They Also Served
Percheron horses © Parks Canada
Canadian troops in WW1 © Simon Butler
Historically, the main focus on the Bar U Ranch was raising beef, but the horses were renowned. They were sold as stock horses after intensive on-the-job training or for heavy jobs. The Ranch provided purebred draft horse bloodlines from the largest Percheron operation of its kind in the world.
The year 2014 also marks the centennial of the start of First World War, which changed the face of the globe and life as it was known in southern Alberta. Whether working for the War effort or on the front lines, the life expectancy of a horse was measured in days.
The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is dedicating this season to the animals that served with their masters no matter what nationality.
Newcomers Shine at the Bar U
The 2013 Chore Horse Competition © Parks Canada
Top honours at the 2013 Chore Horse Competition went to exhibitors new to the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site and new to the Show Ring.
It was a close run thing but in the end the audience chose Justin Davis for the People’s Choice Award. Justin was guiding a pair of 8-year-old Percherons, Rod and Randy through the timed obstacle course. Justin, who hails from Cochrane, Alberta also brought his daughter Harley to help out.
Thanks to Alberta Carriage Supply for donating a set of eveners for the People’s Choice Award.
This year’s Junior Teamster Award went to a young lady from just west of Innisfail, Alberta. Jodi Graham drove Marty and Jack who have had a busy summer as they were part of Draft Horse Town at the Calgary Stampede.
This year’s overall winner found out about the event at the 2013 Calgary Stampede. Foss Irwin of Wetaskiwin took home the prize money and a silver buckle from Olsen’s Silver in High River, donated by the Longview Hotel. Foss drove a team of paints called Squirrel and Chief.
Dean Sundquist of Markerville, Alberta was second and Tom Christenson of Standard rounded out the winner’s field in third spot.
A big thank you to all of our volunteers and to judges Bill Smith of Calgary and Craig Bignell of Longview (who was playing at the Canadian Country Music Award ceremony in Edmonton the night before) for judging this year’s event.
Postponed Event Finds Success
The 2013 Old Time Ranch Rodeo © Parks Canada
One of the premier events at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site finally went ahead August 25 following a delay.
The Old Time Ranch Rodeo was originally scheduled for August 11 but was cancelled as arena conditions would not permit a performance.
The wet weather that had caused the devastating floods in southern Alberta in June continued to affect the foothills region into August.
Normally once a rodeo or similar big event is called off it's nearly impossible to bring all of the elements together for a second try. But thanks to efforts of volunteers, staff, livestock consignors, cowboys and the public it happened, and was as great a spectacle as it ever has been.
Here are the results from the 2013 Old Time Ranch Rodeo:
1st place - Meadow Springs - 39 points (placed in every event!)
(Tie for 2nd place: Circle S and Northfork Grazing - decided by footrace, won by Nolan Pharis from Northfork.)
2nd place - Northfork Grazing - 31 points
3rd place - Circle S
Top Hand Award: Tyler Sawley from Circle S Ranch.
Judges Dom Keimele and Tom Bews.
Agriculture Rocks: A Salute to the 4-H
4-H is one of Canada's longest-running organizations for youth aged between 8 and 21.
They celebrate their 100th anniversary this year and the Bar U Ranch is proud to showcase the agricultural leaders of tomorrow through "Agriculture Rocks".
4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health and the organization encourages youth to develop skills that will help enhance their community.
Participants are exposed to a wide variety of projects, from building websites to photography and animal care.
4-H demonstrations will happen at the Bar U Ranch throughout the season.
Last year Bar U Ranch helped the Calgary Stampede celebrate its centennial. Three of the 'Big Four' founders of the Stampede managed the Bar U at one time or another.
If you are a 4-H club interested in offering a display, please contact us.
A Work in Progress: The Root Cellar
The Root Cellar: "Belly of the Bar U" © Parks Canada
Gaze through the fence at the entrance to root cellar this summer as part of your visit to the Bar U Ranch.
The rest of the root cellar will be restored by the Mountain Parks Restoration at the end of the operating season. The root cellar is part of the “belly of the Bar U”, which also includes the cookhouse and garden. The cellar was complex with a network of passages and built in wood shelving.
The cellar stored food year-round for up to two dozen people. It may not seem a big deal to have a functioning root cellar, but consider that in the 1920s, there was no grocery store nearby, and Calgary was a couple of days away on horseback.
The root cellar was state of the art technology for root cellars, probably built in 1917 and used right through 1950.
Because it was built on level ground, it lasted longer than previous root cellars. C.E.Miller, most likely the construction foreman, and a cowboy known as Charlie, left his name on one of the stone walls.