On picture # 3........Here is the story behind the statue.. Information coppied from the website of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site
Picture taken by JD Balerman
A Living Cowboy Museum
Tucked into the Alberta foothills on what may very well be the best ranching land in the west is the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Established in 1881 by the then North-West Cattle Company the Bar U Ranch prospered over the years. As other ranches in the area went bust the Bar U came through the terrible winter of 1906/1907 and weathered the dirty 30’s. When all the Bar U Ranch cowboys enlisted at the start of WWII the ranch was kept going by the support of the local community awaiting the cowboys’ return at the end of the war. Until it was sold and the land divided up in 1950, the Bar U was the most successful of the corporate ranches started in the 1880’s.
The Bar U’s heyday years were between 1882 and 1925. During this time the ranch had become self-contained, hosting 35 different buildings making it the largest community in the region. The ranch housed the Pekisko Post Office, North West Mounted Police, trading store and the Geebung Polo Club.
The Bar U Ranch also provided a setting for the romantic Wild West. In 1919 Prince Edward, the then Prince of Wales visited the Bar U. Harry Longabaugh was employed in 1925 as a ranch cowhand. Longabaugh, a well-liked man at the Bar U, returned to the USA where he became better known as the Sundance Kid. And the famed western artist Charlie Russell also spent time at the Bar U. George Lane, one of the Bar U’s owners and a founding member of the Calgary Stampede, brought Percheron horses to the Bar U, helping to restore the breed's prominence. There is a tale that while riding alone back to the ranch one evening George Lane fought off a pack of hungry worlves. A life-sized bronze sculpture by Rich Roenisch depicting the attack can be seen at the Bar U Ranch Historic Site.
In 1981 the Canadian government purchased the remaining 148.43 hectares (367 acres) of Bar U Ranch land and its 35 outbuildings and designated the Bar U Ranch as a National Historic Site. Thanks to many volunteer hours the ranch has been restored to its original working condition. The blacksmith and saddle maker are kept busy throughout the day. Along the Pekisko Creek which runs through the ranch, there is a chuckwagon serving cowboy coffee and bannock. Most days a ranch cowhand is there reciting cowboy poetry and stories.
There are several ways to experience the old west at the Bar U Ranch. You can hitch a ride on the Percheron horse driven wagon, or explore the ranch village on your own self-guided tour. There are plenty of ranch interpreters wandering around to answer any questions you may have. For a small fee guided tours are also available. Group educational and adventure tours can be arranged in advance.
The Bar U Ranch Visitor Orientation Centre is completely wheelchair accessible. The Pekisko Creek General Store sells items made by local crafts people and artisans. Across the foyer the Roadhouse Restaurant offers fresh baking and homemade ranch meals. The award winning video The Mighty Bar U is shown throughout the day in the theatre.
The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is a living museum which uses a hands-on approach to convey the evolution of ranching from its spirited beginnings into one of Canada’s most essential and vibrant industries. Daily activities for guests of the Bar U include rope making, leather working, and bannock baking. On various Sunday’s throughout the year special events are held, including polo matches, trail rides and an old time ranch rodeo. So saddle up and head to the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site to see for yourself what a cowboy’s life was really like.
The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is situated along Alberta’s Cowboy Trail. The Bar U Ranch is located approximately 100 km (62 miles) south of Calgary, Alberta near the intersection of Highways 540 and 22.