Jesse Jacob (Jake) Coutlee, born in Merritt, September 1942, raised at Douglas Lake where his father, Oscar, ran the farm crew. Jake's career began at Douglas Lake around 1955. He was fourteen when Mike Ferguson assigned him to roping calves for branding. He had been driving teams with the farm crew since he was nine but wasn't on the payroll until he started working for Mike, and stayed working at the Douglas Lake Ranch until his retirement in 2007.
Over the 50 plus years Jake worked on the ranch he could tell the history and details of every cow horse on the ranch. He kept track of other things too, such as the fifty-two different cooks that worked at the ranch while he was there. He was a man to watch if you wanted to learn to do things right. He led by example and many cowboys, novice or experienced, learned from him. Jake was a top hand, legendary cow man and highly skilled with a rope.
For a few years, Jake and his team roping partner Scotty Holmes were contenders in the local rodeo circuit but it was hard to travel too far afield working six days a week. It has been said about Jake, that any cowboys who rode with him over the years had 'something to brag about'.
Courtesy of the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society