By Mark McMillan
The BC Cowboy Heritage Society picked Len Monical of 108 Mile Ranch as the 2016 recipient of the Joe Martin Memorial Award for the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in BC.
The award was presented to Len at the 20th Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival on March 19 during the Saturday evening feature show at the Calvary Community Church.
As the 2016 recipient, Len undoubtedly fits the requirements of this award as he is both a cowboy and an artist. It is one of his bronzes that is used as the trophy for the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Here’s a little about Len.
Len was born in Oregon in 1939 and has never stopped living the cowboy way of life … riding, training working dogs, cutting horses, and sharing that knowledge with the public through his art … most notably with his bronzes.
In 1962, Len’s family bought 30,000 acres now known as the 105 Mile Ranch. Len ranched/cowboyed with his father and brothers, Robert and Wendell, until the ranch was sold to Block Brothers in the 1970s.
He continued his work with horses, including training cutting horses that earned their way into the Canadian Cutting Horse Hall of Fame. He still spends time helping his neighbours and family whenever they need help with cattle work.
In the 1980s, Len started with sculpture. He spent some time in Florida learning methods from respected painter and sculptor Eugene Shortridge.
Len says he likes a challenge, and likes learning something new, so before long he’d perfected his technique and was commissioned to create several cast bronze trophies for equine events.
To name just a couple of the many pieces: Len has sculpted the trophy for the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame, made many of the awards for the BC Country Music Association, and even did one for British Royalty – a cowboy and his cutting horse in action that was presented to Prince Philip in 1983.
Len figures he’s made about 50 pieces over the years, all of which show action.
“If you can’t capture the action, all you have is a statue.”
His bronze work includes horses, cowboys, rodeo, working dogs, ranch life and wildlife.
The BC Cowboy Heritage Society is proud to add the name Len Monical to the list of recipients for the Annual Joe Martin Memorial Award for the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in BC.
Mark McMillan is the BC Cowboy Heritage Society president.