I Want to Marry a Cowboy

Bonnie's PostWhen I was a little girl I told my grandparents that I wanted to marry a cowboy.  Amused, they told me that I better be prepared for a really tough life full of long hard days of work with never much to show for it.  Oh, well never mind then.

I was reminded of that thought this past weekend while in Prince George to honour our brother in law, Gil Bowe, who recently passed away.  I want to share with you a small part of his story:

Gilly BoweGilbert Bernard Bowe   October 17, 1930 ~ May 2, 2009

A Country gentleman and legend passes onto greener pastures……

At the Kamloops Cowboy Festival in 2003 Gil Bowe was inducted in to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Competitive Achievements Category:

Gilbert (Gilly) Bowe was born in 1930 and raised at Springhouse, near Williams Lake, BC – one of eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Bowe. Gilbert Sr. was the son of Henry Bowe, and the grandson of Herman Bowe who founded the Alkali Lake Ranch in 1860. Gil began riding broncs as a youngster and began his rodeo career when he was in his early teens, riding steers and bareback. As an adult he competed in most events, from bronc riding to the infamous mountain race. He topped the steer decorating and won the saddle bronc at the 1957 Williams Lake Stampede. In Chelan, Washington, in 1960, Gil scored a 94 in saddle bronc – a score unchallenged anywhere in Canada or the US  for many years.

In 1961 he entered 6 main events at Burnaby Lake and won every one – plus the all-round buckle. He was ranked in the top three in all of Canada for all-round cowboy. For seven years he rode on the pro circuit in saddle bronc, calf roping, bare back, bull riding, and steer wrestling. Gil always was more than willing to help out at the drop of a hat. He was one of the founding members of the Interior Rodeo Association, which later became the BCRA. Gil also operated his own leather and saddle shop – the “Rodeo Shop” where he hand built saddles, producing as many as 20 saddles a year. He built many trophy saddles for the different rodeo associations of BC. Since Gil retired from rough stock he spent much of his time competing in team roping as a header or heeler and continued to host BCTRA events at his home arena in Red Rock. Gilly spent years on the amateur and professional rodeo circuit as a competitor and a judge.

I realized after this weekend what it was that made me think I wanted to marry a cowboy all those years ago.  To me cowboys are masculine and as tough as it gets but with a really soft kind side to them.  That is how I saw Gil too.  You had to lean in to hear him when he spoke and you wanted to hear every word because you knew he always had a good story to tell.


I did finally marry my cowboy by the way.  He had long ago hung up his chaps but the essence of “cowboy” that I was looking for is still prominent.  (I plan on getting him in those chaps again one night…I mean day… too!)



  • Tracy Westerholm

    I want to “Date” a cowboy! What’s the saying ‘save a horse and ride a ……okay we were all thinking it and I may as well be the one to say it out loud. Yes Bon you can always count on me! T xoxo
    Nice story I enjoyed reading it, cowboys are real men !! And what girl doesn’t love horses !! I dream of them all the time! Horses that is! They save me in my dreams!

    • denna rose

      Hello, my name is Denna Rose and I too love cowboys. I think they are respectful especially to women and know how to treat a lady. I truly love horses and farm animals. I am willing to get down and dirty with my partner, taking care of the livestock as well as be a true lady at other time also. I think there is not anything any sexier than a man in a cowboy hat and chaps. I am a passionate person and I love to show affection. I want my partner to know he is loved without any doubt. What I mean to say is I put my heart and soul into my relationship and my partner knows I am beside him without any hesitation or doubt. Could you tell me a good site to go to to meet real genuine cowboys?

  • Francesco

    Coming from the E. Kootenays and knowing ranchers there & in S. Alberta, I knew many “Cowboy” families…in business & in the Rodeo circuits and his wonderful story is shared by many men in a variety of forms. You may wish to take a step and share some time with the wives of these men. The Women are equally heroic, strong, brave and full of Love… As a young man…I “endured the masterful leadership” of two of those women & they could each out work virtually any man that was not a Cowboy…AND raise the kids, pets, horses, garden…etc… I love Cowgirls… (ps…In my opinion, The Best Event at any Rodeo… Women’s Barrel Racing…love to watch the horses run & ladies ride fast..!!…)

  • Al Deeves

    My grandmother was the oldest child of 11 – the offspring of of Herman Otto Bowe’s daughter – Emma and James Kirkpatrick.
    She was born a Dog Creek B.C. (1896) but lived at the Alkali Lake Ranch until the early 1900’s.
    I had the occasion to meet Gillie Bowe a couple of times at the Bowe family reunion west of Williams Lake in the past 2-5 years. I just wished that I was able to attend this year.

    • Ed Collinge

      Well Bonnie & Al,
      It would appear we are related. Herman Otto Bowe is or was my Grandmothers Grandfather. My Grandmother was Julia Charolete Eagle.
      Have you guys been to any of the family get togethers. Ken & Kay Larson were handling alot of the organization of the reunions, but sadly I’ve lost touch with them. I imagine their daughter Donna would be the one to speak with, if you have any info I would love to reconnect with the family. Feel free to pass on my email to them if you would.
      Thank You, Ed

      • Bonnie Johnson

        Hi Ed,
        Thanks for visiting us. I am only related to the Bowes because my husband’s sister married Gil Bowe. I do know that there is a Bowe reunion every summer. My niece always goes so I will send her your contact info so that she can give you the details. You should go and reconnect with everyone, I’ve heard they are a lot of fun! Let me know if you do. 🙂

  • Carol Hopkins

    I guess it comes down to soo many of the old ones dying off there is a need to see family again. I come from Julia
    Charlotte (Eagle) Wright, granddaughter of Herman Otto Bowie. I too am looking for any information you maybe able to give me on the family reunions.
    Thank you very much.

    • Leona Meers

      Hi Carol I think we may have known each other as kids , Julia Charlotte was my great grandmother. If you are still looking for info on the Bowe family reunions my best friend was engaged to a Bowe, small world eh? They r not together anymore but she still is in touch with him so I could get that info for you. Whereas we are decended from Charlotte Bowe , her fiancé was decended from Henry Otto Bowe (Charlottes brother)
      All the best , Leona

  • Drew

    my grandfather was a cowboy in his days, horses, I was a bull rider, , nice to hear stories about cowboys with good hearts, I don’t rodeo any more, but people still can tell my hat I’m a cowboy, but use to be a bull rider. always makes me smile. Hope for me yet, to find a nice girl who will love this cowboy , cause being with- filled my life, being with out, is another lonely time,but i’m hopefull, that onedy to have a girl who will love this ole cowboy,keeps me smilen

  • elizabeth wright

    hi my name is elizabeth wright julia and john miltion wright were my grandparents my father is miltion charles wright just looking for any info at all for my son any help is greatly appriecated 🙂

    • Leona Meers

      Hi Elizabeth my great grandparents were Julia and Milton John Wright, my grandmother was Julia Josephine Wright and my mom is Alice . Im not sure what information you are looking for but my mom is still alive and she knows tons of family history. When my grandparents died I realised all the people that knew all the history were dieing off so I have started looking into some of the history . I have found where Herman is buried and I am even thinking of taking a trip to the cariboo in a couple of weeks. Let me know what info u r looking for

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