“We’re trying to make an annual event where we can bring together people of all different types of Western culture and art,” Scott Grattidge states, “and have a celebration of that during a time of year when it’s a little chilly and it’s a great time to get together.”

Scott Grattidge, Executive Director with the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation, is proud to share about their upcoming Bunkhouse Bonanza, a western cultural event for all ages and all walks of life.

A few decades ago, Cochrane was home to the Western Heritage Centre, a place dedicated to educating guests about Canadian western culture. Today, that building is the Cochrane Ranchehouse, home of the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation’s Bunkhouse Bonanza since 2023.

The Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation was founded in 1980, boasting their own act of legislation by the provincial government, tasking members to familiarize the public with the lore of the livestock industry that brought a large number of people out to the West.

“We work to teach general appreciation of the social and economic impact that had on this area,” Grattidge says. “So in fulfilling our mandate, this is a way that we can let people experience a lot of different things around agriculture and livestock that help shape the traditions we have today.”

From toddlers to 90 year olds, the Bunkhouse Bonanza is for all ages… but not on all days.

Thursday, January 18th- closed to the public

The Bonanza hosts nearly 500 junior high students from the area! Here, they will receive curriculum teaching on the heritage of their home province.

Local seniors’ homes have also been invited to Thursday’s events in order to experience culture in a less hectic environment. These attendants are welcome between 3:00pm and 4:00pm.

Friday, January 19th- conference attendees only

Partnering with Red Bow Agriculture, the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation has partnered to host Ladies Livestock Lessons. Prior registration required.

Saturday, January 20th- open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Events include cowboy poetry, art, saddle-making, leatherwork, blacksmithing, and music. Educational groups from Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and the University of Calgary, among others will also be in attendance.

Concerts happen at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. by The Smalleyes Family, sharing dancing, drumming, cowboy poetry, and The Travelling Mabels.

General admission to Saturday’s events is free.

Grattidge hopes that this year’s event is just as well-received as last year’s, noting a warm and hopeful desire to educate and inform, as well as entertain, people from both near and far.

“We’ve tried to invite as many different groups as possible, because that’s the other piece we wanted to provide,” Grattidge shares. “We want to bring the community together, ALL peoples in our community. So we've tried to bring in a lot of those local groups, and if they've got some sort of Western connection or cultural connection, they can highlight that.”

The Bunkhouse Bonanza happens January 18th to 20th at the Cochrane Ranchehouse. For more information, visit stockmen.ca or visit Eventbrite for concert tickets.