Cowley's Rafter Six Book of Legends "What People are Saying!"

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ink quill pen and indigo inkThe Cowley Family and Staff of Rafter Six welcome Y'all to come and visit, and share your stories and memories with us and our family of freinds!

Please take a few minutes to read a few of the experiences and stories that have become a part of the history of Rafter Six Ranch Resort and "The Rafter Six Book of Legends"!



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Loss of a Great Brother, Father, Uncle, Friend & Artist and so much more to so many people....

Ray Cowley

1942 ~ 2014

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Ray's presence at Rafter Six will always be remembered as his artowrk decorated much more than the walls and added much to the western flavour of Rafter Six. Yet not only his art was felt, everyone who knew him often laughed alongside from his humour, wit and smiling face that reflected his true appreciation of life, for his family and the God Given beauty of the mountains, clear mountain air and fresh water where he lived for many years of his life.

Ray was a colourful character much like the art he so skillfully created at Rafter Six and he will always be loved and appreciated by all those who knew him and saw his many works!

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Beloved Son of T. Norman Cowley and Annie Laing Oliphant.

Born in Calgary, the youngest of five Sons, T. David Cowley (Elaine), Stan Cowley (Gloria), Warren Cowley (Jeanette) Norman Cowley (Eileen).

Ray leaves two Sons, Steve Cowley with his wife Amie and grandson Aaron, and James Cowley with his grandsons Brandon, Tim and Jeremy, as well as many nieces nephews, extended family and friends.

Ray’s life passion was art and as a gifted artist who painted and sculpted, he was known for creating western art that captured the essence of his subject. Ray was also curator of the Buffalo Nation’s Luxton Museum in Banff for 20 years.

Ray was proud and honoured to have received his eagle feather and Indian name “Deer Runner” from the Kainai (Blood) Nation.

Ray was an avid westerner and called Rafter Six Ranch home for the last half of his life and contributed much to the character and art of the ranch owned by his brother Stan Cowley and his wife Gloria, their children Cathy, David, Thomas, Kateri, and Daisy-Rae.

Ray loved fast cars and driving the historic stagecoach and buggies for many ranch events and weddings, as well as riding in the Stampede Parade countless times with enthusiasm and a smile a mile wide with the look of a pioneering cowboy frontiersman.

Ray’s sense of humour preceded him and he left us the following statement to be published in the newspaper once he crossed the great divide... “In my life, I made some good deals and some bad deals... but I really went into the hole on this one!”

Ray’s parting humour was to go peacefully in the early hours of April 1st, to give us one last joke, laugh and a wink. His licence plate read CC UU. His blu-Ray player also said “See You”. That was always Ray’s parting words.

So long pardner & Happy Trails!
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On "Party Wright Around The World"...

Hello to you all,

I am a Scotsman living in England and have just watched the film on TV with Mark Wright and was close to tears to see such a wonderful family who have worked so hard for many years to keep a beautiful ranch running.

It saddened me to hear that the Ranch was in difficulty and could possibly close and I could see the life being drained from you all because of this.

The Ranch is your life and obviously a place where many happy memories were made.

After the film I thought that there would have been an update on how you were all getting on and hopefully that the ranch had been saved in some way.

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We are none the wiser over here and know nothing of how things have gone.

I really do hope that you are still living on the Ranch and that business has picked up.

Your brave smiles in times of difficulty made me smile and pray that all goes well for the family.

You're all absolutely amazing people and I wish that the world had more like you all.

Best wishes and hope all goes well for the future of your family and hopefully the Ranch.

Thank you Cowley Family

Derek Macpherson
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Good Ol' Friends!!!

To Stan & Gloria, David, Thomas, Kateri & Daisy,

It is with sadness that we read of your closing of Rafter Six Ranch and that you are forced from your Home, lively hood and one of the most beautiful Places on earth!

Our family has many fond memories as we camped And adventured at your ranch as you took us in as Part of your family!

We prayed, played and worked together and thank you for your friendship!

May The Lord bring you a new blessing and a new song and we pray new strength and vision for your family!

Tom, Keltie Androsoff
Clayton and Amanda Androsoff
Melia Hayes
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Finding Myself, Finding God & Learning To Love at Rafter Six...

Everyone who knew me before I moved to Rafter Six was not the least bit surprised when I graduated and suddenly packed up my boyfriends pickup and together moved across the country to live in the mountains. I had two goals, To work Trail guiding on a ranch and to ride for the Calgary Stampede Ranch Girls team.

Finding myself, finding God, learning to love and igniting a passion to help First Nations kids get good education were not on that list. But that's what happened.

Trail guiding was a mini career, something I had been doing on and off seasonally since the age of 12 and I loved horses and had always owned one for guiding and recreational riding.

So was no big deal to take a job as a trail guide at Rafter Six right? Wrong!!

The first time I drove over that Texas gate to my interview in the dead of winter, every cell in my body felt like something really really big was about to happen in my life.

Then after I got hired, broke up with my boyfriend and traded in our fancy house together in Canmore to live alone in a wall tent on the river without plumbing and beside the Indian Reserve, those who knew me were again not really surprised!

I LOVED my wall tent and called it my new "aparTENT!" I loved living so close to nature and something inside of me screamed this is the way humans were meant to live, close to nature in small close knit communities where everyone had a purpose. I felt so alive.

I literally fell so in Love with the Ranch wrangler lifestyle I traded in my whole life to experience it in its fullness, to live there, work there and play there and even to completely fall in love there.

I gave up life as I knew it, with family, friends, my home, my job and my pets, and my own truck without hesitation.

Everyday of work felt like it wasn't even work. I had found adventure In the west.

Everyone I met felt like instant family. The Cowleys and the other staff literally made me feel so welcome and special that I actually never really felt homesick. There was always something going on and another friend to hang with, and endless things to do outside which was pretty fun all the time!

Like a few transients, I didn't even care if they paid me at first. But I wasn't a transient. I was having so much fun, riding in the mountains everyday then working in their bar at nights. I kind of forgot that I even had a life before coming there. They fed me and gave me a place to live and it was all I needed because I was free and I was loved and appreciated and I knew this.

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I learned more about native peoples history which touched me on such a profound level. I was so moved by my experiences and the interactions with the Stoney's, I took up a part time job at their local school on the Reserve in the slow season and made more touching friendships with the natives. Some of them even came with their kids to one of my campfire birthday parties.

I was very inspired by the kids on the reserve and my work there was the start of my career which is all because of the ranch.

The ranch was busy and life was full. There were awesome horses and riding buddies. They still are the absolute best I've seen as far as trail horses.The scenery and wildlife and campfires and fun was how I spent this big chunk of my twenties.

I was deeply filled with joy serving others because I had this sense that I was finally living for something greater than myself. I was filled with love and never wanted to leave.

My few years at the ranch became unfortunate though in many ways. For one, I came at the end of 2007 while the deals were beginning for potential new development which was exciting but uncertain. There was a sense that a shift was coming. Unfortunately the untimely and tragic deaths of a few close extended Ranch family and staff also were very difficult things to endure. However the Cowley's faith and work ethic helped me through and to this day my work ethic and my faith has been renewed because of these experiences.

I clearly remember on the very first trail ride I guided there and my guest asked me where I was from and "what brought you all the way out here?"

They were probably expecting an answer like "it so pretty here!" Or "because I love horses!" Or "I'm just here until the end of summer". And I could have replied any of those things, but for some reason I told him "I came here to grown up". And that's exactly what happened.

Rafter Six is not just a part of my life, it became a part of me, a part of my actual identity. The Cowley family showed me what it is to be a family and their kindness and generosity made my heart and capacity to love and do good triple in size.

And it was very hard to leave for many reasons when the time came. But it shaped me and I will always tell people where I came from because it makes me proud that I got to call that little slice of Heaven on earth home, even just for a while.

Robyn (Parker) Pilkington
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The Only Ranch With Their ^6 Brand On Every Computer Keyboard ~ Rafter Six!

I just found out about the closing of the Rafter Six Ranch. The only ranch that has its brand on a computer key. Home of the show Grizzly Adams and the movie HOW THE WEST WAS FUN.

When I drove school bus I would pick up the kids in the morning for school. Would go in the lodge for a cup of coffee and walk out after a full breakfast. They are a great family.

The ranch will be missed and sorry I will not be able to visit one last time as I live in Kamloops BC now.

Dave Bierwirth


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Experience Of A Lifetime At Rafter Six!

What a sad story, it’s wrong that this has to end like this.

Seems that we’ve been one of the last guests to stay at Rafter 6.

It was an experience of a lifetime, I just loved it over there and we even felt like we were a “part of the family”, when I got home I immediately told my wife that next year we have to go back to Rafter 6 ranch with the kids cause they missed that this November.

Anyway I really hope the very best for you and pray for some miracle.

Thanks for an amazing 2 days I’ll never forget and keep your heads up, you all deserve it.

Sincerely,

Cedric Gysbrecht
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3 Generations Enjoying The Beauty at Rafter Six...

I am so saddened to receive the news via email of the ranch closure.

Our family holiday at Rafter Six Ranch, I think it was July or Aug. of 2008, remains the best that we remember. 3 generations enjoying the beauty of the ranch and it's people is a time we won't forget.

Everything from our quiet times in the cabin (I believe it was the Moose cabin) to the trail rides, tree top excursion, historical collection in the museum and the family history shared by the beautiful daughter of the Cowley's, to the amazing food and fellowship in front of the stone fire place in the lodge, the inspirational Sunday service in the log Church, and my sweet quiet time with my first grandbaby in the outdoor chapel are all memories we will cherish.

The Sunday service was especially memorable. It was the celebration of a milestone birthday for an elderly man of african descent. He gave such an inspiring message filled with wonderful music and great humor.

We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the celebration and to meet Mrs. Cowley that morning.

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Thank you to the Cowleys and staff at the ranch for creating such an amazing environment for us to enjoy our family moment.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you move through this transition and trust that 2014 holds blessings "far greater than you can dream or imagine".

Sincerely,

The Tom Johnson family, Colinton Alberta.

PS... I should confess...... we enjoyed our time so immensely that we brought home a large stone we picked up on the property and my husband engraved the Rafter Six brand into it.

It now sits in my perennial garden and serves as a symbol to keep our beautiful memories of our time at the ranch alive.
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Amazing Wild Rose Ride at Rafter Six...

My daughter Issabella and I are so very sad to hear that Rafter Six will be no more.

Over the last few years we have had occasion to be at the ranch.

The last two years as part of the amazing Wild Rose Ride, and over the years Issabella's love of riding has been enhanced by special times at the ranch showing family just how special the ranch is.

Although I don't ride I have loved the rejuvenating effects that the peace and beauty of the ranch provides.

Mr. Cowley has been a gracious host and took time to speak to Issabella and encourage her equestrian pursuits and the staff have been incredibly fun, gracious and sharing with their knowledge.

It is sad to think that the Wild Rose Ride was the last time we will see the ranch there are so many wonderful memories for Issabella there our thoughts and prayers are with you all we can but pray for a Christmas miracle.

Yours affectionately

Eileen and Issabella Booth
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The LaGrange Family Memories of Rafter Six...

My Dear Good Friends,

I am just heartbroken and sad at what I have read on your website over the past few days my entire childhood as a kid was looking forward to coming up every single summer to wonderful Rafter 6 ranch it was some of the fondest memories I had as a kid with my dad who I didn't get to see a lot because my parents where divorced.

I feel like you guys are part of my family this is truly devastating to me and the rest of the LaGrange family .

This pains me more that since my knee problems started up in 2007 that I was able to return to the ranch.

I don't know what else to say all I know is that my dad loved you your sisters and brothers and your parents so much and so do me and Taylor and billy.

I wish I can help, please tell me how I can help.

I understand that you a have a big farewell party for new years. I'd love to come be a part of Rafter Six one last time!

If there is anything anything at all please call me any time day are night.

I love all you guys please keep you head up.

Justin Lagrange
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Memories Pressed Between The Pages Of My Mind of Rafter Six...

Dear Cowley Family,

When I was seven years old, I went to Rafter Six Ranch with my Dad for 3 days.

It was one of the most memorable vacations I have ever experienced.

I loved horses, and still do. I almost remember all the horses I rode. Dundee and Cornic...though I forget the first horse I rode.

I had a wonderful experience, this resort is so...fantastic!

There are horses walking around freely, you can watch round-ups, go rafting, ropes course, and so much more! But my favorite part had to be the second day at the ranch. I woke up in the morning, and everyone was outside crowding around a white mare.

It seemed as if during the night this mare had given birth to a beautiful black foal. It was the most memorable part of the trip...I had never seen a foal so young before.

Thank you Rafter Six for the wonderful memories!

Scarlet Wensley
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Dear Cowley Family,

I had the pleasure of visiting Rafter Six Ranch with my daughter for 3 days and it was the most memorable vacations I have ever experienced.

To be able to share your wide open spaces, fantastic hospitality and of course the horses with my daughter is a memory I will carry forever.

A special thanks to the staff who took time out to make us feel so very welcome at every turn and the lovely dogs who roamed free :)

Thank you Rafter Six for the memories!

Martin Wensley
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A Special Place In Our Hearts For Rafter Six...

Dear Cowley family and staff,

We were very saddened to hear that the ranch will be closing at the end of the year and wanted to send you an email to let you know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

We were married at your country church by Stan in September 2009 and we could think of no better way to have started our life together, as it is a truly beautiful place and will always hold a special place in our hearts.

We hope that each of you and all the animals are happy and comfortable wherever you go.

Best Wishes,

Andrew and Angela McCaig

. Fond Memories Of A Young Buckaroo at Rafter Six...

I still have fond memories of when I was a young child spending time at the Rafter Six Guest Ranch riding horses along the trails in the mountains... splashing across rivers, riding along cliffs, horses knocking riders off on branches.

It always seemed gorgeous out there, the people were friendly and the lunch afterward was a treat. There was a bond with the land and the animals that you don't get elsewhere. It was an institution along with the Y camps in the area.

I will be saddened at its' loss, probably moreso at what will happen to the property afterward. I honestly regret that my child won't be able to have similar memories to mine instead of ones of video games and other "indoor recreation".

Patrick Buick
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Alberta Winter Travel And The Good Samaritan...

It is with great sadness that I have read you will be closing the ranch. The fallout from the recession is far from over, so many many people have suffered.

In 1998 my family and I were living in Canmore. I had an appt. in Calgary one morning and as it was January the roads were not the best. My 2 yr. old daughter was tightly strapped into her carseat in the back of my Jimmy and off we went. I didn't get very far.

As I was rounding a curve, (near the ranch, just before the river) I hit a sliver of snow that was covering black ice. The vehicle wheels locked as my reaction was to slam on the breaks (worst thing I could have done) I went into shock as the Jimmy slid from one side of the highway, back towards another vehicle which thankfully I didn't hit, turned around and slid towards the embankment. I was told that they figured the vehicle rolled four times.

Fortunately I was knocked out as soon as we went into the first roll and landed at the bottom, upside down. I awoke to see a man kneeling beside my window talking to me. I managed to crawl out and the man and another young man pulled out my toddler from the back.

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Except for shock we were both unharmed. That man was Stan Cowley. He said he saw the tracks of my vehicle and then heard the engine still running because you couldnt see the vehicle from the road. He drove both my daughter and myself to the ranch and called an ambulance. I don't remember much of it.

A few days later, my husband drove me back to the ranch to thank him. We were scheduled to leave for Disneyland in a few days and I told him I didn't think I could go. I couldn't get on the plane. "Why not" he said. It's like when you fall off a horse, you have to get back on, so you go. We did and it was the best thing I could have done to recover. I will never forget him. Because of his attention that day he saved both us. I pray there are better things in the future for your family.
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Bless all of you.

Lori Mack
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The First Time I Saw Stars & The Milky Way Was At Rafter Six!


This past summer I got back from a trip to Ontario and was told by my mother that she got me a job working at Rafter 6 Ranch. I had ridden there a few times when I was younger because she was friends with Kateri, but that was about all my experience with the ranch. My experience with horses was slightly more, but still extremely limited.

My first time on a horse was at Rafter 6. It was on Topaz when I was in perhaps grade one or two. At eight years old, my parents sent me to Bates Bar J, the western riding camp my mom devoted her summers to as a child and teenager. There, I learned to sit in a saddle and tack up very slowly. But that ended when I was fourteen and that exposure to horses two weeks a year ended in tears.

So in the first week of August my mom drove me out and left me at Rafter 6, completely unprepared for what lay ahead of me. It had been over a year since I’d touched a horse and even then I could barely ride or tack up on my own. Even something as simple as bridling was beyond me. Everyone in the barns was extremely patient with me teaching me what I needed to know. I still remember my first ride was with Maree on the last trail of the day.

I find it hard to believe what has changed since that day. What I thought would be just my first real job manifested itself into a love of horses, lifelong friendships and confidence I never thought possible. My first week or so was quite dull. I enjoyed work but dreaded its end because I just went to bed after supper. It wasn’t interesting. I credit the beginning of my fun to Rachelle who had just come back to work. She was so nice to me and showed me where everything around the place was. She always invited me to join any fun everyone else was partaking in. Slowly, I became friends with the other staff, especially the other wranglers.

All of a sudden, my time at the ranch became more than a job.It became my escape from the city. An escape from reality, in fact, for a while, it became my reality. My life was waking up early, riding horses, hanging out with my friends. Going back to Calgary for other obligations seemed unimportant. Of course, I appreciated seeing my friends in the city and being able to sleep in, but it was just a break from life.

My riding skills also began to shape up. Kateri talked my through opening and closing gates a million times, ever patiently. All the wranglers were always eager to share any tidbit of information they could. It seemed like I was their project. Now, I can open and close gates, change a lead, and just ride more confidently than I ever thought I’d be able to.

With the friendships I formed, it seemed the mocking began. The saying at the ranch seemed to be “If we make fun of you it means we like you”. My fear of squirrels seemed to be the hot topic of many meals, much to my dismay.

My fascination with stars due to my never having seen them before led to much mockery about being a city kid. In fact, many things I did seemed to lead to mockery about being a city kid. My height also seemed to be made fun of frequently, mostly by David though. It was as if I wasn’t aware I was short…am short. What I ate wasn’t even safe. I was ridiculed for my love of peanut butter, ketchup and syrup. I suppose this is what led to my belief they did like me.

Afterwards, we would head down to homestead where there would be a campfire. Everyone would sit around. People would join and leave, and it was a happy time.

Slowly, I grew into a person I didn’t even recognize. Dramatic eyeliner seemed ridiculous at the ranch. In fact, I went into the city one weekend and was going to a party. I put on makeup for the first time in ages, save a swipe of mascara here or a tinted sunscreen there, and I was so unhappy. I looked like a doll. My face didn’t look like the one I had come to know. It looked like a perfect version of me, that sounded very narcissistic.

My freckles from too many hours in the sun vanished and the scar under my eyebrow was filled. The details that gave my face character, distinction from every other girl, disappeared. Clothes also seemed to not matter. I was perfectly content pulling on jeans, plaid and my belt. Boots were the only shoes I even considered.

. This is how I felt most comfortable. Also, I was in such good shape. I went to school and my friends asked me if I had been lifting at the gym. The struggle I once had to lift a saddle to the top post was gone, without my even knowing it. I could untack and tack almost any horse, save the tack up of Drake and Momma’s Boy.

My last night of summer will never be forgotten. It was the first time I saw the Milky Way. It was surreal. It was spent laughing and joking with the people I had come to know as some of my best friends, and my honorary older sister.

After I went back to school, I continued going to the ranch on weekends. It was still work but in reality, it felt like I was going home from a week at work. No amount of money or convincing could make me think otherwise.

When the filming for the TV show was happening, I felt completely at home sitting at the breakfast table with everyone. It was my happy place. At the Halloween party, I felt like I actually was supposed to be there, taco costume and all.

Rafter 6 Ranch wasn’t just a summer job. It was my summer romance. It was country music, starry nights, campfires at homestead, brisk mornings, and lifelong friends.

This is my story of Rafter 6. It wouldn’t feel complete with shoutouts to those who made my time there home so just stop here unless you’ll understand these.

Kateri taught me how to open and close gates and always encouraged me and told me I was doing a good job.

David always made me laugh even if he was making fun of me but always had good intentions.

Maree was the one who took me on my first trail ride and through our car talks has become one of my best friends.

Daisy became my big sister who I can tell everything and always was up for a good time.

Justin didn’t give up on my roping skills even though we all know they never will exist.

Rachelle was the first person to be super open to inviting me on things even if one of those things was the hike of death.

Mel was always open to having a conversation about anything.

Phedre was always there to answer any questions and to help me with any horse things.

Tim taught me how to bridle a horse and would always tell me which horse was which even if he did say it very snarkily.

Tenaya for becoming such a close friend and always being willing to try riding bareback.

Mike for always being funny and having a smile on his face.

Nolan for teaching me so much more about horses and riding than anyone else managed to do all summer.

An extra special shoutout goes to Stan and Gloria, for opening their home to me and making me feel like I belonged. Thank you so much for everything you have offered me. I will cherish my memories of this summer all my life.

And everyone else who was there that perhaps I didn’t get a great chance to talk to or know. Or that I just missed. Sorry. Thank you for being there and for making the dynamic of everything so…right.

So there was my cheesy love letter to Rafter 6. It’s given me its best and this is my attempt to return it.

Ally Jokl

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Solidified My Dreams of Becoming A Cowgirl At Rafter Six!


My husband Gilles and I used to spend every Thanksgiving Weekend at Rafter 6 when we lived in Calgary from 1980-1985. The first visit was especially memorable. Your parents made us feel right at home. Both of us and Stan thought we had met before, but we never did figure out where.

We were so impressed with the ranch that we called Gilles' brother Denis to come and join us for the rest of the weekend. That night we were the only 3 going on the trail ride so Stan asked if we had ridden before. We all had, so he told us we would be his wranglers to bring back some horses from the back 40 somewhere. First, we had to pose for some pictures in front of a campfire for a German magazine.

We had a beautiful ride and brought a bunch of extra horses back with us. It was exhilarating!
On the next day's trail ride, Stan introduced us to the rest of the riders as visiting wranglers who were experienced riders. Imagine the horror when Gilles' horse had to be towed out of the barnyard! Then, I got kicked in the ankle when my horse tried to pass another. Unlike a real cowgirl, I did not have proper footwear so my ankle started to swell, and I had to go back for ice. Some professionals! Ha ha!

The weekend was so memorable, that we went back every year after that, often with other couples. We also brought people to go riding in between. I even got my 60 year old mother to go on a 2 hour trail ride with us when she came from Ontario for a visit!
. My experiences during those times solidified my dreams of becoming a cowgirl some day. It took a while, but it finally started to look like it would happen in 1990 when we bought a 25 acre hobby farm. My first horse, a year later, was a 16 year old Arabian gelding that I bought with tack for $1000.

I learned a great deal from him. At first he threw me several times, but I soon learned to read his body language and could anticipate when he might spook. For years we went trail riding every day!

Then in 1994, I bought a 10 month old Quarterdale that I trained myself. He became my trail horse when the Arabian went blind. In 1999 I purchased a donkey as a companion and playmate for them.

I was lucky to be able to accomplish my dreams before I fell ill and could no longer ride. I finally had to give them up when I could no longer look after them. Giving them up was the hardest thing I've ever had to do but I will always treasure my pictures and memories!

It is sad to see this way of life end, but you have lived what many would consider a fairly tale! I hope you realize how lucky you are to have grown up on Rafter 6 and to have had such wonderful parents as well. Cherish the time you have left there and your memories will last forever.

We wish you and your family all the best in your future endeavors!

Bonita Poulin

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"Amazing as usual."
- Moms on Leave, May long weekend, 2013
*25 consecutive years and counting!

"We had such a great and relaxing time. My wife and I enjoyed the moose cabin"
- Montgomery Jan. 2013


"Those are some of the best trail horses in Alberta. Thank you for making our ride memorable."
- Tom G, July 2012

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Rafter Six Changed My Life!


It has finally set into my head what is going on, especially now that it has been posted on Facebook and a lot more people know. I know I cannot understand how you guys are feeling, but my heart breaks as well because this place was my home away from home. I’ve known you and your awesome family since I was 17 years old right out of high school and I will forever be grateful what you have all done to help me be the person I am today.

Below will be my memory of this wonderful and magical place.

“I was living in Calgary at the time, last year of high school, and ever since I could remember I was painfully and awkwardly shy, which being in grade 12 doesn’t help to make friends. It was math class, and it was a probability class where we had to pair up, again, being awkwardly shy didn’t help to get someone partner up with me. However, there was this one girl, she looked so friendly, she was sitting next to me, looked at me, smiled and said ‘want to partner up?’. Fantastic! So we went through the class with ease, it was so easy to talk to her, and she had a name that I had never heard before, Kateri. What a wonderful name!

She was so nice and outgoing that I enjoyed that class and from that day onwards we started to hang out more and more, got to know her and found out that she, and her family, owned a Ranch, Rafter Six.

I had been around horses before and lived on acreages pretty much my whole life, but that one day I went out for a visit, it literally just blew my mind! The land, the buildings, the people and oh the horses! Such a beautiful herd of magnificent animals! The family were all so welcoming and friendly, inviting me into their beautiful and magical place, and just from that one visit, I knew I wanted to be there again and again.

Because of that one visit, I decided I wanted to save some money before going to school and at age 17, freshly graduated, I moved to Rafter Six Ranch full-time.

. It was the best experience I ever had, I started in the REX program (Rotational Experience) where I was able to participate in every sector the Ranch operated, one week I was in housekeeping, the next I was in the restaurant and kitchen, and lastly I was in the barn.

I stayed on there for the whole year, worked through the winter season and became full time in the barn and helped with the big events in the restaurant. And even though I did end up going to College and University later on, Rafter Six Ranch was still a home, I would go back again and again because I missed it so much, and the people.

This overall experience changed who I was, and for the better, as I was constantly surrounded by people, and had to interact with the customers I slowly came out of my shell. I believe I grew by leaps and bounds, I was more confident in myself, I felt like I could do anything.

Along with this, I was welcomed into the home by the Cowley’s, I felt like this was my home away from home. Having Sunday dinners with them, going on rides, movie nights and special occasions, they made me feel like I was special and welcomed. Rafter Six Ranch changed my life forever, the friends the memories, these are things that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I truly believe that if it wasn’t for Rafter Six Ranch, the family and the people I met along with way, I would not be who I am today.”

I really will always be grateful to you Kateri and the family for helping shape me into this woman I am, I swear, if it wasn’t for you guys, I probably would still be a shy girl with low self-esteem and an IT nerd working somewhere in a hobbit hole! I do not know how I could ever repay this kindness and hospitality but, if you do ever need anything at all, please let me know.

Much love and many many hugs!

Rebecca Pierce

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"We couldn't have wished for a better place to make our TV show. we've been so spoiled with great contributor who are now good friends. Thank you so much for all your time and for welcoming us into your lives. Lots of love"
- Carolina, Mavrick TV Sept. 2013

"Ropes, Riding and Rafting... say no more! Can't wait to come back!"
- Tamara A. July 7, 2013


"BEST ADVANCED RIDER PLACE IN THE WORLD!!"
- Elize and Megan B. June. 1 2013


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Rafter Six Is Still My Favorite Spot!


Rafter Six is still my favourite spot. As I mentioned on the phone, I am always looking for people to take through the mountains when I am at home and of course to spend a night or two at the ranch. To me it gives people that Western / Alberta feeling.

My Aussie friends still talk about our time at the ranch and your big dog who sat with her (Ann) around the fire and came over to the cabin to 'visit'.

She still laughs when she tells the story of Stan offering your staff a case or two of beer to come and sit by the fire with us. It was the highlight for them because it was just like they would see in the movies - all these young cowboys and girls 'hanging' by the bonfire....

Ask Stan if he remembers the evening he came to the cabin to fix our heater when I was there with my friend from Ontario.

She had thick white curly hair and was even taller than me and Stan stayed for a long time and just talked to us .... mostly Jeanette.

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This was the only trip she had ever made because they owned a gunsmith shop in a small town and her husband would never leave it to go away more than a day or two - because it meant someone had to 'babysit' it.

She too spent years talking about her time at Rafter Six and how the owner had spent the evening telling 'us' stories about the Ranch.

Even when I went down to see her a few years back when she was sick she was still talking about the Ranch. For her it was the highlight of the whole three weeks in the Rockies and the Prairies.....

I am so glad you two and your staff were there to greet and entertain her. We just never know who will cross our paths, hey?!

Have a wonderful life together and enjoy your memories and be proud of all the lives you touched.

Best personal regards,

Edith Sanderson

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"Thank you for the wonderful stay & beautiful venue for our wedding. Ourselves & our guests really enjoyed the weekend."
-Sonia & Oliver Oct. 6, 2013


"Dear Rafter Six, On behalf of everyone here, I would like to thank you very much for all your help and a fantastic retreat for our group. Each one of us had such an enjoyable time and everyone there is just so great. We will definitely be keeping you in mind for any future events, hope to see you very soon."

- Consulting Group Inc. Sept. 2013


"We've been here two weeks filming a UK TV show and it's been truely AMAZING! What a wonderful place and beautiful family. I will miss you all. Thank you so much. Lots of love"

- Matt Smith, Maverick TV Sept. 2013

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Rafter Six Memories ~ A Cowgirl's Farewell

I have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with a few of the extraordinary Cowley family over the last few years.

We first met in February of 2009 when I attended a funeral at their ranch. The day began with the Calgary Stampede Trolley picking a whole group of people at my sister's house in Calgary to transport us to Rafter Six in Exshaw.

There, in a tiny little chapel, with standing room only and many people waiting outside, we celebrated in cowgirl style, the passing of my niece Teri Lyn Murray. The service itself was perfect….with a Piper doing Amazing Grace and a congregation filled with tears.

From there we watched what the western people consider "The Farewell Ride" which consisted of Teri's riderless horse being lead around the chapel with Teri's empty boots strapped backwards in the stirrups.

Absolutely heartwrenching and not a dry eye in the place. We were outside the chapel shortly after that to partake in another western tradition which consisted of the custom known as "The Freedom Run".

Teri's horse "Hank" was unsaddled and the bridle was removed to have him take off across the grounds with the remaining two members of the 2006 Calgary Stampede Royalty and the 2009 Calgary Stampede Royalty trio all mounted and wearing their Royalty sweaters and hats riding after him.

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The guests were then ushered into the lodge where they were wined and dined in a fashion I have never seen before or since.

Also that week, I met David Cowley at my sister's house in Calgary while out on the street stood the Rafter Six truck with a horse trailer in tow. The windows were open so that Austin and Spencer, the two occupants could get a little fresh air. An absolutely unbelievable sight only to be seen in Calgary, I'm sure.

Earlier this year visiting Calgary again I had the nicest experience visiting Rafter Six and having lunch with both Gloria and Stan.

The ranch itself is like a step back in time and the people owning and running it are a people rarely seen in this day and age.

I truly thank my lucky stars for being allotted the privilege of being friend on Facebook with Kateri and thereby knowing what is going on at Rafter Six at any given time.

The fact that I live in Montreal, Quebec means my visits to this unique spot of Heaven on earth are few and far between but it will remain a cherished memory for ever and ever.

Lana Brebner

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"This is the real thing, like a western movie!"
- Widmer Alexis, July 2012

"Pinkie does not like the goo; the horse in front makes lots of poo. This place is nice, with quiet and peace; I hope the horses don't get too obese. We saw a deer on the trail; This place is like a Fairytail! Love this place."
- Lenni Z. June 2012

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Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 It is with great sadness that I have read you will be closing the ranch.  The fallout from the recession is far from over, so many many people have suffered.

    In 1998 my family and I were living in Canmore.  I had an appt. in Calgary one morning and as it was January the roads were not the best.  My 2 yr. old daughter was tightly strapped into her carseat in the back of my Jimmy and off we went.  I didn't get very far.  As I was rounding a curve, (near the ranch, just before the river) I hit a sliver of snow that was covering black ice.  The vehicle wheels locked as my reaction was to slam on the breaks (worst thing I could have done) I went into shock as the Jimmy slid from one side of the highway, back towards another vehicle which thankfully I didn't hit, turned around and slid towards the embankment.  I was told that they figured the vehicle rolled four times.  Fortunately I was knocked out as soon as we went into the first roll and landed at the bottom, upside down.  I awoke to see a man kneeling beside my window talking to me.  I managed to crawl out and the man and another young man pulled out my toddler from the back.  Except for shock we were both unharmed.  That man was Stan Cowley.  He said he saw the tracks of my vehicle and then heard the engine still running because you couldnt see the vehicle from the road.  He drove both my daughter and myself to the ranch and called an ambulance.  I don't remember much of it.  A few days later, my husband drove me back to the ranch to thank him. We were scheduled to leave for Disneyland in a few days and I told him I didn't think I could go.  I couldn't get on the plane.  "Why not" he said.  It's like when you fall off a horse, you have to get back on, so you go.  We did and it was the best thing I could have done to recover.  I will never forget him.  Because of his attention that day he saved both us.  I pray there are better things in the future for your family.  Bless all of you.

Lori Mack