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

A memorial march takes place along Highway 16 also known as Canada’s ‘Highway of Tears’ on national day of awareness of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Over five dozen people from nearby communities joined the march which began from outside Terrace City Hall and ended at the memorial totem pole erected along Hwy 16, near Kitsumkalum. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
‘City of Terrace can and should make spaces safer’: MMIWG activists

Activists called on governments to amplify safety net for women on national day of awareness of MMIWG

RCMP are reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings after a stabbing sent a man to hospital on May 4, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace stabbing sends man to hospital

RCMP remind the public to be aware of surroundings

The construction site for the new Mills Memorial Hospital has been cleared. (Binny Paul/The Terrace Standard)
Bird nests key to decision to log hospital site in Terrace

Nests would have posed a risk of increasing costs

There were four new COVID-19 cases reported in the Terrace local health area between April 25 and May 1, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)
COVID-19: New cases in northwest remain low

Terrace recorded four new COVID-19 cases between April 25 and May 1, 2021

The Helping Hands of Terrace sorting facility was completed in November 2020. Phase two added a second shipping container and a roof, meaning that multiple people can sort recyclables at one time. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
VIDEO: Inside Helping Hands of Terrace’s sorting facility

Phase two of the facility was completed late last year

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read