The La Reata saloon bar is as authentic as it can be with all manner of cowboy paraphernalia including guns, cowboy hats, boots and gloves littering the shelves. There was an endless supply of beer in the saloon's big refrigerator plus plenty of shorts including a local strange vodka called 'Lucky Bastard'.
Out in the hills you might come across cougars, porcupines and little prairie gophers while George says that there is also a big herd of around 100 wild antelope which runs free.
Saskatchewan province is known as 'The Land of Living Skies' and we certainly saw plenty of them. A big thunder storm passed through one evening while the temperature remained in the mid-20s … but it's a different story in the winter which is a fact of life in Canada.
After heavy snowfall, getting around can be a real problem yet clearing crews will often work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to plow, grit and sand the roads to ensure that everyone keeps on the move. And unlike the British, who are always worried that someone might take court action against them if they slip on a newly swept path, Saskatchewan citizens are expected to clear all the sidewalks following a major snow event and they certainly 'snow' what to do to keep you safe.
On the brighter side, Saskatchewan is also one of the sunniest places in Canada as it shines on over 300 days a year with its most enduring image being the endless fields of golden wheat waving in the breeze while dotted around are the big grain elevators and huge storage hoppers.
While it has already rained far more than usual this year, not all of last season's grain has been distributed yet, such is the volume that the farmers grow. Saskatchewan is also the world's biggest producer of potash and mustard and its claim to 'flavour the world' is not so far from the truth.
* Next I explore the town of Moose Jaw and its secretive tunnels made famous by gangster Al 'Scarface' Capone during prohibition times in the United States before I spend time with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on a Boot Camp at their national headquarters in Regina.
Delta Bessborough Hotel - 601 Spadina Crescent E, Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G8, Canada.
Phone: 306-683-6906 www.deltahotels.com/Hotels/Delta-Bessborough
Ayden Kitchen & Bar - 265 3 Avenue South, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1M3, Canada. Phone: +1 306-954-2590
Thompson's Camps Otter Lake Resort & Canadian Fishing Outpost Camps Lodge - Managers: Simon & Wendy Parsons
Phone: (306) 635-2144
Fax: (306) 635-2134
Auto Clearing Motor Speedway - Contact: Herm Hordal
PO Box 169 Saskatoon, SK S7K 3K4, Canada.
Phone: 306.651.FAST (3278) www.autoclearingmotorspeedway.ca
La Reata Ranch - Contact: George Gaber, Kyle, SK
Phone: 306-375-2225 or 306-375-2291 www.lareata.com
Many thanks to Tourism Saskatchewan's Media Relations Consultants Shane Owen and Jodi Holliday for making my Canadian experience so enjoyable. And to Angela Moore of Tourism Saskatoon – 101-202 4th Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK Canada S7K 0K1, Phone 306 242 1955, www.tourismsaskatoon.com – for a very memorable couple of evenings. Thanks also to Nim Singh, Media & Public Relations Manager of the Canadian Tourist Commission – www.keepexploring.ca – for arranging the trip and to fellow travellers, Finnbarr Webster, Jack Palfrey, Stuart Foster and Octavia Pollock … it's certainly a trip none of us will ever forget.
For Saskatchewan Province details, contact Tourism Saskatchewan, 189-1621 Albert Street, Regina, SK S4P 2S5 – www.tourismsask.com