Arthur "Art" Bales
Arthur F. “Art” Bales was many things in his life of 88 years; however, being a rancher was among his favorite things. Arthur loved his wife, his children, and his many grandchildren, but among those favorite things was his love for ranching and for his animals. Art was born into a ranching family and other than the 3 years he spent serving his country in the Marine Corp during the Korean War, he remained a lifelong rancher. Art was born in his family's home to Jim and Margie Bales in 1928. He was raised on the family ranch on the Southfork of the Shoshone River, 10 miles southwest of Cody, Wyoming. Art walked or rode a horse 11⁄2 miles to a small country school, then went to high school in Cody until his 10th grade year when he stopped to help on the family ranch. He spent his days caring for the cattle, sheep in the early years, planting, irrigating and harvesting crops, putting up hay; all done with work horses in those earlier years. Winter feeding of the animals was also done with team and
wagon, while forking loose hay on and off the wagons. He helped with calving duties in the winter, as well as putting the cattle out to summer pastures on Carter and Sheep Mountains. Art always enjoyed breaking saddle horses, some of which he and his brothers got off of the top of Sheep Mountain that were considered wild horses. There wasn't a day he would pass up riding a horse if given the chance.
In 1956, Art married Shirley Ballinger and he continued to work on his parent’s ranch until they were able to rent a nearby ranch for 5 years. After the passing of Art's father in 1965, the ranch was divided among the 3 sons. Art, Shirley, and their four boys, Steve, Tom, Curt and Jerry, moved back to the family ranch. Art and his family worked hard to expand their ranch holdings, cattle numbers and modernize their equipment inventory. There was always fences to fix and many watering improvements made. Art continued to train many good ranch horses as well as stock dogs.
Eventually, Art and his family formed the Art Bales and Sons partnership and worked the family ranch together for many years. Art enjoyed working this ranch with his sons, and later, with his grand kids. It didn’t matter whether it was chasing cows to the mountain pastures, fixing fence, doctoring cows and calves on the mountainside, working brandings, or calving time, he loved his way of life every day. He was a long-time roper during brandings, until he started to get older and he began running the branding iron. He did this for many years. He felt the ranching life was the best place to raise his family and the only way to live.
In 2002, after receiving a cancer diagnosis and receiving treatment, he retired from the partnership, but as he was able, he continued to help out with haying chores and cowboying as much and often as he could.
Art passed away in 2016 at the age of 88. He was loved by many and touched the lives of even more. For his family, neighbors, and many in the community, he will always be remembered for his love of ranching, his smile and willingness to always lend a helping hand.