Two long time attendees and supporters of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo who passed away this year were remembered with dedication presentations after the opening ceremonies for the 62nd annual event on Sept. 3, in the rodeo arena.
Family and friends of the two men gathered with NTFFRA rodeo managers Dick and Carmen Ross in the arena while the dedications were read by the rodeo announcer. The group were flanked on both sides by the rodeo’s mounted flag carriers and the crowd was noticeably silent as the dedication took place.
A cowboy rode into the arena leading another horse that was saddled but carried no rider in memory of Mike Puhallo, and two pony chuckwagons, with two men in each drove into the arena in memory of Sam Moore. The drivers in each had removed their hats in respect for Sam as they took this drive for him.
There were not too many dry eyes as the announcer read the following dedications:
In memory of Mike Puhallo –
“At the age of 58, Mike passed away on June 24, 2011, after a short battle with cancer. He was surrounded by love as he wrapped his legs around Pegasus and cut a trail for God’s Arena.
“Mike was born in Kamloops B.C. on April 6, 1953, and was the fourth of five children born to Steve and Kay Puhallo.
“He was a rodeo cowboy, a cattle rancher, an artist, a cowboy poet, a horse trainer, a truck driver, a pilot, a historian, a philosopher but above all – he was a wonderful husband and best friend to his wife Linda of 35 years, and adored father to children Paul and Sharlene. Mike also leaves behind his father Steve and siblings: Sue (Jim), Pete (June), Patti (Gerd), Gord (Diana) and their families.
“Mike was a founding member and the president of the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society. He was Canada’s most published cowboy poet. Two of his books received the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Excellence in Cowboy Poetry. His three CD’s were nominated for Cowboy Poetry Album of the Year and in 2009 he was named the Academy of Western Artist’s Cowboy Poet of the year. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medallion in 2003 and in 2006 and was one of the nominees for Canadian Parliamentary Poet laureate.
“Mike’s stage performances have been well received by audiences throughout Western Canada and the North Western United States. He was a feature performer at nearly every major Cowboy Poetry gathering.
“His poetry reached out and touched western people where they live, through the experiences and feelings that are shared by all those who live close to the land. The reason his poetry was so real is simple … this Cowboy had ‘bin’ there and done ‘that’.
“Those who achieve success are those who take a dream and make it come true
“You’re riding for Heaven’s brand now Mike. We will sure miss you – and don’t forget to pause from time to time – to smell the ‘Sage and Pine’. Happy trails my friend.”
In memory of Sam Moore –
“Sam was born in Silver Creek B.C. on the 4th of May 1935 to William and Edith Moore. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on the 22nd of February 2011.
“Sam was one of the original North Thompson Fall Fair pony chariot and chuckwagon racers, and he never missed a year of not being here at Fair time. The past several years he had hung up his reins, but was still very active as a Judge or Starter.
“In 1963 Sam and his wife Peggy moved to the Caribou. They lived in several places and eventually settled with their family on a ranch at Green Lake. He eventually sold the ranch after the death of his wife Peggy in 2004. He moved to Lone Butte and then to Gateway where he continued to ranch and sell hay with his best friend and partner Jennifer Spence up until the time of his death.
“In 1969 he took up the sport of pony chariot/chuckwagon racing. He had a lifelong passion for the sport and enjoyed all aspects of it. Sam was also involved in the rodeo world as a pick up man, and he raised bucking bulls. He was a logger, trucker and rancher.
“Joining us today along with Jennifer are two of his four children, Gary and wife Eleanor and Shirley and husband Randy.
“We have dedicated a tree here in memory of Sam. It is planted next to the racetrack with the inscription that reads:
In memory of Samuel Hanna Moore.
An original pony chariot/chuckwagon driver and all time
supporter of the
Fall Fair & Rodeo.
Affectionately remembered by his friends and associates of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association
“Sam – we hope your ponies and wagon will take you on a new adventure and that it is as joy filled and exhilarating as your time was here with us. You will be sadly missed.”
After the dedication in the rodeo arena, another dedication took place for Mike Puhallo at the Fall Fair’s outdoor stage where Mike had spent many hours entertaining fair visitors each year with his poetry and good humour. Mike also booked the entertainers each year for the Fair’s Cowboy Concert, and he was always willing to drop by to say a poem or two for the numerous events that the NTFFRA sponsored on the fairgrounds. Cowboy singer/songwriter Gordie West gave the dedication at the stage, and read Mike’s famous ‘Sage and Pine’ poem for the audience. In Mike’s memory a pine tree and sage bush, donated by Amaranth Farm, have been planted next to the stage where a plaque has also been placed. It reads:
In Memory of
Long time participant and supporter of
Affectionately remembered by your friends and associates of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association
Mike, you can now take the time to “smell the sage and pine.”
Sage and Pine
by Mike Puhallo
I’ve travelled to your cities
And for some they might be fine
But I find myself a missin’
the smell of ‘Sage and Pine’
Now I’m just a country poet
Not prone to fancy verse
My grammar is atrocious
My spelling even worse
My tales are plain an’ honest
Like the children of the soil
The cowboys, ranchers and farmers
Whose work is honest toil
The urban crowd don’t like my prose
They’ll pick at every line
My poems ain’t read in fancy theatres
Where they sip champagne and wine
And I sure ain’t rich or famous
But that just suits me fine
Cause you don’t need fame or fortune
To smell ‘the Sage and Pine’