Jeff Green | Mar 09, 2006
Feature Article - March 9, 2006
Feature ArticleMarch 9, 2006
FromParham toNewYork City and back again
by Jeff Green
Life on the farm can become a bit of a grind by the time mid-February rolls around, and even though a conveyer belt takes care of most of his daily barn cleaning job, Lynn Cronk was getting a bit tired of feeding the 30 or so head of cattle and 24 horses he maintains on his family farm near Parham.
So when his wife Leslie saw a Canadian Press article about a call for genuine cowboys to audition for a publicity campaign in New York City , they decided it was worth a try. And a mistake in the e-mail address in the article may have given Lynn a bit of a leg up on the competition.
“The email address didn’t work, so I phoned the office of the Whig Standard, where the article appeared, to see if they could find the right address.”
The next thing you know, Lynn ’s picture was on he cover of the Kingston daily, and the resulting publicity helped secure him a place in the campaign.
A week later, Lynn, Leslie, and their youngest daughter, Savannah , were off to New York City for three days of media events featuring a few cowboys, and a few models dressed up like cowboys. Even though the event was sponsored by the Alberta Tourist Board, there were participants from Texas , some hired models dressed up like cowboys, and Lynn Cronk from Ontario among the mix.
The publicity campaign was set up rather quickly. The Alberta Tourist Board wanted the people of New York City to know that the popular movie, Brokeback Mountain , was filmed in Southern Alberta . So they hired some cowboys and some actors and challenged New Yorkers to tell them apart.
For the Cronks it was an opportunity to live the high life in New York for a couple of days. They were greeted at the New York airport by a limousine, which whisked them to their hotel. Three days of events followed, at places like the Rockefeller Centre, Times Square , and other landmarks, attended by television, radio and newspaper reporters.
“After all that, it was nice to get back to Parham,” Leslie said.
The publicity surrounding the trip has been good for business at Eastern Cowboy Horseback Adventures, a four-year-old trail riding business that Lynn and Leslie run on their sprawling 2,500 acre farm.
They started the business after Lynn took early retirement from Corrections Canada, and the bottom fell out of the beef market. Two factors were in their favour. First, the Cronk farm had a long history with horses, being one of the last farms to keep running on horse power when Lynn was young. Second, Lynn ’s father Norm kept buying up the land surrounding his farm as neighbours grew old and left the farm.
With 24 horses, the capacity to board horses that people bring with them, and a series of lakefront cabins with corral facilities, Eastern Cowboy Horseback Adventures is attractive to a large range of trail enthusiasts, from people looking for a one hour ride, to families and horse clubs who want to ride the trails for a week.
At first the business was small, but the last two years have been very busy,” Lynn said. This year is looking to be busier than ever. “We are getting bookings for mid-April through to October,” said Leslie.
Farm families are used to struggling for markets, but tying their business to leisure activity is beginning to pay off for the Cronks. “This business is so perfect for us it’s scary,” said Leslie Cronk.
With the publicity that came from the trip to New York City , Eastern Ontario Horseback Adventures is receiving enquiries from people in the United States and beyond.