Features & Stories
Articles By: Tammy Thielman

A Wedding in the West The Bride's Wearin' Boots! - You don't need to own the ranch to get wed western style. An appreciation for the country life and the western look is all you need. The ranch, charming chapel, horses and wagon can be rented. Four grass-roots locations in the North Okanagan and Nicola Valley will give your wedding a genuine country feel.

Armstrong Auctioneer Wins Canadian Title Valley Auction's Peter Raffan Top in Canada - Public speaking doesn't bother Peter Raffan. Every week, the award-winning auctioneer faces a wall of people, gathered to bid on an item or animal at Valley Auction, the busy Armstrong auction yard owned by the Raffan family.

Armstrong Cowboy Dances With Bulls Bullfighter Chad Vandermeer Looks Out for Bull Riders' Safety - "Cowboy safety is the number one priority of a rodeo bullfighter," says Chad Vandermeer, from the living room of his Armstrong home. For the last five years, Vandermeer has traveled to rodeos in B.C. and Alberta. "The bullfighter's first job is to keep the bull away from the bull rider. Second, we help the bull buck his best and perform for the crowd."

B.C. Teenager Ranches and Rides - Amanda Munsey, 18, Breaks Colts and Runs Farm Operation - FALKLAND "I was on a horse from the time I could sit," says Amanda Munsey. "I cried when my parents took me down." The gutsy 18-year-old breaks up to twenty young horses a year - a tough job usually reserved for seasoned cowboys. Amanda also owns several horses, and over 200 head of sheep with boyfriend, Dallas Fitchett, who grew up on a ranch in Vernon.

Bucking Tough Rodeo School Happens April 26-28 - Bucking Tough Saddle Bronc and Bareback Rodeo School happens April 26-28 at Riske Creek, near Williams Lake. Eddie Gentles, 89 CFR contestant and 5 time BCRA champion, along with David Reid, 11 times CFR qualifier, are the Saddle Bronc instructors.

Colour is HOT!! Colour Horses Surge in Popularity - Riders Find Paints, Pintos, and Appaloosas Unique and Exciting. Snow-capped rumps, blue eyes, spotted sides, splashes of colour - colored horses have risen in popularity over the last ten years. Paints, pintos, and appaloosas are admired for more than eye-catching coat patterns.

Horses Can't Resist This Trainer - Life-Long Horseman Ross Munsey Teaches Resistance-Free Training - "I grew up around young horses," says resistance-free trainer Ross Munsey of Salmon Valley. "When my Dad managed the Gang Ranch, I started all the horses." A soft-spoken, personable man, dressed in the faded shirt and jeans of a working cowboy, Ross is a third-generation rancher and horseman.

QUILCHENA RANCH - 1882 TO 2001 - Fifth Generation Lives and Works on 30,000 Acre - Nestled in the Nicola Valley, the heart of British Columbia's ranch country, is one of Western Canada's largest ranches, the 30,000 acre Quilchena Cattle Co. Ltd.

Smithers Cowboy Nels McIntrye Combines Family and Rodeo - Family comes first for bareback rider Nels McIntyre, 34, of Telkwa, near Smithers. The parent of three competes at only a dozen amateur rodeos every year. "Before I had a family, I went to about forty rodeos a year. I won a few cheques at pro rodeos."

Speed and Danger on Horseback - Loud dance music plays and the crowd roars. Rippling flags, flying manes, flashing sequins, and fast horses fill the rodeo arena. The Williams Lake Stampede Classics, performing another high-speed drill routine, get cheering spectators on the edge of their seats.

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