Copper Creek Ranch Team
Phil & Catherine Brown
Phil & Catherine have spent a lifetime in the beef cattle business, devoting most of their time to the cattle in their care and in the subtle art of cattle selection and breeding. Phil has a special skill in reproductive technologies and as a team, this couple has bred cattle to receive multiple regional and national championships and whose progeny and genetics have been sold into markets locally and abroad.
They are big believers in practical traits, raising cattle best suited to their respective environments. They make good feet, udders, longevity, efficiency and good temperaments paramount in the Copper Creek Ranch herd, while also seeking to maximize performance.
Both Phil and Catherine are experienced regional and national cattle show judges. Phil was an award-winning showman in his youth who was accomplished in the art of clipping, fitting and showing, “before it was cool”.
Pride is matched with poetry in the showring, which both Phil and Catherine know intimately. From breeding to calving and maximizing genetics through careful management, and training, Phil & Catherine both appreciate most the opportunity to shine in competitive showrings.
They have both attended the Canadian National Breeders’ School, sponsored by the Canadian Charolais Association. Both are trained A.I. technicians. And Phil is a trained hoof trimmer. He is also brilliant with pedigrees, numbers and herd records.
Previous to joining the team at Copper Creek Ranch, Phil and Catherine had their own cattle operation and boarding service in Ontario from which they also consulted for purebred herds from Alberta to Quebec in Canada and from Michigan to Oklahoma in the USA.
Catherine is a graduate of Trent University and of Humber College, with degrees in English and journalism. She has contributed to livestock journals across the country for 35 years and was editor of the Canadian Hereford Digest from 2009 to 2019. Otherwise, she devotes her time to the ranch, managing and moving cows on some days and administering the ranch’s business on others.
Catherine was also the adult advisor to the British Columbia Junior Hereford Association (BCJHA) from 2012 to 2018. And both Phil and Catherine were long-time 4-H leaders and advisors. Phil prides himself on raising ideal meat steers and the ranch’s beef has rivaled that of the most exquisite restaurant fare.
Phil and Catherine have actively managed the day-to-day activities of the ranch together since January of 2012, taking a special interest in the cattle work and herd development.
Bob has dedicated nearly 21 years to the ranch and is our longest-term resident and employee. Hailing from nearby Oliver, BC, Bob’s expertise lies in his great mechanical skill. He looks after ranch vehicle and equipment maintenance and repairs and has a good eye for detail. He is well-connected in the community here and is our go-to guy for most all ranch jobs, including the hauling of cattle and midnight runs to the vet in the wintertime with cows having exceptional calving difficulty.
In the summer months, Bob works together with Kalevi on cropping duty. And he is on constant patrol of the ranch’s irrigation equipment and systems, also keeping them well maintained and serviced.
Occasionally, Bob also builds us needed implements. He is our resident mechanic and maintenance man and as an avid hunter and fisherman, he knows our mountain rangelands more than most Princeton residents and more than everyone put together on the ranch. He is a great outdoorsman and cares deeply about the ranchlands and surrounding community.
Bob plays a very crucial support role to each and every member of the ranch team.
Shawn is our resident cowboy and herdsman. As a young man, Shawn accompanied his grandparents who were the cooks for Alkali Lake Ranch on large cattle drives. That is where he fell in love with the cowboy way of life. Since then, he has acquired heavy equipment operation skills in the construction and logging industries and also worked for stints on dairy farms and for beef cattle ranches in the interior of British Columbia.
Joining our team in 2014, Shawn became our range rider throughout the entire pasture season. Since then, he has orchestrated our cattle moves from pasture to pasture and checked cattle on range, doctoring them when necessary. He and his wife Mandy often sort and move cattle on horseback together with their dogs and they are joined by other ranch staff in larger, significant cattle moves.
Shawn is an experienced horseman and farrier and you will rarely find him indoors. He feeds and manages our ranch horses. While we hire seasonal help to maintain and build our fences, Shawn also does his fair share of fence patrolling and fixing when need-be. Shawn is passionate about his leather work and metal craft work in which he creates beautiful fixtures and tools and handcrafts unique, detailed leather riding gear, rigging and western accessories. He is handy with plumbing, welding and electrical work. Shawn also has great carpentry skills and has put them to work building our horse hay feeders, cattle feed troughs, corral systems and helping us all build our first owl nesting boxes, mounted on trees around the ranch in the fall of 2020.
For just over two months of the winter, Shawn takes on the night shift during weeknights, to oversee our cowherd during calving season. During the spring months, he assists the ranch team, where necessary, to prepare equipment and fields for the growing season.
Kalevi joined our team late in 2020 when he moved to Princeton, BC with his family from his own operation in Saskatchewan. He is our cropping and feeding specialist. Kalevi has a background in truck driving, grain farming, cattle production and cattle feeding. For the decade before joining Copper Creek Ranch, he honed his skills and interest in soil health and in regenerative and organic agriculture, having taken the Allan Savory course in holistic management.
Kalevi loves helping as an extra rider on cattle moves. His task has been onerous, generating ideas and finding ways to help the ranch launch into a new generation of land stewardship and ecologically focused livestock production. He has been working with us to rebuild our soils, cut out herbicides and fertilize our fields naturally. His knowledge of forage varieties and their contributions and his farming knowledge is helping us add diversity to the ranch responsibly. Kalevi runs the bale mixer wagon throughout the winter months, delivering forage rations to all of our cattle management groups. He also beds our cattle, hauls manure, and manages the ongoing manure compost piles along with Bob and Shawn.