These are the only Penalty pics I have but there are many more in the collection below.
I’ve mentioned in several places that I spent some time repairing fence, putting up hay, herding cattle, stooking (grain) bundles, riding the range and other work associated with agriculture in
Western Canada. The most
memorable of those jobs was four months during the summer of 1964 on the
Penalty Ranch. I herded 21 Hereford
bulls the summer before on a neighboring ranch and have helped out in other
places but that summer (and a few visits the following year) became and
integral part of who I am.
The name “Penalty” was from the owner and boss, René Dhenin who informed all, visitor or employee, that doing something lazy, thoughtless, or dumb would gain one a penalty such as cleaning out a stable, hoeing the garden or some other unpleasant but necessary task that he might create. Those actions which might warrant a penalty included miss-treating animals, leaving a gate open or dropping paper/trash on the ground.
I was never found guilty of a penalty offence but I did have to shovel out the horse barn. Sometimes it isn’t possible to convince someone to perform poorly but the work still has to be done.
That summer I did work that I (usually) wanted to do, ate more than my weight on most days, and made less money than I’ve ever made. But it was the best job I ever had. It put me into great physical shape, I was able to work with and ride horses and I met and talked to some of the Peace Country’s early pioneers.
Many young men and women spent time at the Penalty. Brian Clarke of
was one. Ron Yipp of the
same city was another. All have gone on to other lives, other work and other
places. Truck drivers, business owners, accountants, advertising – pick something
and there is probably someone in that business who once worked on the Penalty
or some other ranch. Fort
One of those is Ron Yipp mentioned above. I believe his brother introduced me to Ron sometime during the ‘60s but we didn’t actually “know” each other. However Ron spent far more time than I on the Penalty and also rode and camped with René on several occasions. I have recently connected with Ron on the digital air-ways and he has forwarded something to me that is a great treasure.
Over the years I’ve managed to keep many of the Penalty memories but most of the pictures I took have been lost. Every move from the Peace Country, to
Haggersville, Jarvis, Oshawa, Windsor,
Calgary, and back to the Peace
Country has cost me some physical piece of the past. Fort
Here is a collection of Ron’s pictures from the Penalty showing some great times and some great scenery. I’ve taken some stops from the assembly to allow explanation for the viewer.
Ignore the request for a free account, (X it out) and click play.
At the beginning a picture of the boat coming to the ranch from the landing at “Old”
side of the river to the South side) Fort St.
A picture of the ranch buildings taken from the boat.
At 0:12 the river and North Peace bank from the buildings
The tractors and fuel tanks (filled in those days in the winter by crossing the ice.) Beside those are two wagons/sleighs used to feed the cattle in winter with one of the teams of horses.
At 0:33 a picture of the
from one of the upper flats … probably the “Breeding Pasture”
At 0:36 George McLaughlin (seated) and René Dhenin (note the canvas hat; he and it will appear throughout)
The only truck on the place except for those few times someone drove north from Chetwynd on the Jackfish Lake Rd. On more than one occasion that included a stock trailer or stock rack which absconded with Penalty Ranch beef. A few rustlers were caught.
0:43 Ron Yipp, immediately recognized as one of the good guys. He has a white hat after all.
0:44 Ron and René
The railroad bridge across the Peace just downriver from the ranch buildings and viewed from the edge of the “Breeding Pasture”
Several pictures of the branding including images of the “Genuine Chinese Cowboy”, Ron Yipp.
After the branding, a wild cow milking competition.
The “medical treatment” of a horse. Undoubtedly being “fixed”
Followed by great grub prepared while the branding was in progress.
At about Ron’s father, George Yipp.
There is also a pic of Ron’s brother (Ken) and sister (Sheila) in there toward the end.