In Loving Memory

Bruce Martin (a.k.a.”Rancher”)

October 30, 1958  –  December 23, 2014

This page is dedicated to the memory of my late husband, Bruce Martin. He was my business partner, best friend and the driving force behind the success of Painted River Ranch. He was a friend to many, a grateful son, a protective brother and a loving father, He loved life and lived it to the fullest. After a noble fight with stomach cancer, he passed away a happy and fulfilled man, and would tell us… “I had a good run!”
Bruce Martin
Like many, a town boy grew up dreaming of being a cowboy someday.

Like few, that dream became a reality, and that boy was Bruce.

Bruce Martin riding spring horse as a boy
Bruce lived a life that inspired many of us to follow our dreams. With a little gamble, a lot of determination and some honest sweat equity, dreams could be a reality, and I was fortunate to be part of that dream.
Life with Bruce taught me to follow your dreams and to always believe in yourself, regardless of challenges that may lay ahead. 
Bruce was always up for a good gamble, and never afraid of risks, so he followed his dream of owning a ranch and raising horses and cattle and never looked back – earning the nickname of “Rancher” that he wore with pride. He instilled confidence in the horses he trained and the humans who’s lives he touched.

He made me a stronger, better person because he was a part of my life and I will be forever grateful for that. He was fearless, even when faced with Mrs. Grizzly on a pack trip. Cutting his tethered horse free with a jackknife, to sacrifice himself. That is how he lived life – brave to the bone and tough till the end. Fighting a good fight.

Bruce was a mountain man, who loved packing in the mountains and hunting and fishing. He had a knack for getting everyone lost. Only to have us ride to the top of the tallest mountain he could find to learn the “lay of the land” and to get his his bearings straight. A pack trip with Bruce remains a lifetime treasure for many of us.

Bruce Martin Ranchers Pleasure Stake Class Memorial

Videos are Worth a Million Words

So please join us , sit down & “drink a beer” remembering Bruce “Rancher” Martin, our Mountain Man.

Mountain Man

Just Like Me 

See You Again 

Drink a Beer

Rest High by Vince Gill 

You Should Be Here

Bruce bought everything he owned from his own hard work and was proud of that. Live within your means (be able to pay your bills, don’t hope for millions) and value the things in life money doesn’t buy – good family, friends, horses and a dream. With that, you will have all that life has to offer. You won’t need millions to be happy. He would say, “I’d just blow it anyway.”

He was right. He took a gamble, left his 6 figure job and pension after 25 years to pursue a career full-time ranching, where he would say, “I’ve never earned so little, but felt so rich”

Bruce was a rare, first generation rancher. He never inherited land, livestock or equipment. He made due with what he had, always paid cash for his equipment and could make the most stubborn, antique farm equipment, purr like a kitten to sow the land.

Bruce built Painted River Ranch out of an abandoned gravel pit in Alberta. When pushed out by industry, we moved the ranch to Edam, Sask where we would have room to grow. Here we continued to expand our herd of horses and commercial cattle and were embraced by a caring and close knit community that we had lost in Alberta. We felt like we never left.

He always encouraged me to strive to do my best and persevere, no matter how defeating, daunting or difficult the task. So, I continue to persevere and live a life he would be proud of. He inspires me everyday to do the best I can and NEVER GIVE UP. The past year has been a particularly challenging one.. but his sentiments ring loud and clear everyday, which motivates me to carry on and to live a rich, full life – as he did.

I figure, the Lord must’ve needed a cowboy and Bruce’s work on earth was done. I am grateful that Bruce left me with me skills, strength and confidence to continue. A person is only as strong as those that pick you up. I am blessed with some incredibly strong friends and neighbors here that help me carry on his legacy, Painted River Ranch.

He will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by anyone who ever knew him. He left the world a better place, because he was here.

Bruces Gravesite at Evergreen Memorial Gardens

Bruce’s Graveside at Evergreen Memorial Gardens,
Edmonton, Alberta

Bruce Martin and Pete Visscher rest in peace
Bruce was laid to rest, not far from my father (that is his marker just above Bruce’s). I’m fortunate to have the 2 men that inspired me most in my life resting together.
On August 4, 2015. Family and friends gathered to spread his ashes near Rock Lake – NW of Hinton, Alberta. This was the staging area we packed out of to get to Willmore Wilderness Park. We placed a permanent marker where his ashes were placed and carried by the wind.
Memorial Plaque at Rock Lake, Willmore Natural Areas
We found the perfect spot for Bruce’s plaque and ashes. A lone, brave rock, living on the edge of the the cliff, with good solid ground. (Pictured in the lower center of the photo). The spot contained all the elements in life that Bruce enjoyed, the mountains, clear streams and lakes abundant in fish, and meadows full of elk and Deer. I think he’d approve of this place….
Bruce Martin Ashes spread at Rock Lake,
Favorite Social Drink mounted on memorial rocks
We spent hours talking about the great dad, brother, friend and husband we all knew. There was much peace and solitude at this amazing place. We know Bruce was with us. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky – unlike the beginning of most of our pack trips with snow & rain.

We all had a toast (or 2) of his favorite drink…Crown Royal, and permanently fixed it next to his plaque.

Lyle and Christine Benz of Trails End Guest Ranch in Ayelsbury, Saskatchewan have hosted the Sask Paint Horse Club Outdoor Trail Challenge for the past 3 years.

This year, I was honored to have the club name the event in Bruce’s memory, “Ranchers Outdoor Trail Challenge,” as he was one of the motivators of organizing the event.

Canadian Cancer Society Money Raised in Bruces Honor
Ranchers Arena Memorial Plaque
Proceeds from the event went to the Canadian Cancer Society. Lyle and Christine also named their new outdoor arena in honor of Bruce.

The Alberta Paint Horse Club hosted a “Ranchers” Pleasure Stake Class at their show in Chlaresholm, Alberta. July 2015. 
On a borrowed horse, I had only ridden a couple times before the class and Bruce’s hat and shirt …I won the class, with the help from my coach above. I just heard him saying as they asked for hand gallop….”pin er” as Brantley Gilbert sang ” One Hell of Amen” in the background.
All the entry fees from the class went to the cancer society, and I donated my winnings back to the show committee. It was quite a ride.

Ranch Pleasure Stake in Bruce's honor
The Zone 10 Paint-O-Rama horse show held in Ponoka in August also honored Bruce’s memory. Good friends, Monique and Kevin Delainey, sponsored a beautiful buckle that would be awarded to someone recognized as a helpful, supportive individual throughout the entire 5 day circuit.
The buckle was fittingly awarded to our good friend, president of the Sask paint horse club and zone 10 event organizer – Ronnie Nordal. The buckle could not have found a better home, and I know Ronnie will wear it with pride.
Memorial Buckle Award
Laura Martin tribute photo to Bruce Martin
With his hat on my heart….No matter what I do, or where I go… will always be on my mind and forever in my heart.

Donations from Bruce’s memorials and honored events held throughout the summer, total over $7000.00 donated the Canadian Cancer Society and the Lady Minto Foundation (Local Hospital in Edam). Proceeds will help benefit individuals and their families that are currently struggling with and battling cancer. Hoping that new research will buy some quality time allowing those afflicted with the disease, the odd enjoyable day that Bruce got. Hats off my friend…it was indeed a good ride. Your life has and will touch many for years to come. It was not in vain.

Western hat, boots and wheat