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

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

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

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

Most Read