Nicola Valley attraction venues located in and around the City of Merritt, BC, Canada.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association

Merritt BC Canada 2019 Rodeo

Merritt BC Canada Rodeo event in 2019.

2019 Nicola Valley Rodeo Association in Merritt BC Canada. Merritt rodeo grounds and venue were built and, for more than half a century, run by the Nicola Valley Rodeo Association. The grassland expanses of the Nicola Valley are home to some of British Columbia’s oldest ranches. They and five First Nations communities centred around the Merritt community form the foundation of the ranching and rodeo heritage of the Nicola Valley.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association

To Illustrate this 2-day celebration of Western Heritage gives locals and brings people together from around the world.

People from Scotland, Australia, USA, as well from all across Canada attended this annual event.

Merritt BC Cowboys

Event Team Ropers warming up.

Furthermore all Livestock are well look after. Only the best for their partners.

In reality I have heard that the livestock have 5 star treatment compared to some of the two legged competitors.

Merritt Nicola Valley Rodeo Association

Clint Buhler Team Roper along with “Snowman”.

“As a result of hard determination and skill Team roping: Clint Buhler/Chase Simpson, 5.3, Putting them in 5th place.”

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Looking good on a horse is the easy part. Roping takes practice & dedication.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association Sponsors

Together with all the amazing competitors there are the sponsors.  With out

Young cowboy at the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Future “Cowboy?”

their help and dedication we may not have this attraction in Merritt. Given that Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo sponsors will be included in many of the photo’s.

 

Furthermore the Merritt Rodeo Grounds host a wide range of events including ranch rodeos, youth rodeos, barrel racing, other equestrian events and clinics through out the year.

Consequently July 26-28 2019 The Canadian High School Rodeo Finals was held at the Nicola Valley rodeo grounds in Merritt BC as well.

Young admirer at the Merritt Rodeo

The clothes do not make the cowgirl, it’s the attitude and heart.

Speaking about team work. There would be no rodeo without the countless volunteers who are passionate about preserving the uniqueness of Merritt’s Pro Rodeo. Recognizing all its western history and culture within the surrounding ranching communities.

Without their dedication, long hours and sometimes health risks Nicola Valley’s Pro Rodeo may ride away into the sunset. A huge cheer to rodeo co-chair Mary MacGregor and fellow co-chair Peter Spencer.

Clowns save lives at Nicola valley Rodeo

Thank you to the Bullfighting clowns!

Clowning around at Merritt rodeo

Taking risks to help “Bull” rider!

All fun and games.

Important to realize that rodeo clowns are there to entertain the crowd. While barrelmen tag-team with bullfighters to distract the bulls after each ride. Allowing the cowboy to safely exit the arena. Around since the 1930’s, the job of a barrelmen and rodeo clown is no easy feat and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Nothing funny about being a clown

Always a Clown! • Ogilvie Mtn Holdings LP

Furthermore these beautiful horses are truly stars in their own right.

Horses are mans best friend at the rodeo

Rodeo Sponsor • Jamie Payton Movie Horses

Not to mention Merritt Rodeo features the finest animal athletes in North America.

“When nothings going right, Go left”

Timing is critical. From a standstill, a rider will put his horse into a gallop from the box shortly after the calf leaves the chute,

Calf Roping

The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by tying three legs together, in as short a time as possible.

 

All “Cowboys” take pride in the speed in which they rope and tie calves.

Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping event.

 

Some of the best cowgirls and cowboys from across Canada and the U.S. competing at the Nicola Valley Rodeo Association’s event.

To say nothing of the great weather for the 61st annual Merritt Pro Rodeo over the Labour Day long weekend. Guaranteed there wasn’t a shortage of live excitement.

“Courage is being scared to death, but still saddling up anyway”

Proudly, endorsed by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and the American Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

 

All 4 off the ground, n still hanging in!

Although you may not recognize a performer’s name during an event, this doesn’t take away the intensity of watching and taking in all the excitement.

“If you haven’t fallen off a horse…then you haven’t been ridin’ long enough”. Coolnsmart : Hillbillie Deluxe on December 7, 2013

Bruised and battered bodies are the norm for any “Cowgirl” n “Cowboy”.

If this was easy, everyone would do it! • Copper Valley Mechanical Contractors Ltd.

Truly exciting to watch up-coming Rodeo Star’s!

Equally important are the Merritt Little Britches which was held June 14-16 this year at Nicola Valley’s Rodeo grounds. A place for young cowboys and cowgirls to get a start in the sport of rodeo is with the British Columbia Little Britches Rodeo Association

Tanya Stars.

A non-profit organization, the BC Little Britches Rodeo Association along with local rodeo clubs throughout the province host rodeos throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Barrel Racer’s start young! • Purity Feed Ltd.

Young barrel racer!

Barrel racing.

“Anyone who never fails is someone who never tries.” Unknown

Additionally Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by grabbing its horns and pulling it off-balance so that it falls to the ground.

Git er down! • Nicola Post & Rail Ltd.

Furthermore this event carries a high risk of injury to the cowboy.

Dig down!

Barrel Racing!

Barrel Racing officially started in 1928 when it became the first sport for women on horseback. This skill is easily overlooked. A speed event involving a horse, along with its rider, galloping and making agile turns around three barrels placed in a triangular fashion.

Rider must control the horse’s speed at the right moment to enter the “pocket”

The racer enters the arena at top speed and with great skill circles all 3 barrels.

“3 Turns, 2 Hearts, 1 Soul”

Steering as close to the barrels as they can. Precious seconds.

Racers enter the arena at full speed and try to circle the three barrels as quickly as they can.

Equally the horse must be fairly aggressive, and the rider should be in command throughout.

“If you ain’t afraid of the speed, you ain’t going fast enough”. Cowgirltimes

 

Tighter the turn.

Especially a highlight of the Rodeo is the “Bull” riding event.

Bull riding is a rodeo sport that involves a rider getting on a bucking bull and attempting to stay on while being bucked off. Notably recognized as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports”.

“Brace your backbone and forget your wishbone.” Bull riding sayings

To receive a score, the rider must stay atop the bull for 8 seconds with the use of one hand gripped on a bull rope tied behind the bull’s forelegs.

“Bull riding is probably the most dangerous sport in the world in terms of head injuries.” Jonathan Gottschall

Hanging on! • The Grand Pub and Grill

Don not try this at home! • Steffens Family in memory of Jim Steffens

Touching the bull or themselves with the free hand, or failing to reach the eight-second mark, results in a no-score ride.

“Sometimes I think life is just a rodeo, the trick is to ride and make it to the bell.”

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.”

Each bull has a unique name and number.

Keep Calm and Hold On

Still holding on. • Norgaard Ready-Mix Ltd.

Bucking, rearing, kicking, spinning, along with twisting.

Amazingly after all the bucks, kicks, spins and twists that continues for 8 seconds. The buzzer signals the end of the ride.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Sponsor • Best Western Plus

“A good old rodeo never hurt anyone.”

Merritt Pro Rodeo Sponsor • Infracon

Certainly a trick used by bull riders and bareback riders from being bucked is to use tar or resin on the hand they hold onto the rigging.

Nicola Valley Rodeo bumps and bruises

Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away. Arthur Helps. Bull riding quotes

“Cliff Williamson is the only contestant to compete in the CFR for 29 years. Williamson is a five-time Canadian champion in tie-down roping and was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2002.” Edmonton Journal

Bull riding Nicola Valley Rodeo

“Never corner something meaner then you.”

Ouch that hurts. Nicola Valley Rodeo

8 seconds is a long time! Sponsors • Ellis Livestock Company

Bull riding: 1. Jackson Scott (Kamloops, BC) 88 points on Northcott-Macza’s B60 Lap Dance.

Cowboy and bull trying to get along

Sponsors • Valley Carriers Ltd.

“Relationships are kind of like riding a bull. You hang on for dear life and sometimes you get a little buck here and there but you get back on.” Unknown

A great turnout at the 61st annual Merritt Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo.

Full house at the Nicola Valley Rodeo event

The bleachers are packed! • Western Livestock Marketing Solutions Inc.

New this year Rodeo 101 Behind the Chutes Stock Tour.

Rodeo 101 spectator, athlete involvement, stock tours along with children’s activities.

Merritt Bull Riding

Bronc riding like my Pa!

Nicola Valley Rodeo Saddle lessons

Learning how to saddle a horse.

Learning the ropes. Infracon

Additionally along with the “Instant Replay” scoreboard makes it easier to keep track of all events.

And with this new re-vamped “Rodeo Saloon” one can truly enjoy a cold one.

Beer at Nicola Valley Rodeo

What’s a Rodeo without a Saloon!

Rodeo and ice cream

A cold refreshing ice-cream, what better way to cool off! • Prairie Coast Equipment

As Can Be Seen

Above all since its establishment in 1958 Nicola Valley’s Rodeo Legacy continues on Labour Day weekend. A annual event that brings people from across Canada, USA, Scotland, Australia, Britain, and importantly local Merritt residents.  Truly a spectators sport watching these athletes perform at their best.

I love a great “Rodeo”, and this is one of the best!” Tanya Stewart, Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Feel free to read my previous story about the lead up to the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo Event.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association In Merritt

Merritt BC Canada 2019 Rodeo

Canadian Country Music Singer – Ian Tyson

Merritt BC Canada Murals

A Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
Inductee

Ian Tyson Canadian Country Music Singer Pioneer – Five Decades Plus

Canadian Country Music Singer Pioneer Ian Tyson walks with a stiff-legged cowboy gait to the centre of the stage. A preamble to his performance. The walk is an illustration, of what being a cowboy is all about. Falls off horses, bruises, broken bones as well as a reminder that, the cowboy life is not the glamour of the old western movies. Just listen to some of the great recordings performed by Ian Tyson.  An artist who has become a pioneer icon — a timeless singer with a bruised voice who tells stories with the unvarnished luster of truth.

For one thing, Ian Tyson is  an Internationally acclaimed Canadian Country SingerSongwriter Pioneer. He has created some of Alberta’s and Canada’s most enduring standards, not to mention a career spanning over five decades. His music has inspired such renowned artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. Consequently, over the years, Tyson has continued to create music that captures life in the west through vivid descriptions of Alberta and cowboy culture. Not to mention, a leading spokesman for western pride including helping establish a unique soundtrack to capture the Alberta experience.

Victoria British Columbia – 1933

Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1933, the second child of George and Margaret Tyson, Ian grew up in Duncan, BC. His Father, who immigrated from England in 1906 owned a small farm. Ian learned how to ride horses on this farm.

Ian Tyson - Experience Nicola valley

Cowboy Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds

Beginning And End of Rodeo Career

He left home as a teenager,  for southern Alberta where he followed and competed in the Rodeo Circuit. A foot injury put him in the Calgary hospital. It was while recovering that he learned how to play the guitar.

The Musical Journey Begins Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

He made his singing debut at the Heidelberg Café in Vancouver in 1956 as well as  played with a rock and roll band, The Sensational Stripes. After graduating from the Vancouver School of Art in 1958, Tyson made his way to Toronto to pursue a music Career.

It was during the 60’s folk boom that he met singer/songwriter Sylvia Fricker. As a result, they formed the duo “Ian and Sylvia. On the positive side, as Ian & Sylvia, they were the Canadian stars of the early ’60s folk boom. “Ian and Sylvia” enjoyed great success. They were playing all over the country receiving rave reviews and playing to sold-out crowds. One of their high lights was playing New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The duo married in 1964. Forming what was to become one of the most influential country acts in the industry, both in Canada and abroad. They recorded over a dozen timeless albums as well as wrote some of Canada’s best-loved songs, including Ian’s “Four Strong Winds” as well as “Someday Soon”  including Sylvia’s “You Were on My Mind”. All things considered, some of the most famous artists of our times have covered these songs countless times.

Ian Tyson - Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson

Four Strong Winds

It was during this time that Four Strong Winds was released. The title track became an instant hit. Over 50 versions were recorded in the first five years after its release. It has remained a folk standard. Neil Young recorded Four Strong Winds in 1979.  “It is the most beautiful song, I have ever heard in my life.” Johnny Cash recorded the song, shortly before his death. He included the song on his posthumous album released in 2006. The song has also become an Alberta standard. A 2005 radio listener’s poll named Four Strong Winds the greatest Canadian song of the 20th century. (Alberta Order Of Excellence)

During the British Invasion

Ian and Sylvia evolved into pioneers of country-rock during the British Invasion.. Their band, Great Speckled Bird, rivaled the Byrds and other groups which helped create modern country, a decade before the Urban Cowboy phase of contemporary “new traditionalists”.

Ian Tyson Singer and Songwriter

Ian Tyson Show

Television Years

Ian and Sylvia formed the iconic country rock band “Great Speckled Bird”. At the same time, Tyson hosted the national Canadian television music show, “Nashville North.” The show was later renamed “The Ian Tyson Show” from 1970 to 1975. Sylvia Tyson and the Great Speckled Bird appeared often on the series.

Back To Ranching

After hosting television music show from 1970 to 1975, the music and marriage of Ian and Sylvia had ended. It was now or never. Disillusioned with the Canadian country music scene. Tyson realized the time had come to return to his first love – training horses in the ranch country of southern Alberta. He once again made Alberta his home, settling in Pincher Creek where he began ranching and living the life about which he was so proud to write and sing.

Cowboy Ian Tyson from Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson Esplanade

The Time Of Country And Cowboy Music

“It was a kind of a musical Christmas card for my friends” he recalls. “We weren’t looking for a ‘hit’ or radio play or anything like that.”

In 1980, Tyson met Calgary music manager and producer Neil MacGonigill. In  1983. After three years, in spite of working his ranch, Tyson decided to concentrate on music. To begin with, the album Old Corrals & Sagebrush, a mixture of traditional cowboy songs and new western music, was well received.

On the other hand he found it a challenge to combine his two separate lives in new songs that explained the reality of “western culture” and the mindset of a cowboy in a sometimes-alien world. His breakthrough album, 1986′s Cowboyography, earned platinum status in Canada, as well as earned him his first JUNO Award.

All of a sudden, the cowboy renaissance was about to find expression at the inaugural Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1983. To put it another way a small coterie of saddle makers, rawhide braiders, cowboy poets and pickers came together in a small cow town in northern Nevada. Not only was he invited to perform his “new western music” at the gathering, as well as,  Tyson has missed only one or two gatherings in the 30-plus years since.

The 1987 album Cowboyography contained two songs that were later chosen by the Western Writers of America as among the Top 100 Western Songs of all time: “Navajo Rug” and “Summer Wages”.[36]

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

On The Road

As soon as Tyson’s music became popular, he began traveling and performing at concerts across North America. At the same time a busy Tyson stayed true to his roots. Maintaining Alberta as his home as well as working on his ranch in Pincher Creek. As a matter of fact the gravel road that runs from his present ranch in the foothills of the Rockies is the inspiration for Tyson’s 2005 album, “Songs from the Gravel Road”. As a result, by releasing this album at the age of 71, Tyson has shown that an active cowboy life keeps his creative pulse beating. Not to mention, his discography remains an enduring collection of Canadian classics.

Ian Tyson Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson Celebrating 50 Years Of Music

Inductions And Awards Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

Canadian Country Music Association 
Male Vocalist of the Year 1987
Single of the Year – Navajo Rug  1987
Album of the Year – Cowboyography 1987
Vocalist of the Year (Male) 1988
Induction into Canadian Country Music Hall of Honor 1989
Video of the Year – Springtime in Alberta 1991

Juno Awards 
Country Male Vocalist of the Year 1987
Inducted into Juno Hall of Fame (with Sylvia Tyson) 1992

 Big Country Awards

 Outstanding Performance (male) 1975
Best Country Album – Ol’Eon/A&M Records 1975
Top Country TV Show – The Ian Tyson Show 1975
Artist of the Year 1988
Top Male Vocalist1988
Album (Best)- Cowboyography 1988

Country Music Association of Calgary

Male Vocalist of the Year 1989
Alberta Song of the Year – Fifty Years Ago 1989
Top Alberta Single of the Year – Fifty Years Ago 1989
Favorite Calgary and Area Country Entertainer 1989

Miscellaneous

Four Strong Winds named All Time Favorite Canadian Country Songs 1988

Readers Poll – COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS
Finalist, World Championship Cutting Horse Futurity, Fort Worth, TX 1989
INDUCTION Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame 1989

Country Music Association of Calgary 1989

 – Alberta Male Vocalist of the Year
– Top Alberta Single of the Year (Fifty Years Ago)
–  Song of the Year (Fifty Years Ago)
– Harcourt, Calgary and Area Country Entertainer

More Awards

 Song of the West Reader’s Poll for Best Album of the Year: “And Stood There Amazed” 1991
First Male Country Vocalist to Achieve Two Gold Albums in Canada 1992
ASCAP Country Award (Someday Soon) 1992
Honorary Dr. of Athabasca University 1993
RECIPIENT- Order of Canada 1995
Prairie Music Awards – Outstanding Country Recording (Lost Herd) 1999
American Cowboy Culture Awards – Western Music Award 2000
Strong Winds voted Canada’s No. 1 song of the 20th Century 2000
Prairie Music Hall of Fame 2001
Honorary Dr. of Law – University of Calgary 2001
Western Heritage Wrangler Award – Outstanding Original Western Composition for “Bob Fudge” 2002

Governor General’s Performance Arts Award 2003

BCCMA Hall of Fame 2006
Alberta Order of Excellence 2006
Mariposa Folk Festival Hall of Fame 2006
CBC Radio Listeners’ Poll declares Four Strong Winds the Number One Canadian song of the 20th Century 2006
Honorary Dr. of Letters – Thompson Rivers University 2007
ASCAP Citation of Excellence 2008
Western Music Hall of Fame 2008
Western Horseman Magazine’s Horseman of the Year Award 2009
Resonance Award – presented by Canadian Museum of Civilization for a lifetime’s contribution to Canadian music. 2009
First Recipient of the Charles Russell Heritage Award (C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT) 2010
The Diamond Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the 60th anniversary of her reign.  2012
Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) – University of Lethbridge  2015
Fellowship, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB  2015
Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) – Hall Of Fame 2017

Songs from the Gravel Road TV Documentary

• 2011 – Bronze Medal – 54th New York Festival’s International Television & Film Awards 2011
• 2011 – Gold Remi Award – Best TV Documentary – 44th Houston Independent Film 2011
 
Alberta Recording Industry Association

Male Performer of the Year 1987
Country Artist of the Year 1987
Song of the Year – Navajo Rug 1987
Album of the Year – Cowboyography 1987
Single of the Year 1988
Best Country Artist on Record 1988
Male Recording Artist of the Year 1988
Composer of the Year 1989
Performer of the Year 1989

Some Top Honors

Ian was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Honor and Hall of Fame in 1989. To the Juno Hall of Fame in 1992, the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2000, as well as the Prairie Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Ian Tyson was inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame in 2006.

Tyson  holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Calgary and Athabasca University. He became a member of the Order of Canada in 1994.

Tyson became a recipient of the Order of Canada in October 1994. In 2005 CBC Radio One listeners chose his song, ‘Four Strong Winds’ as the greatest Canadian song of all time, during a radio series titled “50 Tracks: The Canadian Version”. (Biography)

He was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2006 as well as 2003 including receiving a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

Connecting With People

“Tyson said, “I made it a point to reach as many people as possible through my music, including people not directly from the ranch culture.” (Ian Tyson)

As a matter of fact, Ian’s goal has been to write songs to which different people could all relate. Not only but also the popularity and longevity of his many albums, along with the awards and recognition that followed, are proof that Tyson has been able to achieve that goal.

Ian Tyson tells the story of rural Alberta and today’s West, above all through his music. He reveals the challenges of a rancher’s life, the beauty of the Rockies as well as the cowboy’s strong work ethic.

Ranching with Ian Tyson

The cowboy Ian Tyson

Passion, Talent and Inspiration Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

As has been noted the path of Tyson’s career serves as a model for Canadian musicians starting out in the industry today. In short, his dedication to music and his style is firmly recognized. By always focusing on his home as well as his passions. Tyson serves as a mentor for new artists, such as Albertan Corb Lund.

In addition Tyson has used his skill and passion for music to benefit the community. To emphasize, performing at fundraising concerts across Alberta, Canada and internationally to raise awareness of and support for many causes. In particular, including child safety and education. As a compassionate rancher and environmentalist, Tyson has also joined his fellow Southern Albertans in work to preserve the natural landscape of rural Alberta.

 Corb Lund and his idle Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson and Corb Lund

Life Challenges

“I fought the sound system and I lost” (Ian Tyson)

Life has not been without its difficulties, however. In 2006, he seriously damaged his voice after a particularly tough performance at an outdoor country music festival.  As a result,  a virus that took months to pass, his smooth voice now hoarse, grainy, had lost much of its resonant bottom end. Generally speaking, after briefly entertaining thoughts that he would never sing again, he began relearning and reworking his songs to accommodate his “new voice.” To his surprise, audiences now paid attention as he half-spoke, half-sung familiar words, which seemed to reveal new depths for his listeners. (Biography)

Songs with Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson

Summary of a 63 year Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

Ian Tyson is now 84 years old. He’s still going strong. Still touring, recording, as well as running the Tyson ranch in Pincher Creek, Alberta Canada. At the same time continuing to writing about love, horses, and the landscape he loves. He released his most recent single “You Should Have Known” in September 2017 on Stony Plain Records, the label that Tyson’s released fifteen albums with since the ‘80s. The song unapologetically celebrates the hard living, hard drinking, hard loving cowboy life and joins his favorites hits such as “Four Strong Winds,” “Someday Soon,” “Summer Wages” and more. (Biography)

“Your Eighties Is Not A Time For Sissies” (Ian Tyson)

Tyson doesn’t look backwards at six decades plus of a career that’s earned him countless awards, the Order of Canada, and a devoted following. He faces the audience, as he faces the future, with a mixture of optimism and resignation. Your eighties, Tyson tells people, is not a time for sissies.

An announcement in July 2019 stated that Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They will be inducted individually, not as a duo. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article stated that “the duo’s 1964’s hit, Four Strong Winds, has been deemed one of the most influential songs in Canadian history”.

Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson

Canadian Country Singer Pioneer – Ian Tyson A Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee On The Downtown Merritt BC, Canada Mural Walk

Performing at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2005, and returning to Merritt BC Canada in 2010, to perform and support the Walk Of Stars as well as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Galas. Ian Tyson earned his spot on the wall. The mural of Ian Tyson can be found on the back of the stage in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite and Voght Street.

Ian Tyson – Canadian Country Singer Pioneer Plays The Infamous Merritt Mountain Music Festival

The crowd was gathered in the white lawn chairs in the VIP section right in front of the stage. They were waiting in anticipation for the “One of A Kind – Authentic and Durable Headliner for the night Ian Tyson.”

Backstage. Tyson runs through the vocal warm up routine he’s done numerous times throughout his five-decade career. He stretches his arms and legs. And then his vocal cords. He tunes his guitar and then saunters to the stage.

Taking the stage, he starts singing his songs about the west. His voice picks out just the right notes as his fingers pick out the chords. This isn’t honky-tonk over-produced country and western twang. We were getting real ballads about places and legends, and a world that is slowly vanishing.

Like most Ian Tyson shows the evening was closed out to a roaring crowd with “Four Strong Winds.” For a true Ian Tyson Fan this is the song to wait for.

 

 

Ian Tyson Canadian Country Singer Pioneer Headlines The 7th Annual Walk Of Stars Gala

The seventh annual Merritt Walk of Stars (MWOS) gala, a fundraiser for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, kicked off with a free show in Spirit Square, from some top names in the industry.  It was followed by a world-class concert that night at the Civic Centre where Ian Tyson was The Headliner.

When Tyson finally raised his white cowboy hat and waved to fans, it was to an enthusiastic, well-earned standing ovation.

Tyson performed in the afternoon as well as signed his mural painted by Michelle Loughery during the day at Spirit Square. The public were invited to meet him as well as the rest of the performers. Fans were able to see the artists on stage, get autographs, and get right up close with them.

“These murals are a great way for visitors to walk the downtown area. We enjoyed our visit, stopped at a few shops, and bought a souvenir too… Nice small town touch”. (Don H Kirkland Washington)

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Merritt Attractions – Take The Walk

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merritt, BC Mural Walk. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Hall of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists.

True country music fans will want to start the downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

“It is important for Merritt to continue to grow as the Country Music Capital of Canada.” (Ron Sanders President: Country Music Hall Of Fame)

Walk Of Stars Hand Prints

In addition, while on your mural tour, visit the many handprints of country artists situated throughout the town.

Hundred’s of International Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival. As a result, those stars  left their mark permanently, by placing their handprints (or, in one case, footprints) and signatures in concrete stars. As a result, in 2003, those stars became the basis for the Merritt Walk of Stars. In addition, by 2005 more than 100 bronzed stars, created from the concrete impressions, were displayed throughout the community. (Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame)

Above all, the handprints will continue to grow with the Rockin River Music Fest, and add to the existing legacy of the stars that have visited and performed in Merritt, BC.

“If you love Country Music…. All over the downtown area are painted murals of Country Music Stars. Also on the sidewalks are plaques of Country Music stars who have apparently visited and played in Merritt. A worthwhile walk around the town to see.” (Melody K. Montana USA)

Discover and experience the natural beauty and attractions in Merritt and the Nicola Valley!

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Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee On The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon – Where and How It All Began

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Academy Award winner Buffy Sainte-Marie’s audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over five decades. Buffy Sainte-Marie is truly a Country Music Icon.

Buffy was born Beverly Sainte-Marie on Feb. 20, 1941, on the Piapot Cree First Nation reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Sask.

After the sudden deaths of both of her parents, Beverly was adopted by family relatives, Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were part Mi’kmaq.

Reserved as a child Sainte-Marie spent much of her childhood hiking through the woods writing poetry. She taught herself to play piano at age 3 and began setting her poems to music at the age of four.

“As a little kid when I was three, I discovered a piano and I found out it made noise and I was fascinated and taught myself how to do what I wanted to do on it.” (Buffy Sainte Marie)

Buffy Saint-Marie and Experience Nicola Valley blogger Melvina White / Painted by Michelle Loughery

The Piano and Guitar

Once she discovered a piano and found out it made noise, it fascinated her. Teaching herself how to do what she wanted to do on it. She could play fake Beethoven, as well as do other things with strange chords that other people didn’t use but she liked.

At 16, she taught herself guitar which would become her instrument of choice. Ultimately inventing 32 different ways of tuning the instrument, creating sounds and techniques completely unique to her music.

Buffy was so inquisitive that she would even take apart the vacuum cleaner and try to create her own headphones, by hooking its tubes to the broken record player.

Sainte-Marie majored in teaching as well as Oriental Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1959. Graduating in the top ten of her class in 1963.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Music Hall of Fame

The Search For Heritage

Buffy’s teen years were difficult. Although her adoptive mother was half Mi’kmaq Indian. Buffy grew up knowing little about Indian history or about her own people. In her mid teens, she  began researching her Indigenous heritage. She took a trip to the Piapot Reserve in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle River Valley, to learn more about the Cree firsthand.

“In 1964, on a return trip to the Piapot Cree reserve in Canada for a powwow, she was welcomed and (in a Cree Nation context) adopted by the youngest son of Chief Piapot, Emile Piapot and his wife, Clara Starblanket Piapot, who added to Sainte-Marie’s cultural value and place in native culture.” – Wikipedia

The warm welcome she received from her Cree relatives left her with a deep impression. She discovered a greater sense of security as well as a community better than she had ever known.

 New Music Experiences

“My teachers told me music was lines and notes and paper”

My teachers told me music was lines and notes and paper. I never disagreed with them. I just learned to keep my head down and avoid conflict. Then I’d go home and play my own fake-classical music.”

Sainte Marie started playing songs for the girls in her dorm as well as her housemother Theresa de Kerpely, who was from Europe. Theresa encouraged me to listen to singers from other countries.

So, from the start of playing for other people, I was absorbing and reflecting, on a very wide world culture. International students at the university were a big influence on me.”

New York City

Sainte-Marie’s friends encouraged her to perform publicly and eventually she found herself in New York City in the early days of the counterculture movement. She tried her hand at song writing and began singing in coffeehouses in Greenwich Village. As a result Bob Dylan heard her sing and urged her to perform at the Gaslight, a famed folkie hangout..

 It wasn’t long and she was playing around the world at folk festivals, coffee houses, concert venues and in fact Indigenous communities. Buffy Sainte – Marie was becoming a country icon

She was already performing “Universal Soldier” in these coffeehouses in 1963, but she was banned from singing it on the radio and TV. Donovan would make it a huge hit and help it crossover into the mainstream in 1965. (Andrea Warner)

Buffy developed bronchial pneumonia and almost ruined her voice. While recovering from the infection, she became addicted to codeine. On the other hand her subsequent struggle to get clean became the basis for her song, “Cod’ine.”

Sainte-Marie’s first record, It’s My Way!, was released in 1964.

The album included “Universal Soldier.” A song that is about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all.”  The song was popular becoming  a peace anthem with the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Songs Singing A Statement

“I wasn’t concentrating on myself as a singer.” “I probably should have been concentrating more.” “Later on, I learned to sing.”

Sainte-Marie doesn’t sugar coat the truth, nor does she shy away from hard realities. The songs that she was writing, she thought people should hear, but also deserved to hear. Buffy  knew she was reflecting some points of view that weren’t being verbalized. But they were being felt by fellow students.  Titles included topics about Native American stuff. As well as love songs with more feeling and depth than just ‘I’m going to die if I don’t get you in bed tonight.

At the time, she didn’t consider herself much of a singer, but audiences loved her. Billboard even named Sainte-Marie the best new artist of 1964. The songs were the source of her confidence. Buffy Sainte – Marie was a country icon.

Buffy didn’t think she was much of a singer. Although this may be true, it was  because of the songs, and their statements, she had the nerve to step out onto a stage and sing the people the songs.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Singing

Sudden Fame Overwhelming For Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

The sudden fame was overwhelming for Buffy.  She went to Spain to spend three months alone. She didn’t tell anyone, not even her manager. He found out where she was when he got her bills for the tickets.

Since her ground-breaking debut, It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter was a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disrupt or of the status quo. This was a much needed get your head on straight break for Buffy. When she got back it was full steam ahead with no signs of slowing down.

The End of The 60’s Era

“I wanted to give people Indian 101 in six minutes.”

In 1965, she released her second record, Many a Mile. It featured the commercial hit, Until It’s Time for You to Go. The song became a big hit for Elvis Presley in the early 70s. As a matter of fact. More than 200 artists ultimately covered the song. (Including Cher, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand and others) in 16 languages.

Sainte-Marie’s third album, 1966′s “Little Wheel Spin and Spin”, indicated the future direction of her music. Little Wheel made room for the electric guitar as well as some string arrangements, and it became her first album to reach the Billboard Top 100 Pop Charts, peaking at 97.(Andrea Warner)

It also features the heartbreaking song. “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying”. I wanted to give people Indian 101 in six minutes.”  It’s a long song. But Indian 101 has never been presented to the North American public, let alone anywhere else.”(Andrea Warner)

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1967 Features

 1967’s Fire & Fleet & Candlelight.  Sainte-Marie’s fourth record, featured a full rock band. Not only with orchestration but also  two covers of Joni Mitchell songs, including “The Circle Game.”

In fact, Sainte-Marie helped Joni Mitchell get her break: “Joni also came from Saskatchewan and was being ignored by the folk bosses who ran the record companies.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1968 Hi Light’s

Later that same year, Billboard labeled Sainte-Marie the patron saint of “non-hippy hipsters,” based on her show at the Philharmonic, where she received a 10-minute standing ovation from the crowd.

“Chet told me that one time somebody asked him if he could read music and his answer was, ‘Not enough to hurt my playing.”I loved that! It always stuck with me and gave me the confidence to know that my way of playing music is okay.” (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Chet Atkins)

Sainte-Marie worked with acclaimed country musician and producer Chet Atkins. For her fifth album, in 1968 “I’m Gonna Be a Country Girl Again”. She has talked  a little about their friendship and how they bonded over playing and writing by ear rather than reading music.

Buffy Sainte-Marie and Chet Atkins – Nashville Airport 1968

That year, Sainte-Marie was asked to appear on an episode of the TV western, the Virginian. In the write-up of Sainte-Marie’s biography, It’s My Way!, she made two demands when director Leo Penn, (Sean Penn’s father) came calling:

“First, she insisted that the studio cast Native actors for all the Indian parts (‘No Indians, no Buffy’). She also advocated that the writers bring complexity to her own role. She told them, ‘[I’m] not interested in playing Pocahontas.'” (Buffy Sainte-Marie)/Leo Penn)

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon The Close of 1969

“At a certain point, I realized that I was too early with some songs. Other times, I was right on time.” (Buffy Sainte-Marie)

1969’s Illuminations was wildly experimental, electronic and a huge flop. But it was also totally ahead of its time.

 “It wasn’t until many years later that [1969’s synth-heavy] Illuminations was named ‘one of the albums that set the world on fire’ [by The Wire magazine].

The album also featured her beautiful collaboration with fellow Canadian, Leonard Cohen, in which she set his poem, “God is Alive Magic is Afoot,” to music.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1970’s Era Of Movies and TV Soundtracks

Sainte-Marie started getting more involved with movie and TV soundtracks. 1970’s Performance is a super weird little film starring Mick Jagger, with music by Jack Nitzche (Sainte-Marie’s future collaborator and husband). This  tune from Performance features Sainte-Marie and Ry Cooder.

“The Circle Game”, Joni Mitchell’s cover was in the opening credits, of the 1970 film. “The Strawberry Statement”, about the counterculture and student protests of the ’60s.

Buffy wrote the title song in 1970 for the film Soldier Blue, which depicted the brutal slaughter of the Cheyenne village by Colorado State Militia.

Sesame Street

In late 1975, Sainte-Marie was asked to guest star on Sesame Street. At first she said, she had no interest in doing a children’s TV show, but reconsidered after asking “Have you done any Native American programming?” She ended up, appearing regularly on Sesame Street from 1976 to 1981.

“Indians still exist”. “We are not all dead and stuffed in museums like the dinosaurs. With the help of Big Bird and Oscar and friends, we put out this simple message of reality three times a day to the children of 73 countries of the world, providing them with positive realities, before racism and stereotyping ever had a chance to set in.” (Buffy Sainte Marie”)

Dulcey Singer, the producer wanted her to count and recite the alphabet. Of course Buffy had her own idea and  wanted to teach the show’s young viewers that, “Indians Still Exist”.  She regularly appeared on Sesame Street over a five-year period, breastfeeding her first son, Dakota “Cody” Starblanket Wolfchild, during a 1977 episode. As a matter of fact, it was the first representation of breastfeeding, ever aired on television. Sesame Street even aired a week of shows from her home in Hawaii in January 1978.

Buffy Sesame Street Breast Feeding

The Albums Continue Throughout the 1970’s

Sainte-Marie’s record label put significant pressure on her to do something more commercially viable for her seventh album. Because Illuminations tanked so bad financially. She released “She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina”, in 1971.

Sainte-Marie released enough records between 1964 and 1969 that  she had enough material for her first “Best of” compilation album. And there was enough left over that she was able to release a “Best of” volume two in 1971.

In 1979, Spirit of the Wind, featuring Sainte-Marie’s original musical score including the song “Spirit of the Wind”, was one of three entries that year at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is a docudrama about George Attla, the ‘winningest dog musher of all time,’ as the film presents him, with all parts played by Native Americans except one by Slim Pickens. The film showed on cable TV, in the early 1980s.  It released in France in 2003.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon The Decade Of The 1980’s

Sainte-Marie was using Apple and Macintosh computers as early as 1981 to record her music. Buffy co-wrote the song “Up Where We Belong”. With Will Jennings and musician Jack Nitzsche. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes performed it for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. It received the Academy Award for Best Song in 1982. Cliff Richard and Anne Murray later covered the song on Cliff’s album of duets, Two’s Company.

In the early 1980s one of her native songs was the theme song for the CBC’s native series Spirit Bay. She appeared in the TNT 1993 telefilm The Broken Chain. It took place entirely in Virginia. In 1989 she wrote as well as performed, the music for Where the Spirit Lives. A film about native children being abducted and forced into residential schools.

The Decade Of The 1990’s

Sainte-Marie voiced the Cheyenne character, Kate Bighead, in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Son of the Morning Star, telling the Indian side of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Lt. Col. George Custer was killed.

In 1992, after a sixteen-year recording hiatus. Sainte-Marie released the album Coincidence and Likely Stories.  Recorded in 1990 at her home in Hawaii, on her computer. She sent the recording  to producer Chris Birkett in London, England. The album included the politically charged songs “The Big Ones Get Away” as well as “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”.

Also in 1992, Sainte-Marie appeared in the television film The Broken Chain. Her next album followed up in 1996 with Up Where We Belong, an album on which she re-recorded a number of her greatest hits in a more unplugged and acoustic versions, as well as including a re-release of “Universal Soldier”.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Songwriter Hall of Fame

Art In The Mix

Glenbow Museum in CalgaryWinnipeg Art GalleryEmily Carr Gallery in Vancouver as well as the American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, all display Buffy Sainte Marie’s art.

In 1995, Buffy’s Music and voice was the feature of an episode of HBO’s Happily Ever After. It is an animated cartoon series of fairy tales for children. Buffy was the feature in the episode about Snow White  also titled “White Snow”. White Snow is a young Native American Princess who is saved by a young Native American Prince. Buffy wrote the theme song and also sings the song and is the voice of the mirror on the wall.

“Every word is true,” Emily says in the introduction”

In 1995, the Indigo Girls released two versions of Sainte-Marie’s protest song “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” on their live album 1200 Curfews. Recorded at the Atwood Concert Hall in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. “Every word is true,” Emily says in the introduction. The studio recording is the second version, on disc two.

The Decade of The 2000’s

In 2002, a track written and performed by Sainte-Marie, titled “Lazarus”, was sampled by Hip Hop producer Kanye West.  Cam’Ron and Jim Jones of The Diplomats performed it . The track is called “Dead or Alive”.

In June 2007, she made a rare U.S. appearance at the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

In 2008, a two-CD set titled Buffy/Changing Woman/Sweet America: The Mid-1970s Recordings released, compiling the three studio albums that she recorded, for ABC Records and MCA Records between 1974 and 1976 (after departing her long-time label Vanguard Records). The first re-release of this material. Meanwhile making a comeback to the music scene in Canada, in September 2008.  At the same time, it resulted in the release of her studio album Running for the Drum. Produced by Chris Birkett (producer of her 1992 and 1996 best of albums).

Between 1997 and 2009, Sainte-Marie dedicated her time and money to the Cradle board Teaching Project. She traveled extensively, performing during this time in Sweden, Denmark and France.  In addition she appeared at the Ottawa Folk Festival in 2002. Universal Soldier,” her signature song,  was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

More of The 2000’s

Buffy independently released Running for the Drum (2008), a collection of 12 new songs. It featured American blues musician Taj Mahal on piano and won the 2009 Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year, as well as four Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life (2006), an hour-long documentary featuring archival footage and interviews with several well-known musicians, was also nominated for a 2009 Juno Award for Music DVD of the Year.

The Decade of The 2010’s

Sainte-Marie has lived in Hawaii for many years but continues to record and tour well into her seventies. Her album Power in the Blood (2015), recorded on her Gypsy Boy label and distributed by True North Records, won the 2015 Polaris Music Prize as well as 2016 Juno Awards for Aboriginal Album and Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. Sainte-Marie was also featured on the single re-mix of her song “Working for the Government” by fellow Polaris nominee A Tribe Called Red, and received the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award from the Americana Music Association in 2015. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Sainte-Marie’s 19th album, Medicine Songs (2017), features a mix of new material, such as “You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind),” a collaboration with Tanya Tagaq, and re-recorded older songs, including “Starwalker,” “Little Wheel Spin and Spin” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” The album drew positive reviews, with NOW magazine’s Michael Rancic observing, “Another artist might show signs of disappointment or uncertainty when faced with the notion that not much has changed in half a century, but on Medicine Songs, in the face of the unchanging nature of the oppression she’s expressed through her music, Buffy Sainte-Marie has chosen to be just as determined, unflinching and constant in her own art.” Medicine Songs went on to win the 2018 Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon Biography

In 2012, Blair Stonechild’s award-winning biography, Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way, was published by Fifth House.

Years of Awards of Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

Juno Awards

•Inductee, Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1995)
•Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording (Up Where We Belong) (1997)
•Aboriginal Recording of the Year (Running for the Drum) (2009)
•Aboriginal Album of the Year (Power in the Blood) (2016)
•Contemporary Roots Album of the Year (Power in the Blood) (2016)
•Allan Waters Humanitarian Award (2017)
•Indigenous Music Album of the Year (Medicine Songs) (2018)

Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards

•Lifetime Achievement Award (2008)
•Album of the Year (Running for the Drum) (2009)
• Female Artist (2009)
• Song Single (“No No Keshagesh”) (2009)
• Songwriter (2009)

Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards

• Folk/Acoustic CD (Running for the Drum) (2009)
• Music Video (“No No Keshagesh”) (2010)

Others

 New Artist, Billboard magazine (1964)
Academy Awards Original Song, (1983)
Golden Globe Awards Original Song, (1983)
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) Award Original Song, (1984)
International Artist, Charles de Gaulle Award (1993)
Lifetime Achievement Award, Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (1994)
Native American Philanthropist of the Year (1997)
Best Performance in a Variety Program or Series (Buffy Sainte-Marie: Up Where We Belong), Gemini Awards (1997)
Officer, Order of Canada (1997)

The Awards Keep Coming

 Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, Dove Awards (1998)
American Indian College Fund Lifetime Achievement Award, (1998)
Lifetime Achievement Award, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1998)
Inductee, Canada’s Walk of Fame (1999)
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, Government of Canada (2002) – (2012)
Inductee (“Universal Soldier”), Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2005)
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee, (2009)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Government of Canada (2010)
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award, Americana Music Association (2015)
Polaris Music Prize (Power in the Blood) (2015)
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee,(2019)
Companion, Order of Canada (2019)

Doctor Honorary Degrees

• Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts (1983)

Laws
  • Regina University (1996)
  • Carleton University (2008)
  • Vancouver Island University (2016)
  • Lethbridge University of  (2017)
  • Dalhousie University (2018)Letters
Letters
  • Lakehead University (2000)
  • Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2007)
  • Wilfrid Laurier University (2010)
  • University of British Columbia (2012)
  • Humanities, University of Saskatchewan (2003)
  • Music, University of Western Ontario (2009)
  • Fine Arts, Ontario College of Art and Design (2010)

Canadian Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame

“I’m honoured to be recognized in the company of so many Canadian songwriters that have inspired me.” (Buffy Sainte-Marie)

Cree singer, songwriter, educator AND social activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, was an inductee into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto, on April 1, 2019

Merritt BC Murals

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon Featured on The Merritt, BC Mural Walls

“I never set out to be courageous or political, I just wanted to tell my stories as authentically as possible, and bring light to the truth.”

Buffy Sainte-Marie has earned countless awards during her 50 plus years as a singer songwriter, musician, indigenous rights activist and educator.

Although we are proud of all her awards, the award Merritt, BC Canada is most proud of is her induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

Even though Buffy has never entertained us in Merritt. Her music as well as her presence is heartfelt within the community in more ways than one. Buffy’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is telling the story of her music and the challenges she has faced over the years.

Sainte-Marie’s career isn’t just defined by a 50-year span of making popular music. She has also been an advocate for indigenous people throughout the artistry of her songs.  The outspoken words of Sainte-Marie led to her being allegedly blacklisted from radio stations in America by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Despite the blacklisting, Sainte-Marie continued to experiment with music and technologies, using an early synthesizer to record her 1969 album, Illuminations, and again later using Apple II and Macintosh computers in the 80s.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Visit Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Mural In Downtown Merritt, BC Canada

Buffy’s mural can be found on a row of Murals at the Corner of Granite and Voght Street in behind the stage at Spirit Square.

It is a great honor to have her in The Country Music Hall of Fame and her Mural on our Mural Walk in Downtown Merritt, BC Canada.

The 78-year-old performer also has several Junos, a Polaris Prize, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. This is a small mention of the awards she has earned. This blog is also only a portion of what she has accomplished.

Buffy is still performing and can be followed On:

Website: http://buffysainte-marie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuffySainteMarie/

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s, Merritt, BC Canada

Classic Car Lovers 25th Cruise Through History

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s 25th Annual Show ‘n Shine

The dream cars of the past cruised back to be the show cars of today at The Nicola Valley Cruiser’s 25th annual Show n’ Shine, which was held on Sunday July 28, 2019 at Central Park in Merritt, BC . It’s a car show that continues to draw fans and a dazzling display of muscle, classic, vintage and antique vehicles. Although, this was an anniversary year, the show continues to deliver each year and be a car enthusiast’s version of paradise.

The show included entertainment, Cash Door Prizes, and Goody Bags as well as Dash Plaques.

It’s a time for classic Car Lover’s to cruise through history, bringing back the happy and glory days of cruisin’ the main. It’s about nostalgia, memory lane and a time for classic car lovers to unite with their classics and babies ready to shine.

The Club Nicola Valley Cruiser’s

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s car club was formed in 1994. Founding members, were the Roline’s, Mervyns’s, Nunn’s, James’s as well as Dave Jackson. Cars in the club consisted of the Classic – vehicles over 20 years old, Vintage – vehicles made between 1919-1930 and Antique –  vehicles over 45 years old. The group currently has 40 members.

“The Golden Rule… The height of an ordinary car’s value is when it’s new and when it is about 30 years old. That’s when it gets its title as The Collector Machine.” (An Avid Car Enthusiast)

In April 2006 the Vintage Car Club was formed and the Vintage and Antique vehicles moved over to that group. Both groups regularly work together and participate in each other’s events.

Vintage

Club Purpose

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s are a group of local classic car owners who meet regularly to “cruise” and talk vehicles.

They may not know exactly why they love cars, but there are certain aspects of that love affair that are common. For one thing, cars are never gender-neutral. Car lovers always refer to their favourite cars as a he or she.

Memories will resurface, stories will come to mind and, deep inside, the love of classic cars will take root. For the average person that gets into a car hobby, sometimes it’s something as simple as someone who likes to preserve something that reminds them of their youth.

Like many car events there is a charitable component to The Nicola Valley Cruisers Show and Shine. They raise money and awareness for the local Food Bank. Sometimes they will pick a different charity but the food bank is their choice charity.

Challenges Of Organizing a Show

Volunteers are always a challenge. Trying to encourage and recruit younger volunteers is a big challenge. It takes a whole club and then some to put the show on.

Last minute changes and no-show volunteers are always a challenge . There is lots of pre work such as raffles, dances etc… that contribute to the budget. There is insurance, venue, planning of categories and trophies, permits, restrooms…the list goes on.

Sponsors For The Nicola Valley Cruiser’s

 

Lordco Car Parts

Lordco is and has been a major supporter of this club for a number of years. In speaking with Mike Coates the manager of Lordco. Not only is his passion the cars, but his interest is also to support the Nicola Valley Cruiser Car Club and the community.

He enjoys the recognition as well as contributing  supplies for the goody bags. His biggest satisfaction is showing and communicating his appreciation to the customers.

Boyd Auto Body 

 

Boyd Auto Body

This is Boyd Auto Body’s first year in Merritt. The car show was a great opportunity to get out and support the Nicola Valley Cruisers as well as the community. They are very excited to be in Merritt and have been pleased with the warm welcome they have received. They are looking forward to being a part of the community and supporting events in line with their business.

“Merritt puts on a great show” (Uncle Fluffy)

While at the Boyd Auto Body booth I had the honor of meeting Uncle Fluffy from Krankin Vintage Restoration, Princeton, BC. His report on the Show and Shine Car Show hosted by The Nicola Valley Cruiser’s was absolutely glowing.

Bumper To Bumper

Bumper to Bumper previously known as Wescan was purchased by the Gilbert family. Trevor Gilbert owns the business with his wife Sherryl and sons Tage and Tyce. The Nicola Valley Cruisers show  is the first for Bumper to Bumper.  They are looking forward to serving the community of Merritt and participating and supporting various events that are in line with their business.

“Every Car Has a Story” (Car Enthusiast)

The Love Of Classic Cars Hard to Explain

“Mae won’t drive it. I said, how come? he said, I don’t know.” (Lawrence Ketter)  “I said, Mae why won’t you drive the car? She said, “Are you kidding! It just got a brand new paint job. I’ll drive it after he puts the first little scratch on it.” (Mae Ketter)

1978 Mustang – Lawrence and Mae Ketter

The first car I got to admire was the 78′ Mustang owned by Lawrence and Mae Ketter. Lawrence is pretty proud of this car. He told me it is not driven in the winter. He drives it about 3 months of the year. Although it just got a new paint job it is in mint condition and has no rust anywhere.

Ringo The 1969 Beetle – Owned by Brad Hagen

My next little beauty was Ringo. Absolute mint condition. Brad said he named it Ringo because it’s a beetle and a fun little bug. Brad has been attending the car show every year since it started, which would be since 1994.

Summer Is The Time For Cruising

1957 Ford Fairlane Convertible – Owned by Vic and Joyce Mossey

This 1957 Ford Fairlane with a retractable hardtop was a real gem to admire. Joyce was feeling like a teenager in that  passenger seat. Vic and Joyce drove to Merritt from Abbotsford and enjoyed the show immensely.

1955 Nomad – Owned by Cameron McLeod

The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad is a station wagon model. The Nomad is best remembered in its two-door Tri Five form and was considered a halo model. Cameron McLeod of North Delta says he drives it all summer and just loves it.

” I drive it all the time. I can just drive it, I don’t have to babysit it.” (Rae Robinson)

1952 Bel Air – Owned by Rae Robinson

The Chevrolet Bel Air was a full-size car. Initially, only the two door hardtops in the Chevrolet model were designated with the Bel Air name from 1950 to 1952. Rae Robinson says this is his 7th year attending the Nicola Valley Cruisers Show and Shine.

 

1966 Chevy 11 Nova SS – Owned by Sam and Susan Roline

Top of the line 1966 Chevy Nova SS only available in a Sports Coup. The elegantly smooth panel lines visually distinguish the Nova SS. It has bright SS emblems on the grille and on the rear panel, as well as Super Sport script on the quarter panels. The 652, Chevy models were produced, with a 283 cylinder – 195 HP-V8 engine. The Nova SS has competed and won in all types of automobile racing. Including the NHRA Pro-stock drags to SCCA Trans-am.

Lover’s Of The Classics

1981 Mercedes – Owned by Brian and Bea Cave

This 1981 Mercedes, 380 SL Roadster Convertible has never had the hard top on because it is never driven in the winter. This car has been completely redone and is in pristine condition. Brian says he’ll sell it and someone would be getting a steal.

1964 Chevy Truck – Owned by Barry Jackson

Considered a full size pick up truck, this 1964 Chevy has been completely customized and is definitely a show piece.

Real Vintage Imaginations

Electric Powered

1898 Horseless Carriage

This replica of an 1898 Hammound Runabout was made by Rick Brewer of Merritt, BC.

Rick built this car based on a picture of the Runabout that he found on the internet. He did all of the metal work and the wood work using no nails or screws in the wood body. Wheelwright Dwayne Danley of Armstrong, BC built the wheels.

It took over 6 months to complete the chassis and a further 6 months to build the body using poplar wood that Rick dried and planed. The carved dash and trim represents the wildwood flower, carved from 150 year old Oak. In addition, the oak came from a mansion in Vancouver.

Following the path of many early automobile makers of the 1800’s. Powered by an electric motor as well as an axle driving the rear wheels through a chain drive. The steering is controlled with a tiller rather than a steering wheel, which was common during that  period of time.

This 1898 Runabout is owned and enjoyed by Ted and Marguerite Lund of Merritt, BC.

Merritt’s First Fire Engine In 1927

Merritt Fire Department and its First Fire Truck in 1927

Fire Fighters of The Merritt Fire department

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Department Tender Their Resignation to Council

Resignation to Take Effect November 10, 1926
Unless Requests of Firemen Granted-Council Appoints Committee To Meet Fire Chief.

At the regular meeting of the City Council, held last night. The most important Communication to be dealt with and a mighty important one to the people of Merritt. It was one from Fire Chief N.J. Barwick. Notifying council that unless their requests for better fighting equipment, were granted. They were tendering their resignations to take effect on November 10th 1926.

Following is the communication:

His Worship The Mayor and Alderman of The City of Merritt:

Gentlemen:

We received your letter of October the 22nd, in answer to our letters of June 8th and also of October the 14th, we asked for better firefighting equipment.

At a regular Fire Dept. meeting, held in the Fire Hall on the 28th of October, we as a body did not approve of the action you have taken. If you will take into consideration we have advance 45% of the cost of the equipment.

However that is up to you gentlemen, for we feel we do not care to carry on with the very poor equipment you have at present. Therefore as a body, tender our resignation to take effect on the morning of November the 10th, 1926.

Signed on behalf of myself and Fire Boys.

N.J. Barwick (Information: Merritt Herald and Merritt Museum)

 

Handsome New Fire Truck Arrives In Merritt, BC

January 28, 1927

Shows Off At the 25th Anniversary OF The  Nicola Valley Cruisers Show and Shine 2019

The new fire truck for the City of Merritt Fire Brigade, arrived at the local Kettle Valley Railway depot on Monday evening, and its addition to the fire fighting equipment for the local fire boys should be a valuable acquisition.

The truck was supplied by the American La France Fire Engine Company, who lost no time in shipping the truck when the order was finally placed with them by the Merritt City Council. Indeed it was not expected to arrive from the works at Toronto until the first of February.

The truck is modernly equipped for the use of both hose and chemicals. It is mounted upon a General Motors Chevrolet one truck chassis by the R.F. Barrett firm of this city. The value of this fire truck to the local fire department should be excellent. This added assistance to the fire boys will be fully appreciated by all citizens. (Information: Merritt Herald and Merritt Museum)

 

Bob Wilson a paid on call fireman is pictured along side the 1926 Fire Engine.

This fire engine serviced the community up until 1960.

Maintaining a vintage vehicle in its original condition is a fine art. This engine has been well maintained as well as parts being replaced with off the shelf originals.

This particular fire engine is known as a chemical car. The plan is, to hopefully replicate the Soda Acid Tanks that were used in this era.

Soda Acid Tank

Sulphuric acid, when combined with bicarbonate of soda forms a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide. When mixed, the pressure created forces the mixture out of the chemical tank and propels it onto the fire.

“It was a very good show, lots of variety of vehicles and happy people” (Yvonne Tessier)

You never know what you might see at the Nicola Valley Cruisers car show. 2019 saw over 150 cars registered. So watch for details and get those engines polished and revved and ready to cruise back to Merritt, BC Canada for the Nicola  Valley Cruisers car show in 2020.

“Great Show” (Ken Bramham)

Follow The Nicola Valley Cruisers Car Club on Facebook

 

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s 25th Annual Show ‘n Shine

Merritt BC Canada Car Show

 

 

Summer In Merritt BC Canada

Experience lazy summer days in the Nicola Valley

“No matter were you decide to spend time outdoors experiencing the Nicola Valley Merritt BC,  you will never be disappointed with all it’s beauty”

 

Summer in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley is a time to enjoy the outdoors and experience everything that nature has to offer.  Remember your first cold swim of the year? Furthermore, do you remember your first boat ride, sunburn, eating hot dogs, having a picnic, a lake swim.

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake located 15 min from Merritt BC.

A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay

Experiencing Nicola Valley during Spring and Summer months is truly breathtaking. Lundbom Lake located 15min out of Merritt attracts many campers every year.

 

A 15min drive from Merritt. No need to pack a lunch!

Kayaking, Fishing and Swimming!

Besides it’s beauty, Lundbom offers avid fishing from beginners to the experienced.

Lundbom Lake in Merritt BC

Picture taken going into Lundbom Lake.

Scenic Beauty Amidst Nature

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake is truly peaceful. Being a smaller lake, Lundbom doesn’t let you down.

Kayaking Lundbom Lake in Merritt BC

Easily navigated for beginner kayakers

Kayakers Dream Lake!

Furthermore Lundbom never disappoints.

Lundbom Lake Kayaking

Chase that kayak!

Picture Perfect Summer in Merritt BC

Don’t Forget Your Camera. Always a lot of nature to capture with a snap.

Lundbom

Late afternoon bliss on the water.

Bird lovers dream.

To Sum It Up The Water Can Be Cold!

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Cold but refreshing!

Kayakers Dream Lake

You can always find a hidden cove to have a picnic along the shore.

Cool summer breeze.

And There’s Nicola Lake

Located 23km from Merritt BC and 62km from Kamloops BC, Nicola Lake is easily accessible.  Great for kayaking, fishing and boating.

Nicola Lake

Nicola Lake Fishing Dock.

Dock Fishing

After all this dock is not only for swimming, but also for fishing.

Might be cold, but feels great!

No step ladder provided.

Swimming Allowed Here

Beautiful Nicola Lake.

You Don’t Have To Leave Merritt To Cool Off!

Located downtown Merritt BC, the Coldwater River is perfect for cooling off. That’s right, we call it the Clay Banks and many locals enjoy their day swimming here.

Searching for River Treasure.

Cooling off!

Check out Merritt BC Rotary Water Park!

Rotary Park is easily accessible due to its location near Downtown Merritt. A day adventure could easily be done with renting bikes from one of Merritt’s local business Breathe Bikes.

Rotary Lake Park in Merritt BC

Cool off under a tree while watching your children enjoy Merritt’s Rotary Water Park.

Beautiful Rest Stop For Travellers 

Located on Voght Street. A perfect spot to enjoy your lunch and stretch your legs.

You might see some Beaver evidence.

Enjoy a peaceful picnic.

Picnic Tables Along With Restrooms

In addition to being easily accessible. Picnic tables and restrooms are available.

A truly scenic rest spot to enjoy a picnic.

Scenic Driving in The Nicola Valley

Of course you could take a scenic drive along the old highway from Merritt to Kamloops.

Chances are you may spot an Eagle!

Even horses enjoy lazy summer days.

Petit Creek

Located 28km from Merritt BC this hidden gem is worth the drive.

Duck

Spring Duck.

Camping Allowed

Although these pictures were taken in the Spring. This spot is truly unique with the view of the old railroad bridge. Above all else, always take what you brought in. Leave no “Footprint”.

 

Would love to swim.

Old Rail Road Bridge.

Majestic Mountains

The view of the Mountains from this little camp ground. Located only 28km from Merritt.

Anyone want to go for a hike?

And We Were Swinging!

Located 28km outside Merritt BC towards Spencer’s Bridge. Spius Creek Logging Bridge.This watering hole is surely a delight to all.

Swimming spot at Spius Creek Logging Bridge.

Great River Swimming!

River

Riding the Rapids! Sunshine Vly Rd, Merritt, BC

Lac Le Jeune

Lac Le Jeune is a lake and provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located approximately 37 kilometres south of Kamloops or 47 kilometres north of Merritt.  A perfect day for a swim.

Lac La Jeune Dock.

Great Place To Cool Off

Bring your picnic and your kayaks and enjoy this beautiful lake.

Great for water floaties.

Friendly leeches.

Resist jumping in!

Lac La Jeune Lake located 47km north of Merritt BC. Experience Nicola Valley!

Spending my summer swimming!

Experiencing The Nicola Valley Merritt BC

To sum it all up, no matter were you decide to spend time outdoors experiencing the Nicola Valley Merritt BC,  you will never be disappointed with all it’s beauty. Remember no matter were you go, don’t leave your “Footprint” behind.

 

Just standing by a lake is great!

Summer in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley

Experience lazy day summers in the valley

Merritt BC Canada MuralsCrystal Shawanda – Canadian Singer

“Dawn of a New Day”(Crystal’s name in Ojibwe)

“I would spin the records while she cleaned and we would both sing at the top of our lungs,” (Crystal Shawanda)

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer, grew up on the Wikwemikong Reserve on an island in Ontario. Shawanda was born in Wiikwemkoong First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, July 26, 1983. She spent her youth in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where she attended Korah Collegiate.

The Beginning Of The Road To The Dream

Shawanda learned music early on as a kid by observing her family. Crystal’s parents raised her on country music as well as taught her to sing and play guitar.

Shawanda used to go with her mother when she cleaned houses. To make the time pass, she would be the DJ.

“I would spin the records while she cleaned and we would both sing at the top of our lungs,” she said. I remember holding up a Loretta Lynn record and saying, ‘Whatever she does, that’s what I want to do.”

She started singing on stage when she was 6, and getting paid gigs when she was 10. This was the beginning of playing every stage she could, including touring with a theatre company when she was 9.

When Crystal was 12, because her dad was a truck driver, she started taking frequent trips to Nashville. As a result she would walk through downtown Nashville, by all the honky-tonks. I’d get up to sing at everyone of them and then we’d get back in the truck and leave. It always kept me wanting more.

These trips lead to her first album when she was 13. She attended  music school that same year, dropping out after 3 years. She was 16 years old.

The Crushed Dream

“I just don’t know if Native Americans make sense in country music, I don’t know if fans would be receptive, and I wouldn’t even know how to market you” (respected music executive)

After dropping out of music school, Crystal moved to Nashville. Even though, she did not know a soul, and was all alone she was determined to make something happen. She met a well respected music executive, who told her there was no room for her in country music. She tried to find a positive in the critique as well as take it with gracefulness, but the words stung too much which resulted in her moving back home, and giving up on her dream.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

A New Day

 “If I was out of tune I could take voice lessons, if my song was bad, I could write another, but I couldn’t change the color of my skin”. (Crystal Shawanda)

She started travelling down a dark road on a self destructive path. Somehow that road always had enough light to lead her back to the stage and microphone. A blessing that would help her see and come to terms with what she was dealing with.

New Days in 2008

All things considered, Crystal moved back to Nashville in 2008, with a mission, and a purpose. She played at Tootsie’s Orchid lounge 6 days a week, 3 shifts a day. She created a buzz and landed a production deal with Scott Hendricks. After hearing Crystal cover B.B.King and Janis Joplin a record deal was landed with RCA records by Joe Galante.

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer burst onto the country music scene with her hit single, “You Can Let Go,” and her debut album, “Dawn Of A New Day”. September 6th, 2008 marked the Grand Ole Opry debut of this Canadian Aboriginal beauty. Fans fell in love with this country sweetheart from across all borders.

Dawn of A New Day Album Cover

Dawn Of New Day

Shawanda’s first album, “Dawn of a New Day”, was released in Canada on June 24, 2008. It would release on Aug 19, 2008 in the United States. The album would chart at number 2 on the Top Country Albums in Canada, and number 16 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in the United States. Her album was released in stores internationally, resulting in a top 16 song on the American Billboard Chart.

Her story,  female artist who travels to Nashville with a single suitcase, is a common one. However big dreams, and even a bigger voice struck a chord and landed her a ton of success. Following the path of many females before her, Shawanda did not give up.

Award Clean Up In 2008

Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards 2008 

 Aboriginal Awards 2008

  • Artist of The year
  •  Album of The Year (Dawn of A New Day)
  •  Best Single of The Year (You Can Let Go)

Canadian Aboriginal Awards 2008

  •  Artist of The year
  •  Album of The Year (Dawn of A New Day)
  •  Country Album of The Year
  •  Music Video of The Year (You Can Let Go)
  • Best Single of The Year (You Can Let Go)

CCMA Awards

She won Female Artist of The Year at the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards as well as Best New Country Artist at the Canadian Radio Music Awards.

The Junos

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer, was nominated for a Juno Award,  five consecutive years since 2009, winning Aboriginal Album Of the Year.

Living The Dream

“I want to inspire people to just take chances, “she said. “It’s not about being perfect, if you love something, go after it.” (Crystal Shawanda)

CMT documented Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer, rise to fame in a six-part series Crystal: Living the Dream, which started broadcasting in February 2008.

Crystal Living The Dream

“When I first heard her sing, I almost fell over. (Phyllis Elliot)

The music scene loves Crystal Shawanda. The realization of how far she’s come, manifested when her feet touched down on Nashville’s country music epicentre- the Grand Ole Opry. “It was definitely the highlight of my whole journey,” she said.

Phyllis Ellis, writer and director of Crystal Shawanda: Living the Dream, said working with Shawanda and visiting her First Nation roots was a benefit to her work and life. “When I first heard her sing, I almost fell over. She is one of the most talented artists I think I’ve ever heard.”

Ellis believes Shawanda is a role model for all young people- Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike. She said the songs provoke insight, experience and humour. “Her music is direct. It is not obscure. She addresses things.” Calling Shawanda an “old soul,” Ellis described her as having the “knowledge of a 80-year-old. She is complex, honest and has integrity.”

Realizing She Reached The Dream In The Country Music Scene

 Shawanda said, it was at the CMT Music Awards, when she shared the stage with such country stars as Martina McBride, Brooks and Dunn and Carrie Underwood, that she realized she had reached her Country goals and dream.

Shawanda toured with various artists across Canada and the northern United States in 2008. She toured Canada and the United States with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley as a special guest on the Paisley Party 2009 Tour.

In spite of her success on the country music scene, she released one more country album “Just Like You” in 2014 that resulted in a Juno Award, and a top 20 hit in Canada. In addition the opportunity to perform for millions in New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised internationally.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

The Switch To Blues

“You’re too bluesy” I so wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be(Crystal Shawanda)

As the format of country music started to change Crystal found the feedback to be a resounding “your too bluesy”, and this had her chasing her sound. “I so wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be, I lost myself along the way”.

While in the studio working on her third country album, she made the decision to abandon the project and take some time off.

Crystal learned at an early age that the Blues were all about release and healing. While she was out on stage singing Patsy and Loretta.  In the background behind the scenes she was singing the blues.

It was her oldest brother who introduced her to the blues. He would hang out in the basement cranking Muddy Waters, B.B.King, and Etta James. Crystal would sit at the top of the stairs, straining to hear the soulful sounds, wondering if she could ever sing like that. In spite of her self doubt, when no one was home, Crystal would practice singing the blues. (Wikipedia)

Chasing The Blues Dream

”The songs just fell out of me and it was like setting my voice free” (Crystal Shawanda)

One day during her hiatus while watching the news and feeling overwhelmed by the headlines, she wrote “The Whole World’s Got The Blues”. This was the inspiration to her first blues album. It was a modern take on the blues, but deep rooted. It captures the resilience of the human spirit, much like the way Crystal does.

The album garnered a Juno nomination, and received mixed reviews, with moderate airplay, but it opened a whole new world to Crystal and would lead the way for her to secure her musical identity and still hold the title, Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer.

During this time some of the feedback was that Crystal was a country music artist, and couldn’t know the blues. This had her feeling like a fish out of water, which would result in being the inspiration behind her second blues album “Fish out of water”. A mix of blues, and soulful roots, it was released in October 2016. Consequently the album was nominated for a Juno award, and  received some of the best reviews from the critics since her debut album.

The Dream Continues To Grow

The following year Shawanda had her first baby girl in February 2017. She was back on the road by April, performing at blues festivals, country music festivals, multi genre festivals, making her mark as a multi genre artist, but absolutely a bonafide blues mama.

She is claiming her identity in the music scene. “Voo Doo Woman”, produced by Crystal and her long time guitarist, and husband Dewayne Strobel, released in October, 2017. This album is a declaration, an affirmation “make no mistake, Crystal Shawanda is a true blues singer”. Fierce and fearless, her vocals powerful, she lands where she means to, always doing it her way.

Crystal Shawanda is a soulful little powerhouse, and will make you feel every word. With a voice that’s not like anyone you’ve ever heard, it’s pure and precise, yet at the same time gritty and gutsy .

“I can’t help but feel like I’m home, no longer holding back.” (Crystal Shawanda”

 Voodoo Woman is Crystal’s third blues album – and the first to be released outside of Canada.

Melvina White – Experience Nicola Valley Country Music Blogger / Painted by Michelle Loughery

 

The Road to The Mural Wall In Merritt, BC

“I was just blown away and touched.” (Crystal Shawanda)

Crystal Shawanda, referred to as the next Shania Twain at the time, topping the Canadian country music charts with “My Roots are Showing”, graced the main stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2009.

I was worried because it was starting to get cold and starting to rain right before our show. I thought, oh no, they’re all going to start heading to their campers and their motorhomes, and to my surprise I came out — at this point it was pouring rain — and everybody was just sitting in their seats.

Smiling Crystal  called out if everyone was feeling rowdy tonight? Not so much. They were getting soaked out there. The result was her biggest ovation for her “You Can Let Go Now Daddy” hit. I was blown away and touched that they sat through the storm.

It was after this performance at the 2009 Merritt Mountain Music Festival that, Crystal had her mural painted by Michelle Loughery. The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”.

The Crystal Shawanda mural is included on The Canadian Country Music Mural Walk in downtown Merritt, BC. Crystal’s mural can be found in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street, in a row of murals near the stage. Crystal was honored to have this mural of herself done and signed it with love.

Back To Merritt, BC For The Rodeo

Record labels are closing and people are losing record deals, but as long as someone listens to my music, I’m happy. “It could be for 10,000 people, it could be for 10 people, as long as I get to sing I’ll be good.”

 

Crystal Shawanda

Shawanda came back to play The North America’s Richest Indian Rodeo held in Merritt at the Nicola Valley Rodeo Grounds on May 22, 2010

While she was keeping busy on a North American radio tour, she said she was excited to be playing Merritt again, where she will be able to meet up with old friends and hopefully make some new ones.

She played songs from her albums as well as songs she loves to sing from what she calls her heroes. Every show is always different. “That’s why we say if even if you’ve seen our show, come out again ’cause it’ll be a different one the next time.

I’ll cover Prince, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. I mean, it’s just like, what do I feel like singing tonight?”

Last Performance At The Infamous Merritt Mountain Music Festival

Crystal Shawanda’s show at the 17th annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2011 was a treat as she played Prince’s Little Red Corvette. She definitely the first female artist to do the song. She again sang some of her album songs along with her heroes songs and closed out her performance to a roaring crowd.

Crystal has left her mark in Merritt and has returned for intimate appearances at various venues in Merritt since 2011, including NVIT.

She also performed at the 2017 Rockin River Music Fest held every August long weekend in Merritt, BC.

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merritt, BC Mural Walk. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Hall of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists.

Crystal is very active and still performing all over North America – Follow Her On:

Facebook

Website

You Tube

Instagram

 

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

** Information resources includes the Crystal Shawanda’s website, Wikipedia page, and social media pages.

PACIFIC FOREST RALLY

NICOLA VALLEY MERRITT BC OFF ROADING

“Whenever you meet the driver or the co-driver (navigator) they are more than happy to sign a autograph. Furthermore take a snapshot with you.”

 

This year the Pacific Forest Rally in Nicola Valley Merritt BC begins September 26, 2019. Specifically the Pacific Forest Rally (PFR) attracts rally teams from Canada and the U.S.  Subsequently compete with production-based cars on Nicola Valley’s rough challenging gravel roads.

 

Speeding at 140k.

Canadian Rally Championship since 1977. Sponsored by SUBARU.

 

Clocked out at 120k.

Registration Thursday 26.

Pacific rally headquarters and service park will be in the Nicola Valley, in Merritt BC. It allows spectators the  opportunity to see the cars close up. The rally will take place September 26 to the 28. Two days of  some very exciting gravel road racing.

Every Kids Dream!

 

Downtown Merritt BC Granite Av. Were you can meet the drivers. Between 4:30 and 5:30pm.

Downtown Meet & Greet

When you want to meet the Team!

Getting a selfie with driver and co-driver is the best.

 

Additionally you can get a cool pic!

 

Yes, this is my ride!

Meeting your hero is amazing.

 

While wondering what its like to Rally Race. Getting a close look at the cars is truly amazing.

 

 

Peek inside, you will be amazed.

Time to pick your favourites to win!

 

This happened to be my son’s favourite! Snowflake.

Furthermore you will be impressed with the work that goes into these cars.

Love the wing!

Picking your dream Rally car.

 

Whenever you meet the driver or the co-driver (navigator) they are more than happy to sign a autograph. Furthermore take a snapshot with you.

 

Red is my favourite colour.

Little Rally Racing!

The true excitement begins!

Corner ahead!

Safety Car

Purely amazing.

Thank you to the Safety Car. Making sure everyone is safe.

Although there are barriers,  getting this close pumps up the volume.

 

Very fine off road racing.

Co-pilot working hard!

Never forget the importance of the co-pilot.

The Race Is On

Stand back and watch.

Its all about speed.

Undoubtedly an adrenaline rush!

 

Pure adrenaline rush.

While taking a sharp corner at high speed. They make it look easy.

 

Corners are always interesting.

Corner Ahead!

 

Born to race!

To demonstrate how fast these cars are going.

 

Speed is a virtue.

Following the cars with your camera can be tricky.

 

Handling the road is also a virtue.

While the sound of the cars can be ear breaking, the dust and flying rocks can be hazardous.

 

Subaru driving.

To illustrate how close and personal you can get as a spectator at the Pacific Forest Rally Race in the Nicola Valley.

 

Dont get to close.

 

To Sum It Up

Nicola Valley Merritt BC will be hosting the Pacific Forest Rally September 26 this fall. This is a free event sponsored by Subaru. A time to get out-doors and experience the rush of watching these drivers race in our backyard. Remember to take out what you brought in, its your environment.

 

Merritt BC Car Racing : Pacific Forest Rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trails in Merritt BC Canada

We Have A Variety Of Merritt Walking & Hiking Trails

Nicola Valley Also Provides Motorized or Non-motorized Recreations Trails and Areas

 

Do we have trails in Merritt, BC!  If you are looking to use your motorized ATV or dirt bike we have trails for you.  If you are a non motorized trail user we can accommodate you as well.  Most of the trails we use are in the Nicola Valley surrounding Merritt, but I will get to them at a later date.

Trails in the City of Merritt BC Canada

Trails in Merritt, BC are varied from walks beside the river to hikes along a mountain ridge.  Many of the trails do not have a name as they are on Crown Land.

Take your dog for a walk

Yes we have dog friendly trails. Whereas many residents know of these trails, visitor probably don’t.  Therefore, as your guide, I will cover a few of the trails in Merritt that I use.  The first of these is a no name trail I call the Doggie Walk Way.  Many residents use this path to walk their dogs because they are in the woods and the dogs can run freely.

Because the trail connects the Bench Subdivision to Grandview Heights you have the option of entering from either end.  From the Grandview Heights end you go to the top of Peregrine Way.  From the Bench side you enter at the top of Pineridge Drive.

The Pineridge Drive entrance is my favourite for two reasons.  One, it is just outside my front door, but more importantly it’s just a short walk to Dairy Queen when you reach the Grandview Heights end.  In fact you have access to all the eateries on DeWolf Way when you go this way.

Trails in Merritt BC

Trails in Merritt.BC We are on our Way!

Take it Easy

This trail is easy and is meant for a leisurely stroll when you are looking for a short walk.  The total round trip is about forty minutes to an hour depending on who is on the walk.  Little kids and pets will probably put you on the longer end of the time frame.

Nicola Valley Walking Trails

Doggie Walk Way

The trail provides views of the valley and downtown but you will also be able to see some houses through the trees so you know you can’t get lost.  So if you are looking for something to do and don\t have a lot of time this may be the trail for you.

Romp beside the River

Another of the trails in Merritt, BC is the River Walk.  You also have two options for accessing this trail. The best one is from Voght Street across from Claybanks RV Park where there is lots of parking.  The other option is to use the entrance on Main Street at Canford Ave.  You can park along the Canford side of Voght Park.

Dog Friendly Trails in Merritt BC

Merritt trails beside The Coldwater River

Beauty and Serenity

The trail is short as it takes about fifteen minutes one way.  However, the beauty and serenity are worth the time.  In addition, you will meet friendly Merrittonians who will greet you with a smile and a hearty welcome. The trail is also used in some community events such as the Merritt Country Run

 

 

Merritt Country Run

Running the River Trail in Merritt, BC

 

Expansion on the Way?

The good news is that there may be an expansion of this trail to make it a real tourist attraction.  With the demise of the Tolko Mill there is an opportunity to extend the trail along the Coldwater to the south east.  The more exciting improvement is the possibility of  using the old Kettle Valley Rail line to create a trail that is just over sixty Kilometers, from Merritt to Spence’s Bridge   While there are many issues to resolve the TNRD, the City, the Lower Nicola Indian Band and some interested citizens are working on the possibility. We can only hope this can come to fruition!,Trails in Merritt.

Trails in Merritt, BC

 

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair In Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair is an Annual Tradition.

Don your hat and pull your boots on.

 

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair in Merritt BC Canada – The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo will be held on Saturday, August 31st – Sunday, September 1st, 2019 in Merritt, British Columbia. Held at Nicola Valley Rodeo Association grounds here in Merritt.

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Because pictures can tell a story, I wanted to add quotes that represented the cowboys, cowgirls, and everyone who loves to watch, admire, and cheer these amazing athletes on who truly love what they do. Enjoy the pictures along with Cowboy and Cowgirl Quotes.

 

Merritt Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo.

To Demonstrate How To Ride a Bull.

“If your not makin’ dust your eattin’ it”  Cricket,  June 3, 2008

Although It Looks Easy, She is Just That Good.

“If my boots and spurs ain’t here, I’m probably riding and drinking beer. Horses are God’s gift to cowgirls as an apology for men.” Andrea, June 3, 2009

To Be Sure You Have a Strong Grip.

“Learn this well, the last ride is never the last ride. And the end is not the end.” Richard Rowland

Furthermore This Takes Two.

“A Cowgirl is a woman with guts and horse.” TS

Subsequently The Saviours Are On Hand.

“A true cowboy knows love, pain and shame but never cares about fame.” Anonymous

Longest 8 Seconds Ever.

“The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse.” Anonymous

While Riding The Bull Is Hard, Getting Out of Danger Continues.

“Ride E’m Cowboy, don’t let them throw ya down.. You can’t make no money if ya hit the ground, Ride E’m Cowboy, don’t let them throw ya down, You’re the toughest Cowboy in town.” Juice Newton

Again, 8 Seconds.

“Pain and rodeo go hand in hand.” Snake, April 1, 2009

Granted They Make it Look Easy.

“It aint worth fussin’ about unless the bone is showin’ or you ain’t got no feelin’ in it…even then you should cowboy up and walk it off.” Mat, October 21, 2008

To Be Sure You Can Not Use Both Hands.

“If you haven’t fallen off a horse…then you haven’t been ridin long enough.” Unknown

Furthermore it Begins Early.

 

“I took to the life of a cowboy like a horse takes to oats.” Anonymous

“No man should have cowboys boots in his wardrobe. That’s fair enough, isn’t it? Unless you’re a cowboy, of course.” Paul Weller

Truly This Should Be An Olympic Sport.

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you might not like what you see in the mirror.” Buck Brannaman

Truly a Joy to Watch!

“Cowgirl Up! Means to rise to the occasion, not to give up, and to do it all without whining or complaining.” Whitney, November 9, 2008

Do Not Try This At Home.

 

“Some cowboys have to much tumbleweed in their blood to settle down.” Ken Alstad

The Next Time You Want to go Trail Riding, hold on. Tight!

“If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.” Ashton Jennings, April 10, 2013

Can You Say Cute?

“A cowboy is a man with guts and a horse.” William James

Time to Run!

“Bull riding is probably the most dangerous sport in the world in terms of head injuries.” Jonathan Gottschall

Furthermore Bull Riding takes Guts!

“Rodeo careers can end without warning, as quick as the next try at an eight-second ride.” John Branch

To Demonstrate how Cowgirls Cool Off.

This is pure “Relaxation”

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

“When you’re young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you’re my age, you splatter.” Roy Rogers

This time I Got Err Done.

“True cowboys are the ones who aren’t afraid to get dirty.” Lane Frost

Moreover its all About the Spectators.

“A good old rodeo never hurt anyone.” Taylor Kitsch

When it Takes a Team.

“A real cowboy doesn’t have to say they are a cowboy you know, the smell, the expression and the heart tells itself. ” cowgirlmaine, November 19, 2009

When you are in the Bull Pen.

“There never was a cowboy who couldn’t be throwed; there never was a horse who couldn’t be rode.” Shaelynne, March 8, 2008

 

In Conclusion

The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo will be held on Saturday, August 31st – Sunday, September 1st, 2019 in Merritt, British Columbia. Held at Nicola Valley Rodeo Grounds. Attending this event is truly a Nicola Valley Experience you wont forget.

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

CONTACT INFORMATION

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association
499 Lindley Creek Road,
Merritt, British Columbia

Phone
(250)-378-5059

E-mail
nicolavalleyrodeoassociation@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aboriginal Day In the Nicola Valley

Celebrating Aboriginal Day in Merritt BC June 21, 2019

People in the Nicola Valley Celebrate Aboriginal Day

 

We celebrated Aboriginal Day in the Nicola Valley Merritt BC on June 21, 2019. Canada’s Governor General proclaimed the first National Aboriginal Day in 1996. Every year since then June 21 is the day for all Canadians to celebrate Canada’s  First Nation’s Aboriginal Peoples.

There are three Aboriginal groups in Canada – the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

Celebrating Aboriginal Day in The Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Along with the pounding Heartbeat of Mother Earth, the Regalia worn by the dancers will surely amaze you. A great day at Merritt’s Rotary Park on June 21, 2019. In case you missed it here is my photo collage for you to enjoy.

Aboriginal Day June 21, 2019.

Aboriginal Dance Regalia

Regalia is unique and sacred to each dancer. Therefore not to be ever confused with or referred to as costumes. Regalia is adorned with various materials. Most noteworthy Regalia outfits feature intricate beadwork (often sewn by a family member or friend), while others use ribbons, shiny materials or the use of traditional materials, such as porcupine quills.  While the ceremonial dress is beautiful to look at, pow wow etiquette requests that observers not touch or take pictures of dancers’ regalia without permission.

 

Women Dancers in full Regalia.

Experiencing Aboriginal Day in The Nicola Valley.

Crystal Spahan with her children dressed in their traditional First Nation regalia.

Aboriginal Day

Crystal’s regalia hand sewn and made by her Aunt.

Aboriginal Day

Crystal Spahan with her two beautiful children in their Regalia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Handmade Regalia

Noteworthy Crystal  Spahan’s elaborate shawl is uniquely decorated with distinct flower patterns, beadwork along with flowing fringes.

 

Back on the Red Road for the last 2 years.

Pow Wow Dances are Expressions of Indigenous Spirituality, History and Culture

In addition with the festivities going on, Aboriginal Day is also a day of learning about Canada’s Indigenous culture.  In fact I was honored to meet Stuart Patrick preparing his sons Regalia along with his own. He was ensuring that their regalia was well-secured before their performance.  Furthermore, I was welcome to interview Stuart Patrick.

Stuart Patrick

(Q1)  Are you from the Nicola Valley?

(Stuart Patrick) I am from Uclue Let (U-Cloo-let) Vancouver Island. I went to 2 residential schools, Christy Residential in Tofino first, and then closed Kamloops Residential School down.

(Q2)  When did you start to dance?

(Stuart Patrick) I dance for survival. I have quit cutting my hair, I am done with mourning. We lost our Potlatch rights when I was seven. I have always chased the “Pow wow” We dance for the seven generations before us, and for the seven generations after us.
I started walking the “Red Road”. After the second year you pick what you want, like dancing, drumming. You join the circle for life.

 

Aboriginal Day

Raven Patrick. Pow wow clothing and accessories are created with great care and attention,  hold deep meaning and spiritual significance to the dancer.

(Q3)  Were did you get your Eagle feathers?

(Stuart Patrick) A Fire Fighter from Merritt found a dead Eagle and gave the feathers to me.

(Q4) Do your children also dance?

(Stuart Patrick) My son Jacob is wearing my first Regalia outfit. And my daughter Raven is wearing the blue Regalia outfit. They both perform regularly throughout BC. We go to Pow Wows and perform at University’s and College’s.

(Q5) Who makes your Regalia?

(Stuart Patrick) Janice Sheena and Abraham Sheena. The beadwork.

(Q6) What dances do you perform?

(Stuart Patrick) I do traditional potlatch mask dancing. The Humming Bird and the Chicken Dance.

 

Jacob Patrick with his father Stuart Patrick.

In Addition 

Aboriginal Day

Celebrating Indigenous Day in full Regalia. Merritt BC Rotary Park.

The Work and Detail that Goes Into These Beautiful Regalia Dress

Desiree Dick has been dancing since she was 3 yrs old. Along with her mother Adriene Johnny & sister Kirsten Dick (Hand Drummer at MSS) they all have a “Passion for the Pow Wow”.  Desiree’s Grandmother was the artist behind her Regalia.

 

Desiree Dick

With The Beating of The Drums and The Dancers Performance

While the  Dancers take great care to ensure that their regalia is well-secured before a performance. Losing a part of regalia during a dance could cost a dancer the competition. Although this day was not a competition, but the work and care is very visible.

Cliff…. Stuart Patrick and son Jacob.

Additionally More Beautiful Regalia

Nadine Jules with daughter.

Awesome attendance at Merritt Rotary Park on Aboriginal Day

Furthermore with the beating of the drums and performing dancers. Everyone in attendance had a amazing day!

Rotary Park

People enjoying the festivities.

Pounding of Your Heartbeat

Above all hearing the Drum beat along with the vocals gathers all peoples together, regardless of gender, belief, or race. The throbbing pull of the Drum connects us, one to another, with the pounding Heartbeat of Mother Earth.

The Drummers. Leanard Bear Shirt, Robin Boston, Nadine Jules, Joelee Meldrum, Nate Dawgg. Red Spotted Horse.

A Bit of Culture Education

Drumming has always played a significant role in education, healing, history and ceremonies of the Native American peoples. Oral histories and stories, accompanied by drumming, play a vital role in passing on ancestral traditions and customs to new generations.

Warming of the Drum.

The Sound of the Drums Could be Heard Through Out the Nicola Valley

Nate Dawgg. Drummer & Dancer

Additionally A Teepee Was Set Up For All To Enjoy

Getting in touch with my Aboriginal Heritage.

Celebrating Indigenous Culture

Especially seeing all the Regalia and the dancing can transform you back in time.

 

 

Full Regalia

After All

Proclaimed June 21  National Aboriginal Day in 1996. It is a day to celebrate Canada’s First Nation’s Aboriginal peoples. Make sure you mark your calendar next year, June 21.

Teepee set up at Merritt BC Rotary Park for Aboriginal Day Celebrations.

Aboriginal Day in the Nicola Valley