Talented College Basketball Star

In his second year of college, Colby Fournier will be playing for the Grande Prairie Regional College Men’s Basketball team. Colby was born a natural athlete. He played basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field, and hockey at Bezanson School and played basketball, volleyball and rugby for the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans. He has played basketball for a total of 10 years. Colby has had many successes including being a 4-time zone champion, 3 for basketball and 1 for rugby, 3-time high school all-star, 2 for basketball and 1 for volleyball, the 2015 Peace Wapiti Academy Volleyball Most Improved Player, the 2015 Peace Wapiti Academy Basketball Most Valuable Player and the 2015 Peace Wapiti Academy Male Athlete of the Year.

Colby plans to bring it all to this team and try to help the team to, “make its way back to playoffs and make an appearance at nationals” and to, “come in to the rookie year and make an impact on the team and program on and off the court.” Being an incredible athlete, Colby is definitely going to be a great addition to the team. On top of his goals for the court, Colby also will be working hard in the classroom. He is currently taking heavy equipment technician at the Fairview Campus with the goal of becoming a ticketed mechanic and to run his own service truck. He hopes to, “improve [his] skills and knowledge” in the classroom as well. Colby also talks about his future and what it could have in store for him. “University basketball right now isn’t a top priority to me but is something I’m interested in. Right now, I’m focused on the season ahead right now and do what I can to make this team better,” says Colby.

When it comes to talking about Bezanson, Colby has only good things to say. “Bezanson’s athletic program is awesome. They provide a family feel at that school. Teachers and students know each other very well, everyone looks out for each other’s well being.” His advice for those coming from a small town like Bezanson was, “to always work hard and never think you can’t accomplish something because of where you come from.”

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my parents, for their support, friends and coaches, for teaching the skills to be successful and to always work hard.”

-Colby Fournier





Written by Ally Pilgrim

Another Busy Race Day at the Old Bezanson Townsite

The 8th Annual Bezanson Bog Cross Country Running Race was held at the Old Bezanson’s Townsite on Saturday, September 16, 2017. This race is a part of the Peace Country Wolves Cross Country Running Series, a series of local cross country races that occurs every fall in our region.

GPRC Wolves cross country runner and Bezanson’s own Anna Vandergiessen volunteers as a ‘rabbit’ leading the junior and senior elementary groups around the race course. Photo courtesy of Rick Scott.

“The Wolves X-Country running series is a group of informal, low key cross–country running races. The races and one relay are being held over a ten-week period beginning August. The Series has been set up to develop the sport of cross-country running in the Peace Country. The aim of the series is to encourage participation from athletes of all ages and ability levels.”

Excerpt from www.wolvesxcseries.com

This year’s race at the Old Bezanson Townsite saw 151 runners from all ages groups tackle the trails while enjoying the spectacular fall colours of the beautiful Smoky River Valley. Runners came from across the County of Grande Prairie and also from places like Peace River, Donnelly and Dawson Creek. The Bezanson School team had 27 runners in this year’s event and Coach (and Assistant Race Director) Chris Vandergiessen could not be more proud. 2017 age group winners at this year’s Bog include local runner Margaret Friesen who captured first place in the Master’s Women 5km race in a time of 28:23. Full race results are available at Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club .

The increase in interest over the past few years in this race is in part due to the hard work and dedication of the volunteers who help out on race day. “We cannot always count on the weather to cooperate with our race day plans, but we can bring together a great group of volunteers that are dedicated to keeping the runner’s safe and making the day a lot of fun”, says Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim, Race Director for the 2012-2017 Bezanson Bog. “This race brings runners and spectators from across the region in to our community and in to our historic park. Not only are we showcasing our community and history, but we are making sure they are safe and that they leave happy.”

The Glenmary Saints Cross Country team from Peace River, Alberta poses for a team picture in front of the Historic Timeline of the Bezanson Townsite. Photo Courtesy of Jordan Loughlin

Both racers and their families show up on race day and it makes for a lot of visitors to the park. The views of the Smoky River Valley never disappoint and most runners thoroughly enjoy running along the top of the river valley. This event is also part of the Wolves Series and so it is not unusual to see the GPRC cross country athlete’s participate, as well as young up and coming college runners. The support of the GPRC college team and their volunteers also helps make the day run smoothly.

GPRC Wolves Alumnus Hayden Hollowell keeps pace with some younger members of the Peace Country Wolves cross country team. Hollowell, originally from Hythe, Alberta is a past volunteer of the Bog. Photo Courtesy of Rick Scott.

“Event’s like these do not happen without the support of our volunteers and as organizers we would just like to say Thank You to all those who help out on race day,” says Goetjen-Pilgrim, “we often enlist the help of spectators, coaches and fans and we are very grateful for everyone who steps up to lend a hand, even if it is just cheering our racers on.” Organizers also would like to thank Lighthouse Mechanical, Vector Communications, Lefty’s Café, Bezanson 4H Multi-Club, Bezanson Agricultural Society, the Old Bezanson Townsite Committee, County of Grande Prairie and the Peace Country Wolves Athletic Club for their continued support of our race.

As the 8th Annual event is in the books, local runners including the Bezanson School cross country team, will be looking forward to next weekend’s race, the Steve Burgess Memorial Race, at the Wapiti Nordic Ski Trails.

By Ally Pilgrim


Local Rodeo Star

Photo Credits: S & S Photography

Recent high-school graduate Dustin Shaver has accomplished great things in the last couple years, moving to Texas being one of the biggest. Dustin has moved to Texas to begin his college life as a College Rodeo Star. “The reason [he] went to Texas was to become a better bareback rider as they will be teaching [him] better ways to ride and also teaching [him] to have a better thought on winning,” says Dustin as he fulfills this college athlete position. Some of Dustin’s accomplishments include: winning the Canadian high-school rodeo finals, placing 6th in the Worlds high-school rodeo finals, and winning the Lakeland Rodeo Association (LRA) in his rookie year. He plans to win the college finals in his new adventure as well.

Dustin has been involved with the rodeo lifestyle for about 4 years and has had tremendous support from his family including his uncle, his dad who drove him across the country, and his mom and step-dad Todd who always continued to encourage him to stay strong as well as letting him know that it is okay to fail. Dustin will be participating in college rodeo and upgrading his schooling as well as taking a 4-year bachelor of science program.

Photo Credits: S & S Photography

Coming from a small town can be difficult but it also has its advantages. Dustin had only positive things to say about coming from Bezanson. He says, “For how small Bezanson is everyone was extremely helpful. Teachers like Mr. S giving me advice on how to block out the “white noise” before getting on and neighbours like the Auclair’s encouraging me a lot. Plus, I’m a LaValley so I’m pretty much related to half the town.”

Photo Credits: S & S Photography

Some advice from Dustin to others from Bezanson: “The advice I would give would be that just because you’re from a small town where the big bucks is in the oil field you shouldn’t just go along and do what everyone else does. Take a chance and move away and aim for bigger goals.”

We wish Dustin the best for his new adventure in Texas and hope to see him continue to do great things. Good luck on your 2017-2018 college school year Dustin.



Ally Pilgrim

Photo Credits: S & S Photography

Anna the Cross Country Star

This 2017-2018 college year, Anna van der Giessen will be joining the Wolf Pack at Grande Prairie Regional College as a part of the cross country running program! Anna is an incredible, local athlete who has competed in multiple sports throughout her years at Bezanson School and Peace Wapiti Academy. She played every sport at Bezanson and then stuck to basketball, cross country and track for Peace Wapiti Academy. She excels at all sports and is an incredible athlete, including representing Team Alberta North in Snowshoeing at the Arctic Winter Games. Not only has she successfully completed Emperor’s Challenge Half Marathon in Tumbler Ridge, but Anna has also won the Women’s under 19 Category twice as well as many other awards in the years she has been running. Anna is also very motivated. She will be taking her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at GPRC and then transferring to the University of Alberta in hopes to become a nurse practitioner while being a part of the team. Her goals for the year include, “improving her times and endurance. If she trains hard and make herself the best that she can be, whatever the outcome is, she’ll be happy!”

 Along with her family, friends and community, Bill Corcoran, the GPRC running coach, is also very excited for Anna to be joining the school. “We are really looking forward to working with Anna. She’s a great kid with lots of potential. She doesn’t have a ton of running experience, but she’s athletic. Our program has had really good success with athletes like her. If you have the proper work ethic and some basic talent, you can improve relatively quickly in cross country running,” says Bill.

Anna has played basketball for Northern Energy Basketball, Peace Country Thunder Basketball, Peace Wapiti Academy Titans and the Bezanson Bulldogs. She is a very hard worker and never gives up. She is always friendly and does not fail to make anyone smile. When time permits, Anna is often involved in community events as a volunteer. Anna also came from a small school and has had different opportunities than those coming from larger schools. She leaves a piece of advice for those student athletes growing up in a small community.

“If you are really passionate about the sport, make sure you seek out opportunities outside of school like summer camps or clubs to help you get to the next level. But most importantly, don’t be intimidated!! I found coming from a small school to be beneficial because I got the opportunity to play every sport and get lots of playing time! And playing those other sports has helped me to become a much better runner.”
-Anna van der Giessen

Everyone is so excited to watch Anna in her next step. We wish her the best in her years to come and can’t wait to see her succeed in her new adventure. Anna also would like to thank some people in her community that have helped her with her journey.

“There are so many people who have helped me to get to this point! My teachers in Bezanson and at PWA have all been great and I truly appreciate all the work they’ve put in and the help they’ve given me! And in all my years of playing sports, my coaches have been phenomenal. From volleyball to basketball to track, I have had the best coaches who have given me a love of sports and being active. However, there are two people I’d really like to thank; Les Sonnenberg for always making track season in Bezanson such a success and also Julian Camsell, for taking over PWA’s track team and making my last year of high school track so great!”
-Anna van der Giessen

Photo Credits: Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim

By Ally Pilgrim

Discover Bezanson Photo Contest Winners!

If you visited the Fair and Bench show last weekend at the Celebrate Bezanson festivities you most likely saw the video slideshow featuring our winners of the Photo Contest. Over 75 photos were entered in the contest this year and the Discover Bezanson team would like to express our thanks to all those who entered. What an amazing group of talented people here in our community!

Winners in the Over 14 Categories;

Alberta Boulevard   1st – Landscapes & Nature, Kyle Klassen


Horses   1st Agriculture – Breana Walker


Bezanson Townsite in the Fall   1st – Community Culture, Carolyn Pilgrim


Frosty Morning   Runner Up – Landscape & Nature, Chris Van der Veissen


Summer Camp   Runner Up – Community Culture, Pam Rintoul


Calves   Runner Up – Agriculture, Donna McNally


Winners in the 14 and under Categories;

Hay Yard Pheasant   1st – Agriculture, Holt Gabler


Time to Rest   1st – Landscapes & Nature, Dakota Bell


Way Back When   1st – Community Culture, Tanna Howarth


Reach for the Sky   Runner Up – Agriculture, Dakota Bell


Beauty & the Beasts   Runner Up – Landscapes & Nature, Sadie LaValley


Wild Waves   Runner Up – Community Culture, Tanna Howarth



Special thank-you to our panel of judges and our calendar sponsors for their contributions and congratulations to our winners! Watch for our 2018 Discover Bezanson Photo Calendar, available for sale at the Christmas Craft Sale at the Bezanson Memorial Hall.