Monday, February 28, 2011

Cowboy'n The Way It Was

     If you like reading about “cowboy'n” you would enjoy “Cowboy'n The Way It Was” by Oley Kohlman. You can find it at Oley was a life long friend of the Manville Family. He first met Dan's great uncle, Albert Manville, in 1935 when Albert hired Oley to ride for the Big Park Grazing Association. Dan's dad, Robert Manville, and Oley were both past presidents of the North Park Stock Grower's Association and the Colorado Cattlemen's Association. Oley and his wife Grace were the sponsors of the Junior Colorado Cattlemen's Association (JCCA) when Dan was president of the JCCA back in 1984.

      Oley had a lot of stories about Albert Manville (AL as Oley called him) and following are a few of Dan's favorites that Oley would tell and you will find these in his book. But first here is some background: The Big Park Grazing Association was formed by a group of ranches who ran cattle on the Routt National Forest. They would turn out on the forest in different locations on July 1st and had a rider, who camped up on top of the mountain, ride the cattle all summer. At the end of the summer the cattle were gathered and sorted by brand and driven (as in cattle drive) back to the ranches. Oley was hired by Albert on May 20th 1935 to ride for the Association.

     The Big Park Grazing Association was probably formed in 1919 but very little can be found out about it. There was a rider hired for Buffalo Pass from 1919 to 1941. A complete list is not available but these were known to have rode up there: Albert Manville, Irving Graves, Bert Wilcox, J.W. Mackey, “Stuttering Bill” Latham, & Oley Kohlman who rode from 1935 to 1941 and was the last to ride Buffalo Pass. When Oley started Riding for the Association in 1935 there were 4 permitees (ranches): The Big Horn brand (see below for brands), Albert Manville brand, Bill Latham brand, & Carl Erickson brand and they each had a permit for 250 head.

      The following stories were taken directly out of “Cowboy'n The Way It Was” by Oley Kohlman:

      “Al Manville and I went to Rock River, Wyoming, and bought some horses from a widow whose husband had been killed by a stallion. It may have been a remount stallion that belonged to the United States Government. The U.S. Remount Service put out stallions for ranchers to use to improve the horse herds and there were several in North Park during the 30's and 40's. The stallions were nearly all thoroughbreds. The Remount Service came into North Park and bought horses for the U.S. Army and paid about $175 a head for ones that passed. Many did not pass, but they seemed to like half-thoroughbreds.
      I never thought I'd ever have occasion to see those remount horses again, but I did. The 87th Regiment had calvary horses when I first joined the Army in 1942, but they did not seem to be as good a caliber as the ones they bought in North Park.
      The horses Al Manville bought at Rock River were thoroughbred type. He bought one broke horse, one green broke horse, and a 2-year old stud that I recall. Al kept the broke black horse. I drew the green broke bay horse that I named Fritz. I was always mounted when I got him a little more broke. Al eventually sold the black horse to the Remount. These were flatland horses I helped gather out at Rock River and it brought back memories of when I grew up on the dry land. One time Al had a wreck with that black horse. We were riding Whalen Creek when we came to a steep hillside with nothing but a little narrow game trail. I got off to lead my horse and Al made fun of a scaredy cat. I got part way across, heard a commotion, looked back, and saw that old pony hanging onto the trail by his front feet. He tried to get up and over he went. He and Al tumbled several times to the bottom. I was afraid to look, but Al had only one skinned place on one shoulder and he didn't have much meat on his bones to bruise.
      Al Manville and I had several wrecks, and near wrecks. One morning in the fall we were riding up on the flats, east and south of his house. He had lots of cattle in that field and we ran across a cow with porcupine quills in her nose, then we saw several more. Al was riding his favorite horse name of Stranger. I'm riding old Hippo. I caught the first cow and missed my dallies so she got away with my rope. Al always tied hard and fast so I got a lot of ribbing about losing my rope. We dequilled that cow. The next was a big brockley faced cow. Al caught her around the big middle (between the front legs) and he had not tightened his cinch so that cow was about to pull his saddle over Stranger's head. Al was a little man with somewhat of a hump back and Stranger was a big high-headed horse. Together that was a sight, him begging for me to come catch that cow, and get him out of a pickle. I did follow him around a bit to enjoy it before I caught the cow. As I look back on it tho', I wonder why we didn't gather those cows with quills and go to the corral.
      Al also had chickens and a chicken house banked with loose hay. The dogs had dug nests back into the hay where they slept year round. One fall just at dusk I saw a skunk. I went to some trouble getting the dogs to see it. They did and triggered what a skunk does. That night Al started to the barn to turn some horses out. A couple of minutes later he came back to the house, lit a coal oil lantern, got his .22 rifle, and said, “there is a skunk in the chicken house.” He did not find anything. The next night he went to turn out the horses and the same thing happened, rifle and the works. When he got back that night I asked him, “Have you smelled your dogs lately?” He won some and I won some, but we had lots of fun and a good relationship and remained friends for as long as he lived.”

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Redd Ranch Bull Sale

      One day in 1981, when I was 15 years old, dad and I headed out to Paradox, Colorado to the Redd Ranch annual bull sale. I remember I was 15 because I just had my drivers permit and dad let me drive our 1976 Lincoln Town Car all the way from our ranch near Walden to Paradox which is about 375 miles. That Town Car was a real cruiser it just floated down the road as fast as you wanted it to go. I still believe to this day that it was the best car we ever owned. If I remember right we drove to Paradox the day before the sale and returned the day after.

      We had always used Hereford bulls for as long as I could remember up until that sale. The Redd ranch had about 300 Red Angus bulls in the sale and I believe we bought 5 or 6 of them. So we ended up with some Red Angus/Hereford cross calves for awhile but not for long because we sold the cattle and ranch about 5 years later.

      Paradox is on the Colorado Utah border in Mormon country. I remember this because it was my first experience with Mormons. I remember my dad telling me the owners of the Redd Ranch must have been Mormon because the Mormon Church had a concession stand there. I also remember my dad telling me the Mormon Church would be right there after the money was counted up at the end of the sale to collect their cut. I don't know if that was true but that experience has stuck in my mind all these years.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


     One of those calves out of my Simmental bull was out of a Hereford/Shorthorn cross cow. That calf was a Simmental/Hereford/Shorthorn cross heifer. She turned out to be a nice big white and roan cow who gave a lot of milk. She turned out to be one of those cows that you had to keep an eye on because she would run you up on the fence. A trait that earned her the name Hateful.

      Whenever we would ride a horse out to gather the herd she was in she would lift up her head and take off the wrong way and take all the cows with her. She was also one of those cows we should have got rid of early on but kept because she always had the best calf. I don't remember how long we kept her but we finally did get rid of her making gathering cattle a lot more pleasant.

The Simmental Bull

     When I was 13 years old I bought a coming 2 year old Simmental bull at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. It must have been in January of 1980. I bought him private treaty for $1300 down in the yards but I can't remember from whom I bought him. Dad made me do my own negotiating to buy that bull. After I bought him dad and I had to go all the way home to Walden to get a vehicle to transport the bull. We didn't own a stock trailer at the time we just had a 1960 something F600 stock truck that dad didn't want to drive all the way to Denver to pick up 1 bull with.

      So we put a stock rack on our 1979 Chevrolet four door dually pickup and headed back to Denver the next day. We loaded the bull in the back of the pickup and tied his halter to the front of the stock rack and headed home. We must have tied him too long because when we got up on I-70 from the stock yards that bull jumped up over the front of the stock rack and he had both front feet on the roof of the pickup and his head pulled down between his front legs by the halter.

      I thought we were going to cause a pile up on I-70 with all those city folks gawking at us stupid hicks from the sticks. We pulled over on the side of the interstate and got the bull back down in the bed of the pickup & tied him up shorter. We made it home without any more mishaps but that poor old dually had two big dents in the roof for the rest of its days.

      That summer we turned that Simmental bull out with the cows and 2 weeks later he stifled himself and that was the end of his career. So I only ended up with a handful of calves out of him. It turned out that dad wasn't real crazy about me buying that bull but didn't want to discourage my enthusiasm. I also could tell that the foreman of our ranch was less than thrilled to see us unload that Simmental bull. I guess they knew back then what I came to know later and that is that bull would have taken my cattle in the wrong direction; Too big and too much milk. This experience taught me my first lesson about the financial risks of ranching. Losing that bull was a blessing in disguise.


     This is the place where I am going to share things I recollect from my days growing up on our ranch near Walden, CO.  These "digressions" will not be in chronological order or any order for that matter but just posted as I recollect them.  A word of warning I am not nor have I ever been a writer so my writing style may develop as I go along but will probably remain mostly a "redneck style".  My spelling and grammar will not always be correct but that will be part of my "style".  I know this will be a problem for some like my artistic wife who is a writer so sorry honey.

     This blog came about as the result of a project I have taken on to try and preserve our family and ranch history.   I will be posting my recollections here as well as sharing some recollections of family members.  So grab your favorite beverage and sit back and enjoy.