Four working cowboys, each one with long years in the saddle across the Thompson-Nicola and Cariboo regions, will be inducted into the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame in Kamloops next week.
Alphonse Raphael, Stan Jacobs, Hank Krynen and Henry Schneider, who once worked for the Harper Ranch near Kamloops, will be added to the names of more than 140 ranchers, working cowboys, rodeo riders and horsemen listed in the hall archive.
As tradition holds, the latest inductees are to be recognized in a ceremony at the opening of the 20th annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival.
“It’s hard to believe but, yes, this is the 20th Kamloops Cowboy Festival and the 20th consecutive cowboy festival,” said Mark McMillan, president of the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society, on a recent visit to City council chambers.
Henry Schneider (1916-1991) was born in Ashcroft to parents who had arrived from the U.S. by covered wagon and homesteaded in Upper Hat Creek. With his wife, Elsie, Henry ran about 200 head of cattle in the area until they sold their ranch in 1965, after which he worked on ranches in Kamloops and Cache Creek.
Raphael Alphonse (1928-2014) was born in Anaham Meadows. He worked on many ranches, including Chilco, Chezzacut, Gang and Onward. He was one of the best team ropers and calf ropers, competing in the Chilcotin Rodeo Association (CRA), British Columbia Rodeo Association (BCRA), British Columbia Indian Rodeo Association (BCIRA), the Interior Rodeo Association (IRA), and many jackpot rodeos.
Originally from Calgary, Stan Jacobs has been cow boss at Douglas Lake Cattle Company for the past 25 years. He oversees 16-18 cowboys, 20,000 head of cattle and about 350 horses on Canada’s largest cattle spread. He’s a believer in tradition and all cattle work on the ranch is done with horses.
This year’s fourth inductee hails from Holland. Hank Krynen remembers feeding and grooming horses while his native country was under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Liberated by Canadian soldiers, he always wanted to see where the “tough buggers” came from. He later settle in the Cariboo, where he became foreman of Alkali Lake Ranch and competed in rodeo. At age 80, he acquired a new saddle horse.
Not many cowboy festivals are as consistent or as successful as Kamloops’, McMillan said. The first Kamloops Cowboy Festival was held at the Plaza Heritage Hotel in 1996. Former BCHS president Mike Puhallo, a Kamloops cowboy and poet, guided the festival to popularity through the years. Kamloops now hosts the largest and best festival of its kind in Canada.
Tickets were selling briskly a month before the March 17-20 event.
As McMillan points out, you don’t have to be a cowboy — or even like horses for that matter — to enjoy good old fashioned entertainment and humour, to enjoy the Festival. The trade show offers art, books, home decor, leather work, saddles for sale. There’s a juried western art show, too, featuring some of the best in western art.
Tickets are available at the Horse Barn in Kamloops or by phone toll free at: 1-888-763-2221. A weekend pass is $75, which allows admission to every event and activity except the dinner shows. An additional $30 brings a dinner theatre show ticket. Passes for one daytime admission including the evening show are only $35, and if you just want to check things out for the day it'll only cost you $20 at the door ($15 on Sunday and Cowboy Church is free).