By Liz Wood 

Carbon County Cowboys ride into history

 

Liz Wood

Ron Garretson, center, smiles after receiving his Cowboy Hall of Fame award from Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi and Russell "Pinky" Walter. His family, left to right, daughters Cindy Garretson-Weibel and Shawn Janson, wife, Joyce Garretson, and presenters Walter, (behind Joyce), Sen. Enzi and Valerie Remick, Region VII State Board Chairman Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The room was brimming with cowboy hats.

Cowboys and ranchers from across the state filled the room at the Fort Reno building at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas Sunday afternoon. They were there to recognize the first 32 inductees into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.

One woman and 31 men were recognized for their dedication to the ranching way of life. Four of those men were from Carbon County.

Sen. Mike Enzi presented the plaques and medals as Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns announced the recipients.

Enzi said he felt privileged to be at the presentation and he was thrilled to see that someone had come up with the idea to honor the cowboys of Wyoming, because "This is the Cowboy State."

Tim Barkhurst

Tim Barkhurst, of Saratoga, was the first to be recognized in the list of impressive ranchers that helped shape the state.

Barkhurst's grandparents homesteaded in the Platte Valley in 1880 and Barkhurst learned much about the cowboy ways from his uncle, Jesse Barkhurst. Jesse Barkhurst rode with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

Barkhurst had no idea he had been nominated for the award until two weeks ago, he said. Barkhurst said that Sunday was one of the best days of his life, especially since he was able to share it with his family. "What a great deal ... to be able to represent the great state of Wyoming," Barkhurst said.


Before and after the ceremony, Barkhurst was overwhelmed, but also happy to be one of the first to be inducted in the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame. "I appreciate everything everybody did," Barkhurst said.

While growing up on the family ranch, T. Barkhurst built his first bucking chutes. Barkhurst was a Wyoming State High School Rodeo champion bull rider and runner-up for all around champion according to his bio submitted to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame. Barkhurst continued to win in rodeos in team roping and calf roping.

Barkhurst was a brand inspector for 40 years. He worked for other ranches during his career before returning to the family ranch where he and his wife Margo raised their four children, Shelly, Sarah, Shea and Bub.

Frank Carroll

Frank N. "Fearless" Carroll was posthumously recognized for his contribution to the Cowboy State as a cowboy and rancher. Carroll passed away in 2013, but his daughters Jana Cook and Candy France were at the presentation to accept the award on his behalf.

Valerie Remick, who serves on the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame board of directors, nominated Carroll according to his daughters.

"(Valerie) asked if she nominated him, would we round up photos and informationhey felt honored when they learned their father had been chosen to be in the first induction to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame."

France said she believed her father would have wondered what all the fuss was about because he was doing what he was supposed to be doing.

"Secretly, he would be pleased," France said.

Cook said she was happy, but sad, when she learned he would be in the first group of inductees. She was happy he was being recognized, but sad that he was not here to receive the award.

"I am proud, too, because he is a true Wyoming cowboy," Cook said.

Carroll was one of the first ranchers to introduce Charolais cattle to the Encampment Valley. Cook and France recalled that they would enter the Charolais in the county fair, but would never win because they were competing against Black Angus steers. That didn't deter Carroll and he went on to win Grand Champion Steer and Grand Champion overall at the Wyoming State Fair, France said.

Carroll got his start in ranching on the family ranch on the Little Laramie River near Laramie. Carroll attended school on the ranch and studied at the University of Wyoming.

Carroll was a saddle bronc rider in his younger years and earned the nickname "Fearless".

Carroll served in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to Laramie to marry his high school sweetheart, Jane Davis.

Together they purchased the Cow Creek Ranch near Encampment. Carroll also raised Quarter horses, making sure his daughters had good horses to ride.

Carroll was one of first recipients of the Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering Pioneer Award.

Ron Garretson

Ronald "Ron" Garretson was the third Carbon County resident to be recognized at the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame Sunday.

Garretson was humbled by the award. "It was quite an honor," Garretson said. "There are a lot more guys that are out there that are far more deserving than I am."

Garretson said he appreciated being honored with so many of the great cowboys in the state.

Garretson said he took a 32-year break from the ranching life when he worked for the county and that those honored on Sunday have been cowboys all of their life.

Garretson, who grew up in Elk Mountain, spent his early years working on the family ranch there. He also worked on other ranches including the Sanger Ranch, Peterson Ranch and the One Bar Eleven.

Garretson was the founder of the Donald E. Erickson Memorial Chariot Races in Saratoga and ran his own teams in that race for many years.

Garretson served on the Interstate Chariot Racing board of directors.

Garretson worked for the Carbon County Road and Bridge from 1977 until his retirement a few year ago.

He spends his free time doing day-work and raising, training and trading horses.

Garretson and his wife Joyce, have two daughters.

Ray Weber

Cecil "Ray" Weber, of Baggs, was the fourth and final Carbon County Cowboy to be recognized Sunday.

"I can't think of any better honor than to be called a cowboy," Weber said after the ceremony. He said he wanted to thank everyone who had done anything to make the Cowboy Hall of Fame possible.

Weber started his cowboy career riding a rocking horse, his bio said. He began riding the work horses on the family ranch near Baggs. As a young boy, he pieced together a saddle using scraps of leather and discarded saddle parts when he was a young boy. He would ride from the family ranch to Flat Top and Muddy Mountain with his brothers Wayne and Boone. They would be gone all day.

Weber has roped wild horses to gentle them and broke them to ride. "He has spent a lifetime in the saddle," his biography said. At age 82, he still rides a horse when working cattle, roping calves at branding and team roping. Weber has spent his entire life on the Weber Ranch in the Little Snake River Valley, and was nominated by Jack and Diana Berger, of Saratoga, for the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The four Carbon County cowboys were in good company as they were recognized with other cowboys and ranchers like Paul Bruegman 1919-2001, of Cheyenne, who was a three-time pickup man at the Nationals Finals Rodeo; Edwin "Cam" Camblin 1877-1950, of Gillette, who came into the Wyoming Territory when powerful cattlemen were hiring gunmen from the south. Camblin was hired as W.C. Irvine's personal bodyguard during the Johnson County War.

 

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