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

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Pathfinders and Wild Wise Sooke built slim, black bat houses to be hung around Sooke. (Submitted/Wild Wise Sooke)
Sooke teens build bat condos

Wild Wise Sooke says bats will sleep, hibernate and raise their young in the boxes

Saanich police used a drone to investigate a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal West Saanich Road crash

Driver who died veered across center line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Pixabay
Island Health: two doctors, new clinic space to avert Port McNeill health crisis

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read