C.W. "Chuck" & Dick Curtis
Dick Curtis was born in Meeteetse Wyoming on July 21, 1929 to C.W. (Chuck) and Edith Curtis.
Dick was a third generation Wyoming rancher, his grandfather Alfred came to Wyoming in the 1880’s and settled into ranching in Big Horn County, with the exception of six years spent in Idaho, Alfred Curtis spent the rest of his life ranching in the Greybull river area. C.W. Curtis (Dick’s Father) was born in 1905 in Blackfoot Idaho to Alfred and Mae Curtis. C.W. Curtis followed his father Alfred into the ranching business, working on many ranches in the big horn basin. By age twenty-one C.W. managed the famous Pitchfork Ranch out of Meeteetse Wyoming. Dick spent his young years working on the ranches with his father, breaking and shoeing his own horses by age of eleven. Dick excelled in every aspect of ranching, from cow camps, gathering, shipping and everyday management of the families ranching operation.
The Curtis family moved to Montana for three years, where they had a ranch on the Boulder River. Returning to Park County C. W. for the second time became manager of the Pitchfork Ranch, by this time Dick was in high school at Meeteetse High where he excelled in sport while he continued to work on the Pitchfork Ranch as well as breaking and shoeing horses for other ranchers. Dick graduated from Meeteetse High in 1947 and married Betty Heiden in May of 1949.
Together with his young sons C.W. leased the W Bar Ranch on the Wood River. The Park County ranch was 5,000 acres and ran 500 head of Herford cattle. The Curtis family continued to ranch and grow as a family. Dick and Betty had two children while at the W Bar Ranch, Joanie was born in 1950, followed by Doug in 1952. In 1953 the Curtis family leased a ranch in Big Timber Montana, They continued ranching at a much larger scale for the next eleven years in Montana before returning to Park County with the purchase of the Two Dot Ranch, as co-owners and full operators of the Two Dot they controlled 250,000 acres, ran 2500 head of angus cows and over 100 head of registered American Quarter horses.
C.W. was the general manager of the ranch, member of Wyoming Stock Growers Association and The American National Livestock association, while Dick co managed the cattle operation with brother Earl and was manager of the horse breeding, breaking, training and sales. Chuck Jr. managed the farming end of the ranch. Dick raised and trained top ranch, rodeo and racehorses. One of Dick’s most favored complements came from Weldon Rutledge of National Cutting and Reigning horse fame. When meeting Weldon for the first time (Dick said I have always admired what you can do with a horse) Weldon replied (Dick Curtis, I have always admired what you could do with a horse).
While at the Two Dot Ranch, Dick also became a sought after horse shoer, providing corrective shoeing for five different Equine Veterinarians. During the Two Dot years Dick, also became partners with Lyle Ellis a Cody business man, in the C&E Rodeo Company producing the Cody Nite Rodeo and other professional rodeos in the area. C&E Rodeo Company had Saddle Bronc of the 1973 National Finals Rodeo (Rip Cord). Dick and Lyle helped many young cowboys and cowgirls at the rodeo as well as Dick employing the Nite rodeo cowboys at the Two Dot Ranch during branding time. Dick and his Father C.W. were huge supporters of the Cody High School Rodeo Club by first providing bucking horses, bulls, and calves for the local high school rodeo from the Two Dot ranch and later provided them by the C&E Rodeo Company. Dick always provided the stock, the pickup men and horses while acting as arena director at no charge to the rodeo club. Dick was an amazing rodeo competitor competing in bareback, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, calf roping, and team roping. Dick entered his first rodeo at age 16, C.W. was not happy he had entered, Dick told his father( if I don’t place I will come back to the ranch and not enter again) but as fate would have it he placed which begin a life long dual careers in ranch and rodeo.
Dick didn’t ever give up the ranch he just did both. Dick was a PRCA Stock Contractor and Gold Card Holder as well a member of the American Quarter Horse Association. Dick’s children Joanie and Doug and son in law Dub worked with him on the ranch and also excelled in rodeo because of the help they received from Dick. Joanie remembers her Dad working at the ranch all day, running the Cody Nite Rodeo at night and then up at four am to work on the ranch again the next day.
When the Two Dot Ranch sold, C.W. retired to his place in Cody and continued in the ranching industry as a Ranch Appraiser while serving on the board of directors of the Shoshone First National Bank.
C.W. Curtis died in 1990. Dick moved to Arizona for health reasons, but continued his horse and cattle operations until his death in 1996.