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Cowboy Festival celebrates B.C. history for long weekend in Vernon

Historic O’Keefe Ranch hosts 3-day event
Banjos, hay and hats will be prominent at the Cowboy Festival at O’Keefe Ranch Aug. 4-6. (Contributed)

O’Keefe Ranch has rounded up a weekend full of cowboy activities to mark the B.C. long weekend.

The historic ranch celebrates the annual Cowboy Festival, kicked off on Friday night with the popular Cowboy Dinner Show with a mix of music, drama, dinner and a whole lot more. The host for the popular event is well known cowboy and musician Rob Dinwoodie and his band Open Range.

“We are excited to be celebrating the cowboy and part of that is giving folks a first-hand experience of roping a steer (dummy), saddling a horse among other skills a real cowboy employs to do his/her job on the range,” said Dinwoodie.

Work up an appetite and when the dinner triangle rings it’s chow time with great cowboy viddles from Memphis Blues Restaurant. A stage show accompanies the dinner with music, cowboy poetry and a themed drama to keep B.C. cowboy history alive.

The evening ends with songs around the campfire, and that’s just the beginning of a fun weekend of the Cowboy Festival.

The Cowboy Dinner Show runs every Friday night in August.

Saturday morning starts off with a pancake breakfast served cowboy style with black coffee (sugar and cream are available).

Following breakfast is a kids rodeo where the contestants (kids under 12) will build their own bucking stick horses and be judged on how well their horse can buck.

“It’s a family affair and hope people take advantage of the opportunity to engage as a family,” said Greg Hurst, festival committee member.

Lee Poncelet, local horse trainer, will demonstrate cutting and roping off a horse in the outdoor arena at the ranch Saturday afternoon.

A cowboy concert with local cowboy singers and poets Butch Falk, Gordie West, Ken Mather and Jocelyn Winterburn entertains guests from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday evening.

The concert is followed by a hoe down where you can don your dancing boots as you learn how to square and line dance, a hit at last year’s festival.

Cowboy Church, Sunday morning, wraps up the weekend as Dinwoodie and band play some good old gospel music and share a short word, cowboy style.

Tickets for the Cowboy Dinner Show and Saturday night concert and Hoe Down are available at or 250-549-7469.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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