(7:03) Connie – Yeah, I remember that.

(7:05) Peggy – I remember them practicing and it was down at the barn at Leanchoil. I will say it was Frank Coggins, but it might have been someone else… Just when they were practicing and they didn’t realize you know how easy it was to swing on when the horse was moving. Well, I think that my dad did because he said, “I will just take your arm and just swing on easy.” And Frank must have put a little more muscle into it and my dad ended up throwing him right over the horse. Like my dad picked him up and threw him on the ground over back behind him!

(7:37) Connie – That was Frank, wasn’t it mom?

(7:38) Peggy – I think it was Frank Coggins. It was someone little like that and they were practicing.

(7:42) Rod – So the wardens would gather every year for this kind of friendly competition which lead to some pretty serious partying too, probably! But they would come from Kootenay and Banff. Maybe even from Jasper I guess.

(7:58) Peggy – I don’t know. I don’t really remember, but they easily could have. It was a bit of a trip though, wasn’t it…But what was really good about it was it got the wardens more interested in riding their horses, really working with their horses. That’s what I thought.

(8:19) Rod – They probably had a pack horse race did they?

(8:21) Peggy – Yes they did…the pack horse race was really good because then you got some practicing. But they did a really fun one where they threw a bunch of boots in the middle…You would ride up to the boots, leave your horse. So you had to teach your horse to ground tie and then you would find your boots in the pile and put them on. Run back to your horse, jump on and go across the finish line…I remember the first time that they ever did the race, they all rode up to this big pile, they leapt off and Bill Vroom jumped in the middle and he just threw everybody’s boots! He was such a character! He just started throwing boots, so all you see is this little circle of horses and these boots flying and everybody is running around. Then when you ran back to your horse of course you spooked everybody else’s horse, running back you know! That one was a lot of fun! They did pole bending too, it was really good.

(9:24) Rod – Lots of laughs, lots of good fun. Then a big barbeque or a fire afterward?

(9:30) Peggy – Yeah.

(9:32) Rod – Lots of storytelling I’ll bet.

(9:34) Peggy – I have actually got a picture taken by Bruno Engler, it was the three of us girls, Shorty, Chester and I sitting on the fence watching. It is kind of neat.

(9:47) Rod – So your time in Yoho then, your responsibilities Ann would have changed a little bit. Did you still answer the forestry phone or the two way radio at the stations?

(10:01) Ann – The two way radio when Fred wasn’t there if it was important…

(10:10) Rod – But you didn’t have to feed a whole bunch of cowboys, just the few that Fred would skid home!

(10:16) Ann – There wasn’t that many in Yoho.

(10:20) Peggy – But mom worked at the Information Bureau.

(10:25) Ann – Yeah, I worked in the Information Bureau there for ten years…ten seasons.

(10:43) Rod – From Yoho you moved to Riding Mountain?

(10:48) Ann – Yes, before we moved, well actually we got all ready to move. They said, “The moving truck is coming tomorrow.” “Oh, okay.” So we got all our stuff ready. I had a big pile of garbage and stuff, well not a great big pile, but stuff that I had picked up to get rid of and that sort of thing. I had it in the middle of the kitchen floor I guess. When we got to Manitoba here was this pile, in the middle of the kitchen floor there, this pile of garbage!

(11:42) Peggy – Efficient packers!

(11:47) Rod – So that would have taken several days to get to Manitoba.

(11:50) Ann – Yes, it would. Before we left, we were all ready to go, they were all ready to let Fred go, but then a fire started up the Amiskwi. So they held him there for a month to help fight this fire. So they put us up at Wapta Lodge, a nice place! We had big suppers there every night, paid for by the government and all kinds of wine!

(12:33) Peggy – What a treat!

(12:36) Ann – We used to meet everybody there, they would come up from town and we would get together. It was fun!

(12:44) Rod – Did Fred use horses to get up into the Amiskwi to pack fire crews or anything?

(12:50) Ann – Yeah, he used horses most of the time. They had a horse barn, a small horse barn near Field and Slim Haugen was in charge of it. He would have been in charge of who got what horses to ride that day. But out on the stations, on the out stations we had a horse barn and two or three horses all the time.

(12:28) Connie – One time when he was fighting fire, I am not sure when this was. I think he got off his horse and they were shoveling and the wind changed.

(13:35) Ann – Leanchoil.

(13:36) Connie – Okay and the smoke came and knocked him down and he didn’t think that he was going to get out. He didn’t think that he could get up and get out.

(13:44) Ann – I took him to Golden to the hospital.

(13:48) Peggy – I remember when if somebody reported a fire on his district, I remember that he could just go down to the corral, when it was serious he did this and he just whistled up Fox. Fox knew that when my dad whistled in a certain way, he had to come. There was no fooling around, no silliness. He just came in and my dad saddled him and he would go.

(14:13) Ann – Yeah, Fox was his favorite.

(14:16) Peggy – He was a thoroughbred, a really high headed thoroughbred and nobody else could really ride him.

(14:21) Connie – Except me, I rode Fox all the time.

(14:22) Peggy – I’ll bet you did, yeah. I mean the other wardens there.

(14:28) Rod – But there you are with Fred’s animal skills again.

(14:30) Peggy – But there was a certain thing when he wanted him, he wanted him now. Because Fox, he liked to play games.

(14:39) Rod – So Fred, he would have tried to and he did probably work with all the new wardens, the seasonal wardens. Grade one’s or whatever at that time with horse skills to try to teach them how to pack and ride a horse.

(14:56) Ann – Yeah, he did. He actually did a school at Jasper for all the new wardens. He taught the horse school I guess you could say.

(15:09) Rod – While he was at Field, or was that afterwards?

(15:12) Ann – That was at Jasper after.

(15:17) Peggy – But where were you living when he taught that, because you never lived in Jasper. Was he in Yoho when he taught that?

(15:24) Ann – Well they had the schools at Jasper all the time.

(15:26) Peggy – But where were you guys living? It was at Yoho probably eh?

(15:30) Ann – Yeah.

(15:31) Peggy – Yeah, it was in Yoho. The other thing that I remember that just absolutely amazed me was that if there were bear problems somewhere, like let’s say in a campground. He was always really subtle. He would just drive where nobody really noticed him. He would ask the attendant what number, you know, where has this bear been a problem? He would go in. He always just packed his rifle in his hand and he would just trot down the trail. He would just trot real quiet and nobody really knew that he was around because he would leave his truck. He always carried his rifle just like that and he shot from the hip if he had to. He was just like something out of a western.

(16:23) Connie – He was a good shot.

(16:24) Peggy – He was. He would just trot along on foot and shoot from the hip.

(16:36) Rod – So tell us about the change to Riding Mountain. It was quite a change I guess in terms of being a prairie park, a parkland park.

(16:45) Ann – Yes. After they finished up the fire at Yoho, then they thought it was time for him to go to Riding Mountain because they were having a fire out there! So he got sent out to Riding Mountain and when we got there, of course all our stuff was there including the garbage that I had cleaned up in Field…Everything was there, but we were in the most remote district…

(17:51) Rod – What year would that have been Ann?

(17:54) Ann – 1971. We were there for four years. It was a nice park. There were a lot of Ukrainian people who lived all around the park…and the park allowed them to cut hay in the park for their animals. They lived in very small houses you know. Just little houses and a lot of them were chinked with cow manure. I guess that is all they had.

(18:58) Rod – Even a sod roof I suppose in some of them, were they?

(19:00) Ann – Yes, some of them. I guess they were immigrants, is what they were. The government allowed them to come over and they could have a certain amount of land around the park. But a lot of them were poachers too. There is a good story in the book about poachers. (Silent Partners page 82).

(19:24) Rod – That has been a concern or a problem in Riding Mountain for a long time, hasn’t it? Still is I guess.

(19:30) Connie – My dad said when you drive, you had to be really careful on patrol because there would be a hill and one person would come up one side and they would leap under their vehicles and start shooting because it might be an animal. He said you always had to be really careful because you didn’t know coming over the top of that hill if you were going to get shot at!

(19:51) Rod – Oh my goodness!

(19:53) Peggy – Lots of them made moonshine too.

(19:54) Connie – Yep, they had it behind all the fence posts!

(19:58) Rod – So the warden station you stayed at in Riding Mountain, it was on the boundary of the park then?

(20:02) Ann – Yes, on the west boundary.

(20:09) Rod – Did you move around to other warden stations in the park?

(20:12) Ann – No, that was the only one that we were ever at.

(20:18) Rod – Did Fred work with the bison in Riding Mountain much?

(20:23) Ann – They had bison.

(20:25) Rod – They had a captive herd there didn’t they?

(20:27) Ann – Yes. And they had an elk trap in his district. I just don’t remember how come they were trapping elk. If there was too many or what the deal was. But it was up to him to go up and check it periodically. So in the winter we got a lot of snow and he had a bombardier to go up and check the trap. But he always put a skidoo inside the bombardier in case the bombardier broke down, so that he could always get back home, and snowshoes too. And they had a lot of wolves in Riding Mountain.