Events

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!

Follow Canadian Country Music Singer – Ian Tyson

Facebook

Website

Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada

Take Me To The Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt, BC, Canada

 

 Rockin’ River  Fest 2019 in Merritt B.C. Canada. A country music festival that takes place annually, on the BC Day long weekend, in Merritt, BC – incidentally the community is also the ‘Country Music Capital of Canada’.

“Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada. “

With wonderful campgrounds all along the pristine Coldwater River that meanders through the grounds.

Great music joined with Merritt BC’s beautiful pristine Coldwater River makes a great weekend of “Pure Country Fun”. The Rockin River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC Canada.

Rockin River employees make it look easy. Very organized.

Equally important is how organized the workers at the gates were.

Majestic view surrounding the Valley.

Parking Available.

If you haven’t experienced riding the “Bus” than you truly haven’t experienced “Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada. ”

Riding the “Bus”.

Introducing Kenny Hess

Born in Outlook, Saskatchewan and raised in the small town of Fernie BC, Kenny was the middle child of a large working class family of 6 brothers and 2 sisters. Kenny Hess has now been a part of the music industry since the 80’s when he started a life of making music for a living.

When Kenny Hess hit the stage, the crowd went wild!

Furthermore with several songs reaching the top 40 nationally and 14 critically acclaimed CDs. Kenny has also been nominated for Canadian Country Music Awards, and has won several BC country music awards including Male vocalist of the year, and Album of the year

Icons!

Local Merritt Country Singer Bobby Garcia. Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada.

Bobby Garcia was born and raised in Merritt BC. He has deep roots in traditional country music which he writes and sings about in his latest album These Boots. An up and coming country music artist Bobby loves singing and performing at local festivals and venues across British Columbia.  Check out the album These Boots on iTunes, Spotify and Google music. “Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada. “

 

These Boots.

Bobby Garcia n Six More Strings at Merritt Rockin River 2019.

Coupled with breathtaking scenery and amazing music “Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada. ” commits to everyone having a whole lot of fun.

A perfect place to spend a BC Day long weekend – for music lovers, families, young people, retirees, campers, RV enthusiasts, sports and outdoor fans.

Exciting weekend for all at “The Rockin’ River Music Fest” in Merritt BC. Canada. Thursday is the night for Merritt locals to enjoy a night of great entertainment.

Rockin’ River Music Fest works hard to provide an experience everyone will remember for years.

Additionally the Rockin River participants are truly the stars!

All the way from Saskatchewan!

First night of River Rockin Fest!

Not to mention the people from other Provinces who attended  “Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada. ”

All the way from Prince Albert Saskatchewan. Cowboy Hat “check”, Jean Jacket “check”, along with a beautiful smile, all in order for a great time!

In case you feel like riding a “Bull”, a mechanical “Bull” that is.

8 seconds on a “mechanical” bull.

This is not an easy ride.

Many activities to choose from while at Rockin’ River Fest 2019 in Merritt BC, Canada.

A little help from a friend!

Regardless, watching from ground level or high in the stands the experience is astronomical.

Up in the stands, what a view!

Many happy spectators!

Together with great friends is pure “Fun”, at Rockin River Merritt BC 2019.

A great night to meet a long time friend.

Great friends having a good time.

 

Never fear, friends are near!

Friends enjoying Rockin River!

Merritt Rockin River Festee’s!

Beautiful smile = beautiful time.

What a great night to celebrate your Birthday!

Owing a big Cheer to Kenny Hess

Perfect entertainer to start the weekend off!

For example Kenny Hess can “Rock” the stage.

Kenny Hess playing Johnny Cash.

To repeat “Everyone”  truly loved Kenny Hess’s performance.

Kenny Hess

Furthermore Brett Kissel also graced the stage at Rockin River 2019.

Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel is a Canadian country singer who is recognized for pure country songs such as, “Canadian Kid”, “Drink, Cuss or Fish”, including “Hockey Please Come Back”.

 

Kissel recorded his first album, Keepin’ It Country, when he was 12 years old. The youngest CCMA nominee in the history of the awards show, which he received at the age of 16.

An amazing Canadian Country Music Artist, Brett Kissel.

Dancing to Brett Kissel at River Rockin 2019.

Rockin River Music Fest Merritt BC.

The Rockin’ River Music Fest in Merritt BC. Canada. Country music festival that takes place annually, on the BC Day long weekend, in Merritt, BC, Canada. A great summertime experience for the whole family. Rumor has it that Keith Urban will be performing at Rockin River 2020 in Merritt BC.  My hat n boots will be ready! Mark your Calendar!

Keith Urban. www.zimbio.com/photos/

Merritt BC, Canada Rockin’ River Fest 2019

Country Music is in the Nicola Valley in Canada

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

 

 

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle Expo – Merritt BC Canada

A Merritt Country Run Event

“I was not disappointed as I was fortunate enough to connect with some very good quality people. Some for the very first time.”

I recently attended the Lifestyle Expo in Merritt BC Canada in the Nicola Valley. The expo is a lead up event to the annual Merritt Country Run being held today Sunday June 9th, 2019. As I start writing this blog the Merritt Country Run is about to finish and the winners probably have already been decided.

Lifestyle Expo Booths – Merritt Country Run

Congrats Merritt

A congratulation is in order to the winners of the running event. Woot! Woot! And I would also like to say thank you to all the participating runners and to the volunteers who worked endless hours in preparation for the event. The Merritt Country Run features a 5 km, 10 km and Half Marathon route. Consequently, the participants arrive for the running event from all over British Columbia, Canada and beyond.

Lifestyle Expo

However, lets get back on point and discuss the recent Lifestyle Expo I attended at the Civic Centre in Merritt BC Canada. To sum it up the premise of the Lifestyle Expo is to encourage, and educate a healthy mental and physical lifestyle when living in the Nicola Valley. Secondly, the event showed the many benefits of a healthy outlook on life. Lastly, lets not forget, we all can use a healthy reminder and encouragement now and then.

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Merritt Tourism is a Lifestyle

Tourism Nicola Valley (TNV) and our friends at Experience Nicola Valley (ENV) were in attendance supporting the Lifestyle Expo event. The Experience Nicola Valley exhibit on site was there to promote the many tourism and adventure opportunities available in the valley as healthy activities, as well as, introduce the new TNV programs promoting participating businesses, non profits, clubs and societies.

Meet Experience Nicola Valley

At the Lifestyle Expo the community bloggers who maintained the booth and who took the time to talk with visitors were Melvina White (Country Music Blogger), Rob Lee (Outdoor Blogger), Jordyn Lee (Youth Blogger), Monique Robinson (Community Blogger), Jano Howarth (Arts Blogger) and Tania Stewart (Eco Blogger).

Live Health Seminar at Lifestyle Expo

Good People. Good Event.

However, you know what is really encouraging at any of the events I have attended here in the Nicola Valley are the good people we meet from the community. It was also positive to see that City Councillors Tony Luck, Adam Etchart, Melvina White and Mike Bhangu made an appearance at different times during the show. Each taking some time out of their busy schedules to interact with various exhibits and attendees. Good on them!

Everybody enjoys being around positive and happy people and at this event I was not disappointed as I was fortunate enough to connect with some very good quality people. Some for the very first time. Lastly I have learned from experience that it is important for local tourism leaders and city representatives to show support by making an effort to attend community initiatives like the Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo.

Massage with Country Music Blogger

Lifestyle Exhibitors

At the Lifestyle Expo in Merritt there were businesses, services and associations from the Nicola Valley and Kamloops. Some of which the crew at Experience Nicola Valley have blogged about and many are participating members on the Tourism Nicola Valley website. I was fortunate to have had a chance to meet with some very nice and professional people manning the booths for:

Crossfit Merritt
Sara Ross Massage
PFN Coaching
Q101
Canadian Tire
Runners Sole
Brambles Bakery 
Planet Women
and more…

Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Casey Clarke Country Music Television and Radio

Merritt BC Murals in the Nicola Valley

An on air and TV personality that has been a great ambassador and friend of Merritt BC Canada

The Merritt BC Murals in the Nicola Valley feature a country music personality named Casey Clarke. A name sitting near the top of the list in the country music world of television and radio. If you love listening to country music it is a safe bet you know who Casey Clarke is.

The Start Of The Broadcasting Career

Casey was born and raised in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. It was here on the prairies, growing up, where Casey found his calling in broadcasting. Casey Clarke started his  television and radio career at a very early age too. Radio first came calling for Casey Clarke in Westlock, Alberta at CFOK Radio Station. Soon later he was behind the mic with Mountain FM Whistler/Squamish BC.  Everyone who knows Casey could see that Casey’s broadcasting career was off and running.

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Casey’s next stop was Vancouver, BC, Canada where he jumped on board with “The Satellite Radio Network” and was syndicated on 71 radio stations across Canada. Followed later by an offer to join the team at Silk FM at which time Casey made the move to Kelowna, BC, Canada. Casey took a liking to his radio career and kept moving forward. He was once heard saying,

“This is such a dynamic field filled with unbelievable challenges!”

The Television Career Begins For Casey Clarke

1997 took Casey Clarke from Kelowna, BC to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to join the Country Music Television show known as CMT. Clarke served as Director of Programming at both CMT Canada and Country 95.3 (Hamilton/Toronto-Canada’s most listened to Country Station). While at 95.3 he organized Canada’s largest free outdoor Country show every Canada Day.

“The face of CMT” (Country Music Television) according to some was Casey Clarke)

Casey’s 15 year radio stint has earned him the title, “the face” of CMT. Casey Clarke is one of the most recognizable personalities in Canada in the country music industry.

Casey Clarke Awards and Credits

In 2009. The Country Music Association World International Awards, honored Casey Clarke with the broadcaster of the year award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement, by a radio broadcaster or syndicated radio reporter. The award recognizes that Casey has made important contributions for the development of country music, in his/her country outside the United States.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Back to Radio

The Casey Clarke Show” as well as “The Casey Clarke Countdown” is syndicated on radio stations across Canada. As a result they are both active in major and secondary markets. Casey hosts a variety of artist album specials on national radio as well. He is also the main radio personality conducting onsite interviews with the headlining artists, at all major Canadian Country Music Festivals.  As well as his radio programs. Clarke’s company Casey Clark Productions also co-produced “The Chevy Cross Canada Countdown” which Clarke hosted for seven seasons.

In 2012 a show on CMT that Casey was involved with, “Employee Of The Week”, won the”Program of The Year Award” from the Canadian Country Music Association.

Casey Clarke’s Merritt Mural

The on-air and TV personality has been a great ambassador and host for Merritt BC Canada. He has commanded the stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, as well as, the stage for some Walk of Stars Gala events. He has been a staple at the “Rockin River Music Fest” since 2015. Casey will grace the stage again at the 2019 Rockin’ River Fest.

Casey has continued to support the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame for many years. It was his dedication to the country music scene in Merritt BC Canada that earned him his space on a wall forming part of the Merritt BC Murals. Casey Clarke’s Mural can be seen at 2015 Nicola Street. He is on the wall with his colleague, and country music singer”Beverly Mahood”.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

Still Connecting with Country’s Biggest Stars

Casey is currently the Program Director for the Morning Show for Stingray Country 100.7 in Kelowna, BC. He has held this position since January, 2013. Radio and Event Host Casey Clarke shows no signs of slowing down.

Follow Casey Clarke on his website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

 

Merritt Mural Downtown 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 Casey Clarke website, and social media pages.

The Chair Walk, Merritt BC

July 10, 2019 to August 7, 2019

“Chairs like you have never seen before”

Art in Merritt BC. Art in Merritt comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. There are art galleries for you to enjoy, craft markets where many different artists participate, as well as, various venues with live entertainment. Locals and visitors will also enjoy the “Chair Walk”, the latest addition to the art experience while exploring Merritt BC Canada.

How does the Chair Walk Work?

The Chair Walk is modeled after a self-guided walking tour. Many communities provide self guided art walks including Merritt and the Nicola Valley. The Chair Walk will soon be one of the many art experiences to enjoy alongside the Merritt Murals, Walk Of Stars and many others.

However, one should know, the Chair Walk is different than many other art exhibits because it is a fund raiser for the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and the Nicola Valley Community Theatre Society . The Chair Walk has some unique twists and turns that are not found in your every-day conventional Art Walk. It will be well worth the walk.

The Chair Walk is an army of community minded artists coming together for a good cause by donating their time and talents to producing some amazing art creations in the form of chairs.  While the basis of the work is a common chair, there is nothing common about the finished results. But hold on! That is all we can tell you about it right now because it is a surprise. You will have to come to Merritt BC Canada this summer and take the walking tour to see the collection of creative chair masterpieces.

What will the chairs look like?

The Business Community is on board.

Of course, all this effort by the artists would be for naught if the businesses did not see this as a valuable event, not only for themselves, but for the whole town in fostering art in Merritt. You will find that the interesting thing is the large variety of businesses involved.  There are flower shops, restaurants, auto parts dealers, a bike shop, sportswear, gift shops and many others for you to visit. All with their own versions of chair art.

Making Money for Art in Merritt, BC

Whereas the artists and business are crucial, you will be the ones to determine the success of this event.

Each chair will be the subject of a silent auction 

However, if you are not going to bid on a chair you can still help the cause. Each chair will have a piggy bank placed nearby where you can make a donation.  As a side note, the banks are fun to see as they come in all sizes and shapes too.

“Families, children, teens, seniors, singles, tourists, and couples are all encouraged to support this event as it will not only be a fun summer activity but also help make Merritt become a better community in which to live.” says Team Leader for the Chair Project, Shirley

Inviting Store Front promoting Art in Merritt

Art in Merritt is worth the effort

The Chair Walk will give you a great introduction to our wonderful little City.  While you travel to each venue you will pass by other attractions that might interest you,  such as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

In addition,  if you are into museums visit the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives.  You will find great information on the local history including the Indigenous peoples of the region.  You can also take in the many murals of the country stars that have played at our annual summer music fest. 

The Merritt Murals are another example of art in Merritt that is on public display. There are said to around 20+ murals depicting country music stars. All painted by Michelle Loughery.

Accommodations Galore!

While experiencing the Chair Walk you may find time flies by fast.  There are fifteen art sites spread out around town. Therefore, if you are from out of town you will want to consider staying over night. Accommodations in Merritt are varied from first class hotels to camping in the wilderness.

What to expect with art in Merritt

You will see some amazing creations, you will feel the small town experience and you could win a prize at the same time.  Just get your passport stamped at all fifteen venues and you will be entered into the draw. You will walk away feeling proud that you participated in the Chair Walk  in Merritt.

Chair Walk – Art in Merritt BC Canada

Hilly Half Marathon in Merritt, BC

Scenery in the Nicola Valley Can’t be Beat

“The views are worth every bit of the challenge” –Andrea

Running in Merritt is the subject of my first ever blog.  Mary Jorgensen,  as a new comer to Merritt BC Canada, was disappointed by the fact that there wasn’t a run in Merritt so she took the bull by the horns, got a small band of like minded people together, and the Merritt Country Run was born.

They’re off and running in Merritt, BC, Canada

The Merritt Country Run provides four different distances. Namely,” 2Xtrack(800M)”, 5K, 10K and the 1/2 Marathon.  Of all the distances the 1/2 Marathon is the ultimate “running in Merritt” experience.  Whereas runs on the Stanley Park Sea Wall are flat and easy, this run is hilly and really tests your endurance. While the route may be hilly our participants say:

“The views are worth every bit of the challenge” –Andrea 

The Views While Running in Merritt, BC

The race starts at Voght Park, with the first part of the journey travelling beside the Coldwater River.  However, after the first kilometer you meet your first challenging hill.  This part of the run travels North East and gives you views out over the City’s golf course and the grasslands of the southern interior.  If you have ever seen a wrinkle dog then you get the idea of what the grasslands look like.

View of Golf Course and Grasslands

View of Golf Course and Grasslands

The good thing is that when you reach the top of Juniper Hill you have over 8 kilometers before the next one! Your reward at the top of the hill is running through the Bench Subdivision.  The fragrance of the pines as you run along Mountain Way screams out “Summer Vacation.”

While I could go on about the views, I will only cover three more spots.  When you travel along the City’s Truck Route you get to see the booming metropolis  of Merritt, BC.  Secondly, when you are running out along Lindley Creek Road you get a magnificent view of the Nicola River as it flows down to the Fraser River at Spences Bridge.  Finally, your last leg borders the Coldwater  River where the babbling sounds of the river sooth your soul as you roll to the finish line back at Voght Park.

Merritt Country Run

The Booming Metropolis of Merritt

Merritt Country Run

The Home Stretch beside the Coldwater River

Come for the Running in Merritt enjoy the Nicola Valley

The temperature can be warm at this time of year so we start the half marathon at 8:00AM.  If you are coming from out of town it is best to come the day before.  You have many choices of accommodation from first class hotels, motels, B&B’s and of course camping.

To get full service camping you need to choose the in town sites of Claybanks RV or Moon Shadows RV Park.    Choosing Monk Park provides you with all the comforts of a Provincial Campground on the shores of beautiful Nicola Lake.  Alternatively, if you are into more rustic, Kane Valley and Lundbom Lake provide lakeside camping with minimal fan fare.

If this is not your year to attempt running in Merritt then remember that the Country Run is always the second Sunday in June.  You don’t have to wait for the run to enjoy Merritt.  Go to Experience Nicola Valley to get the scoop on all the exciting things to do in the Nicola Valley.  After all, we are just a hop skip and jump away from Vancouver (3 hours), an hour + from the Okanagan and 45 minutes from Kamloops.

There will be more news on the Running in Merritt in the coming future so stay tuned.

Merritt Country Run in the Nicola Valley