In The Hand Hills


Tucked away in the scenic Hand Hills, this house and barn were built in 1909 on the present land owner's great uncle Mark Lenfesty's homestead. When the family, consisting of William and Anna Elsie Lenfesty and their children Sterrie, Mark, Day, and Stella (Babe) Lenfesty, moved to the Hand Hills, they spent the first winter in a sod shack a mile and a half south of Mark's future homestead. In the spring they acquired the lumber from Stettler and built the house and barn on Mark's property. They all lived there until they were able to finish building on each of their own properties. Mark lived on his property until the well went dry in the 1960s when he moved in with family who farmed the land to the south.

William “Grandpa” Lenfesty was a stonecutter by trade, but like many settlers worked a variety of jobs. Driving a food wagon in the Riel Rebellion, he took an arrow to the forehead. Carrying nitro-glycerin, the man showing him how to handle it lost his hand when he accidentally bumped a small container on a rock. Grandpa Lenfesty worked as a steam shovel operator for the Grand Trunk Railway and later the C.P.R. He followed the railway west and homesteaded near Shepard in 1902.

The present land owner, Day Lenfesty's grandfather took first place in saddle bronc at the first Hand Hills Stampede and was a founding member of the Hand Hills Lake Club House. The Lenfesty family has been an essential part of the rodeo's success over the last 100 years. Day is treasurer of the Hand Hills Lake Community Club. He handles most of the community functions, cooks for catering events, and mans the food booth at the stampede with his famous saskatoon pie.

On July 20, 1917, the first Handhills Stampede was held on J.J. Miller's ranch at the south end of Hand Hills Lake. The local branch of the Red Cross sold admission ribbons for $1 a piece; women and children received free admission. They raised $3200 with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. Many locals pitched in to make the first show a success, and that community spirit continues 100 years later.

Currently, Day Lenfesty and his brother Tim and family farm the homestead lands of Grandpa Lenfesty, Sterrie, Mark, and his grandfather Day, as well as the land acquired by his Aunt Babe and her husband, Lawrence Ringrose.