Three performers from Western Canada came to 100 Mile House to show off their skills at the Cowboy Concert at Martin Exeter Hall on Feb. 10.
“I think it went great. Everybody I talked to after when they all walked out said: ‘good job again.’ Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it and I enjoyed it of course”, said organizer Mark McMillan.
Two shows were held there, a matinee at 2 p.m. and the regular showing at 7 p.m., with 210 people showing up at the former and 155 at the latter.
“Attendance was down but it wasn’t down as much as we expected it to be going from ticket sales the week before,” said McMillan.
“So we did sell a lot of tickets last minute which helped,” said McMillan.
The three performers were Matt Johnston, Bryan “Bj” Smith and Ed Peekeekoot.
“They are all so different from each other but they’re all awesome in their own way,” said McMillan about the artists.
Johnston resides in Clearwater and is a farrier, leather worker and runs a trail ride business in Wells Gray Park in addition to being a singer-songwriter.
Smith is from Alberta and has the most impressive resume a cowboy could probably have. He is an Equine Canada Certified Horse Association riding coach, horse trainer, packer, guide, clinician, survival expert and had a career in the RCMP. Smith is now the president of the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association and has authored three books and won the Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Award for best cowboy poetry CD A Cowboy Collaboration with singer-songwriter, Ed Brown.
Headlining the event was Peekeekoot, a native of Saskatchewan but now residing on Vancouver Island.
Raised on the Ahtahkaloop Cree First Nation, roughly 140 kilometres from Saskatoon, Peekeekoot maintains a strong connection to his Cree heritage and opened his set with a traditional flute.
He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing the guitar, fiddle and banjos.
Twice being nominated for the BC Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year award, he was also nominated for the EP of the Year award for his effort Two Worlds. His album In the Key of Cree was nominated for the Best Country CD in the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards.
The proceeds from ticket sales go to either student scholarships or help support the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame.
The 100 Mile House Cowboy Concert was originally started 18 years ago in support of Danny Lytton, who was crippled in a rodeo accident.
“From there we just saw that everyone loved it so we decided to do it again the next year,” said McMillan. “But is also meant as a preview or a teaser for the Kamloops Cowboy Festival.”
The Kamloops Cowboy Festival runs from March 15 to March 18.