. The Red
Deer River glistens behind us.
Photo courtesy Terri Mason

My idea of a perfect vacation looks an awful lot like work to many, yet I know I’m not all that different from you.
Take cowboys, for example. Do you ever notice that there’s never a shortage of good hands at a traditional branding? Good horses, some in training, are lined up around the outside of the branding pen to watch the action. Kids, in their own pens, mimic the action. And somewhere, someone is cooking.
Ranchers tend to brand on the same weekend every year, weather permitting. In a long-established ranching community, everyone knows who brands when. For about a month or more, there is steady traffic from one ranch to the next as they give each other a helping hand to get the job done. Do other professions work that way? Do accountants all get together on a weekend, pull their desks in a circle, and do each other’s taxes? I don’t know. There’s just something about good horses, good hands and good food that turn a job into a vacation.
One of the early methods of letting neighbours know of an upcoming branding was with a fence phone. Have you ever heard of a fence phone? This is one of the most unusual Trail Blazers we’ve ever featured, and you’re about to learn all about this interesting
rural ingenuity.
Our Living Legend is the wonderful Frances Riviere, who tends to winter in Pincher Creek as her ranch gets too snowed in for easy travel. In one of our many conversations, we discussed early photos from her collection. When I wondered aloud if any might be available to publish, Frances assured me that if she “didn’t have them at her place in Pincher, she would gladly snowshoe into her ranch to get them” — an eightmile trip, one way. Did I mention Frances is in her 70s?
This issue we also serve up fashion for men and women. Just because you’re in the barn doesn’t mean you can’t look nice. With that in mind, we’re featuring fashion trends that will shine you up with styles for the barn, from lookin’ good everyday duds to duded-up black-tie affairs.
This is also our wildly popular annual Vacation Guide — and we’re bringing some new sights, such as the Nk’Mip Cultural Centre (pronounced IN-ka-meep) in southern B.C., and our picks for the Top Ten Fairs & Exhibitions for western family fun.
Of course, there are also many opportunities to saddle up and ride some new country
and once again, you too can pack up the family and turn your job into a vacation
here in Canadian Cowboy Country.