Grand River Roundup

Only a sprinkle of rain this week, but it’s been hotter than blue blazes with temperatures in the triple digits almost every day. Harding County has been designated a D3 drought area with extreme fire danger.

Betty Olson COLUMN BOX 2Only a sprinkle of rain this week, but it’s been hotter than blue blazes with temperatures in the triple digits almost every day. Harding County has been designated a D3 drought area with extreme fire danger. There were a couple fires, one started by machinery and another by lightning, but they got put out before they did much damage.

Paul Hennessey, 95, died July 14 at the Belle Fourche Senior Care Center. Paul was buried in a private graveside service at the Chance Cemetery near where he grew up. Paul drove the bookmobile for years and wrote the book “Tipperary – The Diary of a Bucking Horse 1905-1932”. Paul knew a lot of interesting historical stories about this area, so we always had a long visit when he stopped here with the bookmobile.

Wynn VanDenBerg’s memorial service will be held Saturday, July 30 at 1:00 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spearfish. Wynn passed away June 3 in Colorado after a long battle with ALS.

These families have our sympathy.

Trig went with the Harding County boys to play basketball at a tournament in Selby on Monday. Missy went over to watch with Starla Jenson and Lynette Stugelmeyer while Reub and Casey fixed a cattle guard over at Glendo.

Celia Welch has some old pictures that were taken in the Slim Buttes a long time ago. Betty Niemi asked Bill Vroman and me to meet them at the Buffalo Museum to see if we could identify some of the people and the locations. Tuesday morning, we met at the museum to go through the pictures with Celia and Betty. There were a lot of horses and cowboys pictured and we could tell from the buttes in the background that they were taken at the old JB ranch just north of Greg and Deb Wammen’s ranch. The Jones Brothers had a big horse ranch that was one of the earliest ranches in this area. We couldn’t identify any of the cowboys in the pictures, but some of the cowboys and kids looked like people we knew from that part of the Slim Buttes, but none of us are old enough to remember what most of those old-timers looked like.

Reub, Casey and Trig have been tearing down old corrals and buildings that are falling apart over at our east ranch at Glendo. All of the stuff they’re tearing down was built by either my great grandfather, my grandfather, or my uncles a long time ago. The thermometer registered 103 degrees that afternoon when I drove over to look at the project. They were trying to keep as much in the shade as they could while they were working and I dang near melted when I walked through the Glendo Cemetery to check on the graves.

It was really hot again Thursday when we went to Hettinger for Reub’s appointment with Mary Eggebo. When we left Mary’s that afternoon the car thermometer registered 105 degrees. We needed some stuff from the NAPA store east of town and as we came back through town on the blacktop highway the thermometer hit 109 degrees! It’s hard to believe it could be that hot, but the blacktop must have been radiating that extreme heat.

We were pleased that Mel Eggebo is home recovering quite well after his heart surgery in Rapid City. Verona Vroman is also home and doing well after her heart surgery in Rapid City.

Lanie, Matt, and little Trace came down from Dickinson on Friday evening to spend Saturday on the water at Shadehill with Casey, Missy, Bryce, Amanda, and some of Missy’s family. Trig had football camp in Buffalo Saturday morning and then he headed north to go to a team roping with Sterling Lee.

In 2014 the South Dakota legislature passed my bill to designate the fourth Saturday in July as the Day of the American Cowboy. Taz and some other local cowboys celebrated the holiday at the rodeo in Spanish Forks, Utah and Trig and Sterling Lee celebrated by team roping in Sydney, Mont. Since this is a working holiday, Reub when up to our Horse Creek pasture to check water and I celebrated by going to the Nash family reunion in Hettinger Saturday evening to visit with a lot of neighbors.

The 40th anniversary of the Reva Turtle Races was this weekend. It was really hot Sunday afternoon when a large crowd gathered to watch the turtle races, bat race, chicken roping and other games in Reva. After the races six of us that have been at every one of the forty turtle races got our picture taken outside the Reva Hall. Charley Verhulst, Scott Besler, Dwight Sabo, Mark Lermeny, Yoland Martin, and I have attended every turtle race for the last 40 years.

The guys spent a lot of time working on cattle guards this week and that reminded me of this story Deb Kahl sent me a couple years ago:

For those of you who have never traveled to the west or southwest, cattle guards are horizontal steel rails placed at fence openings, in dug-out places in the roads adjacent to highways (sometimes across highways), to prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason the cattle will not step on the guards, probably because they fear getting their feet caught between the rails.

A while back, President Obama received a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado. Because Colorado ranchers had protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, he ordered the Secretary of the Interior to fire half of the guards immediately.

Before the Interior Secretary could respond and presumably straighten him out, Vice-President, Joe Biden, intervened with a request that before any guards were fired, they be given six months of retraining.

Proof ‘they’ are among us, they breed and sometimes get elected to office by like-minded people.

Passed on to you without further comment….

Betty Olson is a South Dakota rancher and state legislator for District 28.