20th annual Cowboy Festival in Kamloops

By Jessica Lepp
March 18, 2016 - 1:34pm Updated: March 18, 2016 - 5:45pm

KAMLOOPS — Some say the cowboy lifestyle is fading in British Columbia.

But those participating in the 20th annual Cowboy Festival in Kamloops strongly disagree.

In fact, Kamloops is actually considered to be a hot spot for many of the working cowboys.

For Ryan Fritz, a Saskatchewan rancher says, it's through his music that he shares his life as a cowboy.

While he admits he thought the lifestyle was dying off, Fritz says it's a resilient industry and hopes to keep it alive through his music.

Fritz says, “a lot of the people buying these bigger ranches seem apt to want to keep the tradition as well as keeping them financially viable.”

Promoting and preserving the cowboy heritage is exactly what this Cowboy festival aims to do with a full slate of weekend activities.

Mark McMillan is the Chair of the Kamloops Cowboy Festival and says, “obviously all the booths in the trade show are all geared toward the cowboy western lifestyle. The entertainment is cowboy singers and cowboy poets. They're preserving the stories of the working cowboy.”

McMillan says the Kamloops region is home to a number of working ranches.

“The biggest ranch in Canada is in Merritt, and there's some other huge ranches all around Kamloops. there's a lot of working cowboys still in existence.”

Savona rancher Cash Kerner says, “there's only maybe 5,6 or 7 big ranches in B.C. left, I mean big ranches. Never mind the small nes run by big ranches. Not many people are doing it any more.”

Kerner believes ranching is dwindling as the public gravitates to urban areas.

“I spend all day outside everyday, working my knives, riding my horses, and I'm not just getting by. i enjoy what I do, I love what I do actually.”

When he's not on his horse, Kerner can be found hand crafting these knives, one of many art forms that can be found at the festival.”

For a list of events and to purchase tickets you can contact the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society at 1-888-763-2221

Gordon Gore receives Meritorious Service Cross