“If there is a providence that guides the fates of men, and I believe there is, then He has been particularly kind to me”, Steve says. He goes on, “not everyone at my age gets to do what they love and love what they are do. As I look back over the course of my life, it seems all of my life’s experiences conspired to prepare me for where I am today.”
Steve first became interested in horses as a result of a PE program he took as he attended Ernest Manning High School in Calgary. The class took two weeks of riding lessons at a riding facility on the outskirts of Calgary. Steve was bitten by the bug. To stay in touch with horses, he began to attend weekend and winter camps with Pioneer Ranch Camps in Sundre and Rocky Mountain House in central Alberta. “I became something of a fanatic. While there were other activities at the camp, riding was pretty much all I did. The wranglers took me under their wing, showed me the ropes and let me work along side them.”
During his last year in high school, Steve started developing the vocational skills that he would use for much of his working life. At age 17, he started building wood frame houses and condominiums all over Calgary while attending his last semester of high school. “It was a great experience for a young man. Larry, our boss, was very patient with me at the outset and the crew, all of which were older than me, took the time to teach me to build fast and to build well.”
Steve graduated from Ernest Manning High School in the spring of 1977 with high honors. After building houses for the summer months, he enrolled at Trinity Western College (now TWU), first in a course of liberal arts and social studies, but then transferred into science where he worked towards a biology major. In addition to biology courses, he studied the other sciences including chemistry, physics, microbiology, calculus and accounting. Steve did not graduate from Trinity Western as they did not have degree granting status at that time, but he did achieve notable grades consistently at the top of all his classes. In addition to his own studies, Steve worked as a teacher’s assistant and lab tech in a number of the lab courses such as first year biology, microbiology and cell biology.
Steve continued to exercise his interest in horses by serving his summers at Timberline Ranch Camp in Maple Ridge B.C. He worked two summers there as wrangler, teaching horsemanship and general ranch maintenance.
In the fall of 1980, weary of school and short of money, Steve left the lower mainland for Squamish where he spent a year building again. “Squamish was good for me,” Steve says, “We built a number of commercial properties including a medical clinic and gas station/convenience store. This was important experience for me as I later built commercial property for myself.”
In the fall of 1981, Steve returned to school: this time to the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of British Columbia. He studied animal physiology and nutrition with a possible future as a large animal veterinarian. “UBC was a lot of fun for me”, Steve reports. “Because I had so much previous credit in the general sciences, I got to play the field at UBC. I took extra courses in soils, forestry, range management, economics—all kinds of stuff. It made my time there a lot more interesting and taught me things I did go on to use.”
Steve graduated from UBC in 1984 with his B.Sc. (Agriculture) with high honors. In addition to his high grades, he was awarded academic scholarships in 1982, 1983 and was awarded the Dean Blythe Eagles Medal upon graduation in 1984. Daunted by the notion of 6 more years of post secondary education, and, newly married to Cindy, Steve did not choose to move on to vet school.
“Continuing on in school just didn’t make sense. The academic track I was on led to either lab work, agricultural rep work, or government work. None of these appealed to me. I am a business man through to the core of my being. I never enjoyed lab work and my experiences working in and for the Ministry of Forests persuaded me not to pursue government work.”
In 1985, Cindy and Steve purchased a 14 acre block of property in Squamish and embarked on a project to build a small resort. Over the next 19 years they would build and operate the Dryden Creek Resort. “We had NO money to build that property. We did everything for ourselves. Roads, bridges, water mains, sewer mains, full service camp sites, motel rooms, specialized heavy equipment—you name it, we built it. When I couldn’t afford to buy nice cedar doors for the motel suites, I built them. We couldn’t afford decent wood furniture for the suites, I built that too. I learned to drive dozers, backhoes and excavators. I did the electrical, plumbing, welding, machine work, concrete work, cabinetry, tree planting, tree falling, irrigation---everything.” Steve goes on to say, “You learn a lot when you have to do it all.”
Steve and Cindy have owned and operated Twin Creeks now for 7 years. Steve has been able to leverage his substantial previous experiences into the on-going upgrade and redevelopment of the property.
“We have accomplished a great deal in the years we have been here. We re-did all the living quarters so that essentially all of our current staff now live on-site. Thousands of feet of new fencing, all new paddocks, 12 new in’n’outs, nearly 4 kilometers of new all season forest trails, construction of our new covered training center, upgrades to our round pen, huge expansions to our water system, drainage system, and more! We have designed, tested and introduced our signature footing to the indoor arena, training center, track, paddocks and round pen with stellar results. With respect to our cattle operations, we’re probably 90% more efficient and a 100% more ecologically sound---and still improving!”
Steve continues, “I have a vision of this place in my mind—we’re not there yet—but we are getting there. Over the years, Twin Creeks has become a great place to keep a horse in comfort and safety. It’s become a wonderful place to play with your horse with the trails, indoors, our coaches and beautiful location. We’re going to continue to build on that. I have some really exciting projects still in my mind. Things are going to get better yet.”