With the chill in the air, a group of local cowboys are putting their horses into the stable and are riding sans saddle into the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Dec. 10.
An extension of O’Keefe Ranch’s popular Cowboy Dinner Show, which takes place throughout the summer, A Cowboy Christmas takes the audience back to the infancy of the working cowboy and ranching in the Okanagan.
Just like the O’Keefe show, A Cowboy Christmas is hosted by Vernon’s own Rob Dinwoodie, who will perform original Christmas songs as well as other tunes that depict the characters that developed the B.C. west.
“This show is going to be unique as we are incorporating drama, music and cowboy poetry,” said Dinwoodie. “We have such a great history in this valley and this show will introduce the audience to some of these stories and characters.”
Along for the musical ride will be Dinwoodie’s band, Open Range, featuring Dixon Zalit and Tim Boulter, as well as fiddle player Ben Beveridge, who has performed with major country artists in Canada and was nominated for fiddle player of the year at the 2016 B.C. Country Music Association awards.
“Ben is sure to get the audience clapping with his fine fiddle playing,” said Dinwoodie.
The musicians will perform several Christmas songs written by Dinwoodie.
“I wrote a very special song based on the true story of teacher Anthony Walsh, who challenged his First Nation students to artistically recreate the nativity in the South Okanagan. This story inspired the song, If Inkameep were Bethlehem.”
Joining the musicians will be Langley-based actor and cowboy poet Dave Longworth as George Edwards, an old- time cowboy who will weave the story of his Christmas throughout the evening.
Other characters such as Francis Barnard, of the famous BX Express stagecoach line, will come to life to provide stories of winter encounters while Vernon author, historian, and cowboy poet Ken Mather will create the historical backdrop for the evening through his narration and well-crafted poetry.
“With four books published on the history of the B.C. cowboy and being the former curator of O’Keefe Ranch, Ken has the authority to speak to this era of the cowboy,” said Dinwoodie.
“These stories and songs will give the audience a truly Okanagan Cowboy Christmas. We are excited to be able to present this show with all its parts and know folks will have a fantastic time.”
A Cowboy Christmas starts at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are at ticketseller.ca or phone 250-549-7469.