Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Ken Sheen had a sleepless night after a fire Friday, April 16. “It’s one step at a time—get the place cleaned up and then start figuring out how we get a shop back in and some more tools,” he said the following day. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Ken Sheen had a sleepless night after a fire Friday, April 16. “It’s one step at a time—get the place cleaned up and then start figuring out how we get a shop back in and some more tools,” he said the following day. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Lester Barkman helped gather members of his Mennonite church to assist Ken and Loraine Sheen with clean-up. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Lester Barkman helped gather members of his Mennonite church to assist Ken and Loraine Sheen with clean-up. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Mennonite members spent the morning of Saturday, April 17 helping Ken and Loraine Sheen clean up from a fire that destroyed Ken’s tools and current artwork. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Mennonite members spent the morning of Saturday, April 17 helping Ken and Loraine Sheen clean up from a fire that destroyed Ken’s tools and current artwork. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Pieces of light equipment were used to remove the burned remains. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Pieces of light equipment were used to remove the burned remains. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Ken Sheen stands by a carving that was for the City of Williams Lake. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Ken Sheen stands by a carving that was for the City of Williams Lake. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
A fire destroyed Ken Sheen’s woodshop at Cariboo Castle located between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Rebecca Dyok photo)A fire destroyed Ken Sheen’s woodshop at Cariboo Castle located between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

A carving destined to overlook the Stampede Grounds in Williams Lake was destroyed in a structure fire Friday, April 16.

The cowboy carving, a replica of the original cow boss statute, was in the works by Ken Sheen and inside his shop at Castle Cariboo Carving Studio between Williams Lake and Quesnel when a fire ripped through the structure Friday afternoon.

Helping clean up the blackened site on Highway 97 north of McLeese Lake Saturday morning were members of the local Mennonite community.

Lester Barkman, who lives two miles up the road, jumped quickly into action to assist his neighbors by calling up other Mennonites.

“I just felt sorry for them,” Barkman said of Ken and Loraine Sheen.

“He [Ken] lost all of his winter’s work in an hour, so that’s the least we can do is help clean it up.”

Before the fire broke out mid-afternoon Friday, April 16, Ken said he had been tidying out sawdust for which he has a burner.

Well SH*%T! Before and after. This beautiful carving was for the City of William's Lake

Posted by Pine river carving on Sunday, April 18, 2021

He left it for a bit to go into their house and check the computer. By the time he went back out, he said it was a ‘big roaring inferno.’

“By the time the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department came it was already fully engulfed,” Ken said.

“It looked like I poured gasoline on my whole place. It went up so fast.”

Loraine, who is with Northern Health in long-term care, was at work when a neighbor called and told her one of their dogs was at his house and that she ought to get home as there was a fire.

The gallery which the fire burned beside was fortunately saved, although it did sustain some slight damage.

Their nearby house was left unscathed from the fire that Ken said burned three buildings and destroyed his winter inventory of carvings he had been working on, including a sculpture that would have replaced his original cow boss statue that used to stand above the Stampede Grounds in Williams Lake.

Read More: Update: Famous Cariboo carver Ken Sheen’s wood shop destroyed by fire

“I have a whole bunch of deposit money that I’m going to have to return to people,” Ken added, noting at least 20 years of tools, some from Germany and the United States, are also gone. One tool alone, he said, was worth $6,000.

A crowd fundraiser as of Sunday, April 18 has raised more than $3,500 for Ken, who said he had let their insurance go as it had gotten too expensive to carry because of wildfires within the area and estimates it could take one year to rebuild.

Both he and Loraine are thankful for the help they received during and after the fire in which no lives were lost.

Their other dog, who ran and hid, was later found safe.

Posted by Robert Kalman on Friday, April 16, 2021

“It was the best of a bad scenario—nobody is hurt, we still have our house and we didn’t burn down the neighborhood,” Loraine said, noting if the fire would have occurred in the middle of the night, things could have been much worse.

The fire was brought under control late Friday afternoon. There was one flareup later that evening which was put out by hoses left by the fire department.

“Life happens,” Loraine said. “It’s where you go from there.”

Sheen’s work has found homes throughout B.C. He was also featured on the show Carver Kings.

No word yet on what started the fire.


 


editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Williams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stock photo.
Grand Forks drug trafficker to be sentenced in Castlegar

Ryan Plotnikoff pleaded guilty to trafficking meth, following his November 2020 arrest by Grand Forks RCMP

Stuart Ashley Jones, 56, was at Grand Forks provincial court for sentencing on May 5, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks man shot by police during peak freshet sentenced to house arrest

Stuart Ashley Jones was shot by a Grand Forks Mountie after ramming two police cruisers in May 2018

Accused drug trafficker to plead to federal, provincial charges in June

Matthew Straume said he’d missed his last court date because he was ill

Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks sex crimes trial adjourned until summer

The trial was set to begin at the city courthouse Wednesday, May 5

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks city council votes down motion to support Penticton in paramountcy battle

Coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

Mahitha Mohan is working in Nelson as a community support worker at Community Connections Support Services. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Most Read