Ask John Lewis what he does to relax and he has to pause for a moment to think.
That’s because his busy schedule doesn’t provide much down time. When he’s not working cattle on his farm by the Tsolum River he’s helping at his dad’s farm on Headquarters Road. For the past 10 years he has been an estimator with Nelson Roofing & Sheet Metal, in charge of the shingles division.
Lewis, who will turn 50 this year, likes to play basketball when he can, but he’s only managed to get out to one masters league game this year - he’s too busy coaching the sport at G.P. Vanier and Huband Road Elementary, and arranging for the UVic Vikes women’s team to visit the Valley and put on clinics for girls.
Did we mention he is a leader of the Comox Valley 4H Cattle Club, vice-president of the BC Hereford Association and enjoys team roping at local rodeos?
The farm and cattle connection comes from his deep roots in the community.
“I was born and raised in the Valley, as were my great-grandparents. My dad (also John) and I have been farming all our lives. My grandmother’s father (Dick Hurford) owned the Hurford farm on the Dyke. He was one of the original guys to start the creamery in the Comox Valley and import beef cattle here. My dad’s dad was born in Cumberland and worked in the coal mines.”
Lewis’s interest in cattle took a slightly different path some six or seven years ago.
“We were sitting watching (team roping at) a rodeo and had a couple of beers and I said to Lyle Nelson, ‘We’re going to do this next year. And we both got into it and did it.’ ”
While his schedule has curtailed his roping, he notes “In previous years I’ve gone to provincials and got high-point header in 2011 (with the BC Team Roping Association).”
His rural roots led to a long association with the local 4H Cattle Club, first as a member and now as a leader. He says the club has a lot of talented members who enjoy success at the annual PNE show in Vancouver, with several members also representing the district in public speaking.
While he has family in the Lower Mainland that love coming to visit his farm, Lewis is a presence on the Lower Mainland himself.
“I’m in my second two-year term as vice-president of the BC Hereford Association. I’ll probably be president next year,” he said, adding he was a director of the association for six years.
And about relaxing?
“I have a two-year-old son now,” Lewis said of he and wife Tyra’s two-children family. “Our place takes a lot of work… so as far as relaxing, I get out and fish occasionally. If I get the opportunity to.”