Kamloops Cowboy Festival Wrap-Up

The 2015 Rising Star Music award was presented to the Mack family of Merritt, B.C. Photo by Donna Smith.

The B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society’s 19th Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival took over the Kamloops Convention Centre and Calvary Church in Kamloops, B.C., from March 13-15.

This year’s B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame ceremonies honoured the Century Ranch award recipients, the Haughton Ranch of Knutsford and the Lloyd Creek Ranch in Pinantan. During the Friday evening performance the Ben Louis family of Vernon (a five-generation rodeo dynasty), was inducted into the hall of fame’s family category.

Throughout the festival, a tremendous amount of awards were handed out to honour those who capture and celebrate the cowboy lifestyle. This year’s Rising Star award winners were Duane Nelson (cowboy poetry), and the Mack family (music). On Saturday night, author and historian Ken Mather was also honoured with The Joe Marten Award for the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in B.C.

The BCCHS scholarship winners were Maeghan Watkinson of Quesnel (drawing) and Lilin Zhang of Burnaby (short story). The winner of the Mike Puhallo Memorial Scholarship (for cowboy poetry), was Kirsten McAllister of Abbotsford.

In the Art of the West fine art exhibition, the Best in Show winners included Harold Allanson (flat work), Reg Parsons (sculpture) and Fiona Green (photography).

On April 19 at the Williams Lake BCRA Indoor Rodeo, the second half of the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame induction ceremonies took place. The 2015 inductees included Charlie Coldwell and the Coldwell Ranch (Working Cowboy and Century Ranch), Tom Desmond (Working Cowboy), and Bob Kojos (Competitive and Artistic Achievements).

Exciting events are already being planned for the festival’s 20th anniversary in 2016. Event president Mark McMillan invites everyone to mark March 17-20, on your 2016 calendars. The festival is sure to be quite a celebration!