A Legacy of Determination and Deere
Long before becoming fully mechanized, Mattey Bros., Ltd. logged with crosscut saws and teams of horses.
During his lifetime, Daniel Mattey witnessed the unfathomable in the logging industry. In 1932 in Chase, British Columbia, he had formed Mattey Bros., Ltd., dedicating his life’s work to logging. His family business was built with years of grueling labor, grit, and determination. It started with a fleet of horses, not a fleet of machines.
So, 62 years later, he couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing right in front of his eyes. It was 1994, and Daniel Mattey looked on as his son, Danny Mattey, and grandson, Dan Mattey, fired up a John Deere 690E LC Excavator with an HTH 20T Waratah processing head they had just purchased.
“My grandfather got to see the first processor we got, and it was a whole new world for him,” Dan says.
“He couldn’t believe what it did in comparison to the days of hand bucking, that’s for sure,” added Danny. “It was totally unbelievable for him. For the work my dad did, they were lucky to get a load or two a day, which now, you do it with four or five guys doing eight to ten loads, depending on the wood they’re in.”
After Daniel retired in 1996, his son Danny took over business operations at the office. His grandson Dan became an operator on the jobsites, extending the family business for another generation.
“When my grandfather and his brother started the business, it was just a pole company — they did cedar poles or native cedar poles. They worked with horses and we’ve worked our way up to machinery,” Dan says.
Back then, the logging industry was much more physically challenging, and the work could be treacherous. Using crosscut saws, hand bucking, delimbing and sending logs down a flume, and pulling logs with horses — it wasn’t for the faint of heart.
“My dad logged way up at the top end of Adams Lake, British Columbia. They went up by boat, and they’d go for two weeks at a time, with no one at this end knowing if they got there or didn’t get there,” Danny says.
“The first tractor they got had no blade, so they had to build the trail with the shovels and picks so the tractor could drive up and down instead of the horses. My grandfather always said it was better than horses because he didn’t have to feed the tractor,” Dan says. The stamina required of loggers back then was immense, he adds. “You’d be in a lot better shape then, I’ll tell you that,” Dan says.
We trust John Deere because we’ve had good reliability and service from the dealer.
A NOD TO THE PAST, AND TRUST IN THE FUTURE
Danny began working for his father in the shop as a young teenager and saw the company grow through the years. “I basically started in the shop here when I was young, then drove the truck for a number of years,” Danny says. “When I started, of course, it was all hand fellers, line skidders, or skidding with an old carrier of some kind. Then a few years later, we got into a wheel loader, which was a really big deal compared to the old heel boom. Then we transitioned to what we use today.”
Danny has always enjoyed the lifestyle that comes with the industry and operating the business and seeing it grow over time has been extremely rewarding.
“I’ve got some guys who have been with me for years and years. Just to have them carry on and see their families grow — that, to me, is very important,” says Danny.
Today, working mountainside in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Danny, Dan, and his team use hot logging methods to work as efficiently as possible. This is a logging method where multiple machines are working simultaneously, cutting logs, moving and sorting them from stump to truck in one continuous flow. They have a full fleet of John Deere equipment including a 2654G Swing Machine with a HTH623C Waratah head and a Deere 2656G Log Loader with a claw.
Mattey Bros. purchased its first piece of John Deere equipment, a 544 Loader, back in 1968. The company has stuck with Deere equipment since then, as it works so seamlessly with its Waratah processing heads. “We’ve had good luck with them, so it was an easy choice,” Dan says. “And we’ve run a lot of John Deere equipment, so they seem to go hand in hand. It’s just more dependable than anything.”
“We trust John Deere because we’ve had good reliability and service from the dealer,” Danny says. “Our dealer, Brandt Tractor, is a huge part of what makes us stick with John Deere.”
TRADITION AND LEGACY CONTINUE
Through the generations, many things have changed, but important traditions remain. For the Mattey family, its legacy in the logging industry has spanned three generations. Dan has been working in the family business for 22 years now. He was hoping to be a hockey player, he joked, but once he started working in the shop and out in the field, that dream changed.
Danny said he looks forward to the day when the next generation, his son Dan, takes over the business.
“I’m hoping Dan will carry it on, and hopefully my grandson will come into the business eventually and continue it,” Danny says. While Danny’s grandson might carry on the business, he’ll be bringing a new name into the mix.
“My son isn’t a Dan. I broke the tradition,” Dan says, with a laugh. “I found it too confusing, so I named my son Gavin instead.”
Mattey Bros., Ltd. is serviced by Brandt Tractor, Ltd., Kamloops, British Columbia.
Long before becoming fully mechanized, Mattey Bros., Ltd., logged with crosscut saws and teams of horses.