Jack and Marge Butler
Jack and Marge Butler find volunteering with the Williams Lake Stampede Association a great deal of fun. They enjoy the work and the company they meet while painting and cleaning bleachers, and doing other odd jobs leading up to the big event. Marge has been a volunteer for 10 years and Jack has been a volunteer for nine years. “Time flies so fast you think its only a year or two,” Marge says. “My mom got us involved. She is 87 now and still volunteers, sweeping and scrubbing the same as we do.”
All the stands have to be swept and washed and painted and the toilets have to be cleaned before the big weekend. And there are also odd fix-it jobs to do. “I’m kind of a handyman fix it guy,”Jack says. “Fred (Thomas, Stampede President) always has little jobs for me up there.” For a couple of months before Stampede volunteers meet at the Stampede Grounds on Monday evenings between 6 and 8 p.m. for work bees. There are painting crews and cleaning crews and repair people at work. “There’s a good bunch of people who come here,” Jack says. “Our little bunch works up in the stands.” Marge adds: “After the work we gather in back for hot dogs and coffee and visiting.” Jack says a lot of the high school students from ranches around the region come down to help out. “Close to 200 people work on the grounds for a month and a half,” Jack adds. “It’s hard to keep something like this up if you don’t work at it.” Both Jack and Marge were born in Williams Lake, but raised in the Chilcotin, Jack in Tatla Lake and Marge in Riske Creek. With roots deep in cattle country it is just natural that they gravitated to volunteering with Stampede. Marge is the daughter of Irene and Delmer Jasper and grew up on the family hobby farm with a few cows, horses, chickens, pigs, turkeys and sheep. “You name it we had it,” Marge says.
Her dad worked as a grader operator for the Ministry of Highways and was a rodeo competitor and her mother worked for years as a school custodian. Jack is the son of Leonard and Hilda Buller and grew up on a small ranch at Bluff Lake. While both Jack and Marge rode horses in their youth neither one of them has been on a horse for many years. They both attended high school in Williams Lake which is now Marie Shape Elementary and stayed in the old school dormitory which is now the school board office. Ironically, although they were both raised in the Chilcotin, they never met growing up which may be understandable since Jack is nine years older than Marge. They met at a dance held at one of the local pubs. They have been together for 33 years and have one daughter Shawna Swanky. Until retiring a few years ago Marge worked 37 years for TELUS and Jack worked as a heavy duty mechanic, heavy equipment operator and truck driver on various projects around the region. When they aren’t helping with the Stampede preparation, Marge and Jack keep an active outdoor lifestyle. They both enjoy hunting, fishing, wild berry picking, and growing a big garden.
Story and photo by Gaeil Farrar