Ken Fawcett – BC Cowboy Hall of Fame Ranching Pioneer

Ken Fawcett, Vanderhoof, BC Cowboy Hall of Fame Ranching Pioneer
Ken Fawcett, Vanderhoof, BC Cowboy Hall of Fame Ranching Pioneer

Vanderhoof and British Columbia Ranching Pioneer

Kenneth W. Fawcett, Vanderhoof, B.C. rancher, will be inducted into the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame as a Ranching Pioneer on Friday, March 16th at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival in Kamloops.

Ken was born in Vanderhoof on July 10, 1946 to Ken and Molly Fawcett.  He is the fourth child of fourteen children and the grandson of Bill (William) Fawcett who arrived in the Fort Fraser area in 1919.

Ken Fawcett’s ranching career began as a young man doing chores on the family ranch east of Vanderhoof, BC.  Too small to harness the team of horses to load the hay sleigh, Ken stood on the manger in order to reach – the word “can’t” has never been in his vocabulary.

Three generations of Fawcett’s manage the family’s 6,000-acre cattle ranch, purchased from Ken Sr. and Molly Fawcett as a half section in 1945, making it a fourth-generation working cattle ranch.

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Ken has been committed to growing a successful agricultural operation since he was a young boy.  He is a clear example of how being committed to a dream, hard work and adapting when needed over a lifetime can build a legacy for generations. With the support of family, the Fawcett family ranch continues to be the centre of Ken’s life and will always be his home.

A Family Man

Ken’s passion for horses and horse training skills were learned from his father Ken Sr. and grandfather “Wild” Billy Fawcett.  In turn, he has passed his skills down to his children and grandchildren.  In addition to skills and knowledge, Ken has, through demonstration, passed down important values.  A frequent expression, “Just ride the horse!” has become a life lesson on the importance of taking on circumstances and stepping up to every challenge.

Asked for the most memorable advice their Grandpa gave them, Ken’s grandchildren replied, “It is nice to be important but more important to be nice.”

Ken and wife Carolyn’s dedication to community has inspired their four daughters and sons-in-law and ten grandchildren and they are active in 4H, BC High School Rodeo and many other organizations.

Ken Fawcett, Vanderhoof, BC Branding Crew
Ken Fawcett, Vanderhoof, BC Branding Crew

In the Community

Ken and his team of horses have been a common site in Vanderhoof on cattle drives, sleigh rides and special occasions.

Ken’s father was the first paid member of Sinkut Mountain Cattlemen and Ken remains an active member.  Ken is one of the founding members of the Central Interior Feeders Association (CIFCA) and was instrumental in bringing the Bred Heifer Association to the area.  Ken is currently president of the BC Breeder and Feeder Organization.

Ken believes that everyone has something to contribute and is a strong advocate for young people getting involved in agriculture. He believes people learn by doing and shares his expertise during the annual School District #91 Project Agriculture program.  Project Agriculture provides exposure to NVSS students, allowing them to experience skills such as livestock handling, branding, castrating, vaccinating, roping and horseback riding.

Ken and his wife Carolyn are actively involved in Riverside Stables, organizing cutting, reining and training clinics as well as boarding horses.

Cattle Drives

Ken has been involved in cattle drives throughout his life and moving cattle is one of Ken’s favorite activities.  As a young man he rounded up cattle for Bob and Neal Erhorn, riding to their homestead and driving cattle often for a week at a time.

Ken Fawcett, Vanderhoof, BC River Ranch Cattle Drive 2016
Ken Fawcett, Vanderhoof, BC River Ranch Cattle Drive 2016

In 1993 and 1995 Ken and his brother Pat were trail bosses for the Rich Hobson Cattle Drive, a historical re-enactment of the cattle drives Rich Hobson and Pan Phillips did in order to bring their cattle to town to sell in the fall.

The Rich Hobson Cattle Drives began at the Fawcett ranch, continued to the Rim Rock Ranch and then back to the rodeo grounds in Vanderhoof.  To this day Ken still moves cattle on the same pastures that Rich Hobson and Pan Phillips grazed their herds.

Nowadays, Ken recruits his children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours when moving cattle and is quick to share his expertise.

Source: Nomination papers for BC Cowboy Hall of Fame