Meet the Family

rafter6-brandstan portraitStan Cowley

A born Calgarian, Stan first arrived at Rafter Six Ranch in April 1976. The historical guest ranch had seen better days, but being in real estate, Stan could see the potential in the land, the location and business. He met Eva and Alvin Guinn and on the same day, on a handshake, agreed to purchase the Rafter Six Guest Ranch. Stan's diverse and creative background in marketing and design, real estate and ranching gave him a good start in his new endeavor of "guest ranching". From designing to building; marketing to serving, Stan took on the challenges and kept busy working toward his vision of a Western and First Nations cultural experience.

From a young age, Stan was embraced into the world of the local Stoney Nation through a ceremony in which he became blood brother with "Walking Buffalo" an elder and medicine man. His job was to teach people that they are like the trees of the forest - each different but standing in harmony with one another. Tom Yellowhorn, David and Daisy Crowchild, Arthur and Nora Ayoungman Eddie and Elsie Holloway, Leo and Alma Youngman, and Harold Healy were all influential in shaping Stan's life. Eventually, they came together to form the "Buffalo Nations Cultural Society" who now owns and operates the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum in Banff, Alberta in 2005. He is also an Honourary Chief of the 5 tribes of Treaty 7.

Stan became the first inductee into the Hall of Fame of the Hotel Association of Canada. The Humanitarian award was presented to Stan in Toronto at the awards ceremony. In June of 2007, Stan was also inducted into the Tourism Industry of Canada (TIAC) Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Ottawa. His skills also extend to illustrator and writer of published children's books and a certified Marriage Commissioner.

With the support of his family, Stan continues to develop a place for all people through the Rafter Six facilities, services, activities, and the western culture and hospitality for which Alberta is famous.


gloria-cowleyGloria Cowley

Everyone says that there is something about Rafter Six Ranch that makes people connect with either another person, nature, or a higher spirit. This was also true for Gloria.

Born of pioneer Albertans in a coal mining town east of Jasper in a community known as "the Coal Branch", Gloria instinctively knew at an early age that she would live on a ranch in the mountains. Attending school in Edmonton, then Mt. Royal College in Calgary, Gloria graduated from the Interior Design program in 1974. After working in the industry in Calgary, and her involvement with the Calgary Stampede in 1976, Gloria moved to northern Alberta to work with a log housing company. The current chapter of the ranch begins when Stan met Gloria. In 1976, soon after Stan purchased the ranch, he embarked on a mission to find logs to build the new lodge he designed. What he found in northern Alberta were the logs he needed and a "knockout" young gal working as a designer for the company!

Soon after meeting, Gloria and Stan became a team and worked together at constructing the lodge, rebuilding the Guest Ranch business, and raising a dynamic family.

Working as steady part of the team, Gloria has a smile on her face, a story to tell, and a hug to give. The staff often adopts her as their "mom" and she is always happy to welcome new members to the "Ranch Family". With these qualities, she has a good sense of business and direction, keeping the western heritage and values in mind as Rafter Six Ranch develops into the future. In 2014, she drove a 1800's Concord Stagecoach and with 12 Outriders won the coveted "Best Horse Entry" at the Calgary Stampede Parade


cathyCathy Shellenberg

Cathy is the first of the Cowley children, and the most organized! Cathy has worked in all aspects of the Ranch, and decided at an early age that she preferred to "push a pencil" rather than work outside. She found her passion in teaching students and helping children into a knowledgeable and bright future. That aspiration brought her to graduating with her Masters of Education from Gonzaga University. Cathy is currently a Principal at a Calgary Public Jr. High School.

Cathy, along with her husband, Woody, who is also a teacher, and children, Taylor and Aalia live in Calgary, Alberta. They enjoy participating with the larger functions at the Ranch and riding in the Calgary Stampede Parades!


David Cowley

David grew up with dreams and aspirations of following the cowboy lifestyle. He developed his horse training skills at a young age by spending the majority of his time with the horses, and watching and learning from other horsemen. When he became confident in his skills and his partnership with his horse, Danny, he began to explore where their relationship could take them. During the Calgary Stampede of 1998, David approached the Calgary Tower to see if he could be the first to take his horse to the Top of the Tower. They agree and David and Danny went up and shocked visitors from around the world. "Only in Calgary!" they would say.

David and Danny were frequently seen in Calgary hotels and night clubs, on the streets of Calgary during Stampede week and even on the stage of the evening Grandstand Show! When Danny passed on, David trained his other horses to take his place at the Top of the Tower and have been known to go up at different times for charity and special promotions.

Following his childhood dream of being an actor, David completed studies at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California and stunt school in Seattle Washington. He has worked on several films and commercials, most recently, "Northern Lights" with Leanne Rimes.

Actively involved in marketing for the Ranch, David also manages the horses and outfitting company on the Ranch. He is multi-talented, a strong leader and yet humble and fun to be around. Always up for a challenge and adventure, his motto is "If it were easy, everyone would do it".


thomasThomas Cowley

Thomas takes after the Scottish side of the family. He is strong, sensitive and has a wry sense of humor. Always wanting to help people, Thomas is able to share his wisdom of life with solid advice and a big smile.

His travels have taken him to the Grand Cayman Islands on a scuba diving mission, Australia on a working vacation, Mexico on a house building mission and the Barbados on a music ministry mission.

He is a graduate of Mount Royal University's Massage Therapy program and currently works part-time at the ranch and in Cochrane. These abilities will compliment Rafter Six as our new facilities will also provide spa and fitness services. What better way to compliment the Ranch activities and adventures! Also an avid horseman, his trusty mount is a Ranch bred Canadian Mustang cross named Jackson. His Wild West style of entertainment includes rearing, whip cracking and rough lawman for the western welcomes Rafter Six has become famous. Thomas and Jackson share a strong bond of respect and friendship whether galloping through the fields or riding the local parades. Not only that but he truly loves the outdoors. 


cowgirlKateri Cowley

I believe that I grew up right where I needed to be. My passion for horses, meeting people and mountains all collide here at the Rafter Six Ranch. I feel that it is a dream come true and an honor to be here. When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being a real cowgirl, making horses my main coworkers and ride everyday! I work alongside my family and my "extended ranch family" to give people from around the globe a true western experience, because I want to share with others what brings me so much joy in life. I also work in the motion picture industry as a wrangler and stunt rider. I also work on the hit CBC television series "Heartland".

In 2009 my childhood dream become reality, I am proud to say that I was crowned as a main representative of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede as the "Calgary Stampede Princess of 2009". With this brought so many opportunities of travel, new learning experiences, and of course meeting lots of interesting people! I hope to get to meet you at my home, Rafter Six Ranch, and at the Calgary Stampede!

Since 2010, Kateri has competed in the Calgary Stampede's "Cowboy Up Challenge". She then went on to finish 11th in the World Championship "Extreme Cowboy Race" in Kansas. The high speed, exciting obstacle course matches Kateri's and her horse Kokanee's riding adventures! Kateri has also won the coveted Champion Buckle for the Alberta Extreme Cowboy Challenge winter series 2014, and the incredible COWBOY UP CHALLENGE CHAMPION of CALGARY STAMPEDE


daisy raeDaisy Rae Cowley

The youngest member of the Cowley family, she has as much fire and spirit as they come. Her namesake "Daisy Crowchild" was Chief Sitting Bull's Granddaughter and wife of Chief David Crowchild of the T'su T'ina Nation and good friends of Stan and Gloria. She was small in stature but had a dynamic personality.

With an artistic and creative point of view, and caring nature for animals and people alike, Daisy makes work like play and enjoys being surrounded with laughter. You may even see her on a "Western Welcome" - holding up busses as "Dynamite Daisy" and collecting unlawful candy from the passengers!