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Thursday, 03 November 2011 11:47

Cayley historian receives Western Legacy Award

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By Susan Quinlan
For his many years as a volunteer, preserving the heritage of southwestern Alberta, Bill Dunn was recently recognized by the Calgary Stampede at the 2011 Western Legacy Awards.

“I feel everything I look like … beyond happy, elated, honoured, …”

“There were 11 finalists; only four got silver buckles. I just happened to be the one they chose in the category of innovation,” said Dunn whose current project has him resurrecting the Macleod Trail, a route taken by bull trains bringing supplies from Fort Benton northward in days long past.

Nominated by Calgary Stampede alumni Karen Davis of High River, Dunn was among 60 nominees of whom only four received the prestigious award.

“Bill is so deserving of the recognition, he’s just so passionate about what he does and he’s just so dedicated. I think the exposure he might get from this will help him get those trails marked off. I’m hoping the ranchers and those that have the (Macleod) trail on their land will realize someone is actively recording this,” said Davis.

Dunn’s volunteer work has as well included visits to area schools, to share the history of the region with Alberta youth; volunteer work at the Bar U Ranch, and for his initial undertaking, resulting in the Cayley Stockyards being recognized as an historical site.

The 2011 Western Legacy Awards were held on the Calgary Stampede Grounds in the BMO Centre’s Palomino Room, Oct. 21.

Dunn said that event was preceded by a VIP reception and photo shoot, where all 11 finalists took individual photos alongside the president of the Calgary Stampede Board, building the suspense.

Then came the reception, where Dunn waited hopefully to hear who would win.

“It all led up to ‘could I have the envelope please,’” said Dunn, who was thrilled to have been chosen to receive the innovation award for teaching and preserving the history of ranching and pre-railroad transportation in southern Alberta.

“(The Calgary Stampede) has a fantastic team and they know how to do things up. I would recommend the event to anybody.”

This year’s winners included Sheliza Kassam in the youth category.

 Kassam is a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council and is said to be an inspiration to all young people in her community.

Larry and Mitzie Wasyliws won in the Sustained Contribution, Individual category for having restored the old ranch house in Fish Creek Provincial Park, which is now The Ranche Restaurant.

The RCMP Veterans’ Association won in the Sustained Contribution, Group category for providing an essential public service, delivering western values with purpose and advocating for their members.

The Western Legacy Awards were created in 2005 to recognize those committed to supporting western values and heritage. The awards committee begins their search for nominations from the public every January.

For more information, visit the website at http://corporate.calgary

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