“I thought Wilf was just pulling my leg when he phoned,” Hilda says.
The news has now sunk in and Hilda says it’s an honour to have been chosen.
As dignitaries, the pair will attend Rendezvous events this weekend and a couple more during the year, such as the Commissioner’s Ball.
The couple are long-time Yukoners and have made their home in Mayo.
Hilda was born at Ft. Selkirk, Yukon to Rachel Baum, granddaughter of Selkirk Chief Hannon, Robert Campbell. Her father is George Dawson, hereditary Chief of the Ta’an Kwach’an.
“We had the best childhood growing up,” she says. “Lots of hard work and hard playing.”
After doing their chores, Hilda and her siblings were free.
“We used to hunt gophers, grouse, and rabbits,” she says. “We used to walk a mile down to a lake… so we could skate.”
Hilda, who worked as a remedial tutor in the J.V. Clark School in Mayo for many years, remembers in 1945 making the trip to Whitehorse for the Yukon Carnival Week, which was the precursor the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous.
That year she watched the ski races. Two years later she was taking home trophies in two categories, the downhill and the cross-country ski races.
“My love for skiing started when my brother Arthur and I found one ski that someone had thrown away out near my dad’s trap-line,” she says. “For that winter we were adamant that we were going to ski on one ski down the hill. We eventually made it. In those days, I always figured anything he could do, I could do. We had fun.”
Since then, Hilda has only missed a few Rendezvous festivals, as she travels to Whitehorse often to participate in Elder Active senior games, and to visit her family.
In 1960, Hilda met Wilf at the Chateau Mayo, where she worked as a server. He remembers ordering pork-chops and receiving spaghetti instead, but the culinary mix-up didn’t stifle things too much. In 1964 they were married.
Wilf was born in Star City, Saskatchewan, and grew up on a farm with two younger brothers, Morley and Wesley.
But like most young people he wanted to travel and see something different. After myriad adventures across Canada he landed in the Yukon.
Wilf worked as a mechanic and welder, hauled fuel and firewood, worked for the Yukon government, and started a business. He spent a number of years mining and found a 9.5 ounce nugget on Empire Creek.
These days Wilf keeps busy running his business in Mayo where he maintains a land treatment facility and specializes in transportation of heavy equipment, road building, assessment work and furnace repair. Wilf is also an oil burner apparatus inspector, journeyman automotive mechanic and a welder.
In their free time, Wilf and Hilda participate in one of their favourite activities: curling. The couple and have attended many bonspiels across the Yukon and Wilf, a volunteer with the Mayo Curling Club volunteer for many years has been an ice-maker, draw-master and president, representing the Yukon at the Men’s Territorial Championships in 1978.
Hilda was on the Yukon senior women’s team in 1982.
The two are looking forward to attending all the Rendezvous shows and sharing the experiences with their three grown grandchildren.
“Thanks to the YOOP (Yukon Order of Pioneers) for choosing us,” Hilda said.