Bronc Busters and Hay Sloops: Ranching in the West in the Early 20th Century

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Heritage House Publishing Co, 2010 - History - 222 pages
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Bronc Busters and Hay Sloops tells the story of ranching in the West from the beginning of the Great War until 1960. Cowboy soldiers, bronc busters, First Nations, upper-crust Englishmen and the strong, capable women of ranching country . . . theirs are the stories told in this book. Some of these characters are larger than life, such as:

  • Joe Coutlee, cow boss of the Douglas Lake Ranch, whose booming voice gave him the nickname "Roaring Bill";
  • Grover Hance, who roped one of his men and tied him to a tree until he sobered up;
  • Florence "Bunch" Trudeau, whose pet moose got a little too big for comfort;
  • Ollie Matheson, one of the only women to ride in the Williams Lake Stampede's death-defying Mountain Race;
  • Anne Paxton, who tended cattle, guided big-game hunters, ran pack horses and a ranch;
  • Bill Arnold, who could ride "anything that wore hide."
Ken takes readers inside sprawling ranches, which were self-contained communities in themselves, and small family-run homesteads scratched out of the wilderness. Like his first book on ranching history, Buckaroos and Mudpups, this is an engaging look at fascinating times and the people who made them so.


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About the author (2010)

Ken Mather has been involved in researching, writing and interpreting western Canadian heritage for nearly four decades. He started out as a researcher for Fort Edmonton Park in 1973. In 1979, Ken moved to BC to work at Barkerville Historic Park; he became the park's curator in 1982. From 1984 until 2004 he was the manager/curator of the historic O'Keefe Ranch near Vernon, BC, where he developed his love of early cowboy history. Ken continues as the curator at the O'Keefe Ranch and lives with his wife, Debbie, near Armstrong, BC.

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