Harris Dvorkin, Co-owner & founder of the Ranchman's passes away

Services for Harris Dvorkin will be held at the Beth Tzedec Synagogue, 1325 Glenmore Trail S.W., at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, April 20th. Internment to follow at the Erlton Street Cemetery (Erlton & 32 Ave. S.W.)  

In keeping with the Jewish tradition, no flowers please, but rather, make a donation in Harris's name to your favorite charity.

Born April 10, 1941 Calgary, Alberta. Harris Dvorkin passed away peacefully on April 14, 2017 after battling a long pulmonary illness.

Harris was adopted at age five and raised by his maternal grandparents, Rose Elizabeth and David Abraham Dvorkin.

Harris is survived by his wife Lynette Lucas-Dvorkin; daughter Michelle (Missy) McDonald (Kim) and granddaughters Sarah and Nicole McDonald ; son David Abraham Dvorkin (Deb) and grandson Dexx Sproule (Sara) and step-granddaughters Jenelle Morad (Tareq), Journey and Javelin Pfeiffer; son Kai Dvorkin; daughter Korina Dvorkin (Victor) and granddaughters Victoria, Kathryn, Violet and Lydia Dvorkin; adopted daughter Twylla Rose Dvorkin and granddaughter Adelita Bell (Hunter); step sons Truman Henry McIntyre (Julie) and family; Curt McIntyre (Karri) and family; his sister Giselle Mazier and niece Annabella and nephew Esteban Mazier, Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall Inc. family and fur babies Luckas and Myra.

Harris Dvorkin has held a liquor license in the Province of Alberta since 1965. While working as a Leasing Manger for United Management and later Allarco Developments, Harris honed his skills as a restaurant troubleshooter and served as General Manager of the operated the Beachcomber Restaurant in downtown Calgary. Harris’s accomplishments at the Beachcomber included creating Alberta’s first real nightclub featuring not just dining, but drinking and dancing, and stay later entertainment. Harris assisted in the opening of Oliver’s Old Bailey’s Restaurants in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. He was a partner in My Marvin’s Delis, and involved in at least thirty other restaurants/clubs (i.e. The Uptown) and numerous business ventures.


Harris, together with his partner, Kevin R. Baker, owned and operated the legendary country restaurant & nightclub Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall Inc. since April, 1972 – unheard of for a nightclub to enjoy a life span of 4-1/2 decades. Harris was co-founder of the Ranchman’s Renegades Inc. which produces three PBR professional bull ridings at Ranchman’s yearly supporting such charities as Project Warmth Society, Alberta Champions Society and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.  

Harris was one of the founders of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s Cowboy Benefit Fund. He was instrumental in getting the Boy’s Steer Riding event included in the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Harris assisted the Ladies Barrel Racers in becoming equal to other major rodeo events and sponsored the Canadian Finals Rodeo Ladies Barrel Racing Championship Bronze and CFR Breast Collars for many years, as well as the Season Leader championship saddles for bull riding and saddle bronc.

CEO Harris L. Dvorkin, Marketing Director Wendy Daniel & the #RanchNation thank you for voting 2016 #CCMA Club of the Year https://t.co/e2TQfrWDIV"

CEO Harris L. Dvorkin, Marketing Director Wendy Daniel & the #RanchNation thank you for voting 2016 #CCMA Club of the Year https://t.co/e2TQfrWDIV"

Harris was an avid hunter and firearms specialist and motorcycle enthusiast.  

Harris was a member of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee (1974 to 1995) 

On March 21, 2017, Harris received the Calgary Stampede Life Member designation, the highest honor awarded by Volunteer Services.

Harris was presented the “Forever Champions” bronze by Suzanne inducting him as “Builder”
In to the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2015. 

Harris was awarded a certificate from the Canadian Rodeo Historical Association in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the sport of rodeo.

In November 2011, Harris received the Alberta Foodservice & Restaurant Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Harris was awarded the Canadian Food & Restaurant Association – Lifetime Achievement Award

Harris was honored with a lifetime achievement award by Best Bar None in June, 2015, for over four decades of success in the Calgary Hospitality Industry.

Ranchman’s has been named Best Bar None – Best Club 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2016/17

Harris was a founding member of the Alberta Safer Bar Council to establish guidelines for the
Hospitality industry. 

The City of Calgary and Shell Canada honored Harris with the Silver Spur Award for
Contribution to preserving the City’s western heritage in 1999

In 1999, Tourism Calgary awarded Harris the Honorary Doug Johnson Memorial White Hat Award, saluting excellence in the hospitality industry. 

The Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) inducted Harris into the Alberta Hall of
Fame in 2011. 

Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall Inc. has been awarded the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Country Club of the year on eleven occasions, including
The State of Tennessee by his Excellency Ray Blanton, Governor, presented to Honorable Harris Dvorkin, whereas, reposting special trust and confidence in your patriotism, valor and fidelity, I do by these presents constitute and appoint Colonel Aide de Camp, Governor’s Staff to rank, and such from the date of this commission to hold such office under the conditions prescribed by law, given under my hand and the seal of the Stage of Tennessee at the Capital in Nashville, this 2nd of April, year of our Lord 1976.

Harris was a member of the Academy of Country Music as well as C.A.R.A.S. (Juno Awards)

Harris was an active member and honorary Vice President of the Board of Directors of the
Chevra Kadisha of Calgary

Harris was a member of the Calgary B’Nai Brith 1961 to present. He received a citation for 25 years of service in 2001.

Rotary Foundation of Rotary International awarded Harris Dvorkin, hereby named the Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furthermore of better understanding and friendly relations among people of the world.

Boss Lubricants awarded Harris the Builder Award

The Bow Valley Chapter of the Harley Owners Group awarded Harris with a Lifetime Membership in 2009

Harris was a member and shareholder of the Danish Canadian Club. (1974 to present)

In May, 2002 Harris completed the Alberta Conservation & Hunter Education Program
Instructor course.

In 2003, Harris received a Certificate of appointment as an approved verifier from the
R.C.M.P and Canadian Firearms Registry
In 2014, Harris received the Province of Alberta Instructor Designation of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course 2004

CFSC – CRFSC Instructor 2004 – 2016 Harris was recognized for his dedication and contribution as a firearms safety course instructor.

Instructor Designation of the Canada in Fire Arms Safety Course Canadian Restricted Firearm
Safety Council January 23, 2004

Alberta Conservation & Hunter Education Program completed instructor course May 2002

He was acknowledged as a Life Sponsor of both Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

In 2004 Harris received the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Lifetime Membership Certification

Harris was awarded Certified Instructor of the Alberta Fishing Education Program in 2002

Harris was one of a kind. They broke the mold on this one! Harris will be remembered by his unique dry sense of humor, for his love of hunting, hunting dogs, Harley motorcycles, love of music, the sport of rodeo, and most importantly his family. 

Services are currently being arranged and will be posted in the Calgary Herald and Ranchman’s social media. In keeping with the Jewish faith, please no flowers, but rather make a donation in his name to your favorite charity.


Rodeo Bids Farewell to Entertainment Icon Harris Dvorkin

Courtesy CPRA

Courtesy CPRA

The lights at Ranchman's Cookhouse and Dancehall are a little dimmer today with the passing of founder and long-time owner Harris L. Dvorkin.

Raised between South Calgary and the family farm near Rumsey, AB, Harris developed a passion for the cowboy way of life early on.

His city home was next to a livery stable and Harris rode Shetland ponies that his grandfather had bought. Harris graduated from Western Canada High School and then tried university where he studied pre-med for a short time. He soon realized that he was more inclined to find success in the restaurant business.

He worked as a Leasing Manager for United Property Management, later worked for Allarco Developments and as General Manager of the Beachcomber Restaurant in downtown Calgary. At the Beachcomber he started up Alberta's first real night club and he even hired Tiny Tim for the first act.

Harris continued to form friendships with prominent members of the rodeo world, among them Wayne Vold, Gid Garstad, Buddy Heaton, the Crowchilds and the Gladstones.

The Beachcomber burned down and the opportunity arose to build a steakhouse on the south end of Macleod Trail. That steakhouse would be the Ranchman's and Kevin Baker would be Harris Dvorkin's business partner.

The popularity of the establishment grew with it being the home of the Wayne Vold Show in the 1970's.1976 saw a need for expansion and the Saddle Room was opened. In 1995, a renovation brought the seating capacity up to 1050.

The Ranchman's has been Calgary's Country Music Assocation’s Club of the Year a total of 6 times. It has been named CCMA's Country Club of the Year 9 times. Many of country's biggest names have played there. It has also been the setting for many movies and has been host to the Ranchman's Renegades #PBR Bullbustin' which takes place in the parking lot. This event has been a major fundraiser for the Project Warmth Society and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Center.

Harris Dvorkin was co-founder of the CPRA's Cowboy Benefit Fund. He was instrumental in having the Boys Steer Riding be part of CFR and he helped to get Ladies Barrel Racing recognized as a major event, receiving equal prize money. For many years, Ranchmans has sponsored #CPRA season leader awards. And Ranchmans is also an annual partner in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association's #Grass Roots Rodeo Final.

Harris Dvorkin was on the Calgary Stampedecommittee for 21 years and more recently, on the Alumni Committee.

Harris Dvorkin and The Ranchmans hosted many benefit events for cowboys and cowgirls faced with hard times. Harris estimated that over $2 million was raised for contestants and for charity causes over the years.

Harris Dvorkin was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2015.

The rodeo community extends its condolences to Harris’s family and many, many friends and long-time colleague and assistant, Wendy Daniel.

Ranchman's co-founder Harris Dvorkin dead at 76

More from Bryan Passifiume

Published on: April 15, 2017 | Last Updated: April 15, 2017 10:28 PM MDT

 Harris Dvorkin, owner of the Ranchman's is celebrating its 35 anniversary on the 28th. Photo Credit Leah Hennel/Calgary Herald for Entertainment story by Nick Lewis 


Bull busters and two-steppers across western Canada will raise a glass this weekend to pay tribute to a giant in Calgary’s entertainment scene. 

Passing away Friday after a long illness, Harris Dvorkin was best known as the co-owner of Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall — a fixture in Calgary’s cowboy culture for well over 40 years.

“Harris was one of a kind, they broke the mold on this one,” said Ranchman’s Marketing Director Wendy Daniel in a statement, adding he’ll be remembered for his “unique, dry sense of humor, his love of hunting, hunting dogs, Harley motorcycles, love of music, the sport of rodeo, and most importantly his family.”

A veteran in Calgary’s restaurant and nightclub scene since 1965, Dvorkin managed, owned or was otherwise involved in well over 30 eateries or clubs in the city — including the infamous Beachcomber Club in the downtown core. 

Calgary-04/19/97-On April 28th the Ranchman’s Calgary’s oldest nightclub will be celebrating its 25th anniversary as a country landmark.Harris Dvorkin (the owner) is posing outside by the large Ranchmans sign…….. Photo by Dean Bicknell/Calgary Herald. (For Entertainment story by James M.)~~~

Along with partner Kevin Baker, Dvorkin opened Ranchman’s in 1972, the pair using their know-how in the entertainment and hospitality industries to transform a simple dancehall and cafeteria into a world-famous country music venue that still sees regular visits from artists both established and up-and-coming.

A lifelong Calgarian, Dvorkin was born on April 10, 1941 and raised by his maternal grandparents.

He was a fixture in professional rodeo, and was named to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s (CPRA) hall of fame in 2015, thanks to his long-time support, sponsorship and promotion of the sport. He was among the founders of the CPRA’s Cowboy Benefit Fund, and was instrumental in the promotion and recognition of youth and ladies’ professional rodeo events. His contributions to the sport were also recognized by the Canadian Rodeo Historical Society.

Dvorkin didn’t keep his love of bullriding in the ring, however — nearly 20 years ago he brought professional bull busting right to the Ranchman’s parking lot.


Now in its 18th year, The Ranchman’s Renegades Annual Invitational PBR Bullbustin’ event turned a tame stretch of tarmac into a premier bullriding event that every year still entertains thousands — all in support of local Calgary charities. 

A life member of the Calgary Stampede, Dvorkin was a fixture on the rodeo committee for over two decades, serving from 1974 to 1995. 

Information on memorial services will be made public in the coming days. In accordance with the Jewish faith, the family asks that donations be made to your favourite charity in lieu of flowers. 

On Twitter: @BryanPassifiume