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Burl Potter

Burl was born in 1921 in Linwood, Utah, and was the 4th of 13 siblings. He worked on the family farm during his early years. He went to a one room school house until the 8th grade.


In 1933 at the age of 12, he had the job to change out the horses on the construction of a road, which used horse drawn equipment to do the work. His responsibility was to take a string of horses to the job site every other day. This was through miles and miles of open country between Manila, Utah to Green River, Wyoming.


As a young boy his father sent him to take a herd of sheep to summer pastures on the Uinta mountains. He remained with them through the summer living in a sheep camp and having only his horse and dog for company. He remembers the thunder and lightening storms he endured during his stay on the mountain.


Some of his favorite stories are of times he and his brothers wrangled wild horses and broke them to ride. The horses were their saddle horses they used for ranch work. The other cowboys gave him the name Sorrely, because his hair was the color of a sorrel horse. He never forgot the names of those horses or any other horse he used in cowboying.


He worked for several ranches sounth of Rock Springs, Wyoming as a ranch hand until 1956.


In 1956 Burl moved his family to Daniel, Wyoming to work for Bob and Mildred Miller on the Flying V ranch. Ranch life at the V included taking care of a herd of cows. Taking them to the Green River Drift for summer pastures and then rounding them up in the fall to bring back to pasture. During the summer hay was put up by horse drawn equipment. During the winter the cattle were fed using a horse drawn sleigh. There were always brandings during the summer which required all cowboy hands to help. There were always cowboys going to and from other ranches in the area who would show up for a delicious dinner provided by Burl’s wife Pete.


In later years Burl went to work for Buss Fear at Big Piney, Wyoming. Buss became his best friend. The two were often seen working cattle together. Burl’s favorite task was to take care of the cows. He was known for his ability to read cows, accurately count and his memory of brands. He spent many days horseback, driving cows to and from locations for summer and winter pastures. Cow camp was to become his favorite place.


He always believed a man could not work unless he had a good breakfast. The coffee pot had fresh coffee added to old grounds and could sink a horse shoe. The morning meal always included sour dough pancakes, eggs and bacon.


After Fear Ranches were sold, he worked for Bill Barney until his retirement.


Burl lives in Arizona now but is still that cowboy, getting up every morning and putting on his cowboy boots and never leaves the house without the black cowboy hat.

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