Charles A. “Chuck” Fenton
Charles A. “Chuck” Fenton was born in Lost Springs, WY, where his family had a homestead, a saloon, and a livery stable. He completed his elementary schooling when the family lived at Lost Springs, WY. His father was also a deputy US Marshal. Chuck was the youngest of nine children born to George and Sarah (Sadie) Fenton. He went to school with his brothers and sisters. He graduated from Natrona County High School while living with a family friend, Margaret Parker. The rest of his schooling occurred throughout his life as he learned to be an expert horseman and rancher.
After prohibition, Chuck’s father contracted dirt work with his teams. They built roadbeds and worked on the Burlington Northern Railroad at Orin Junction. They also put up hay for several ranches including the Joss and Labonte Ranches. All the kids worked as part of the family operation, but at a young age Chuck went to work for the Two Bar Ranch. He worked there for approximately five years. Part of his job was to rake hay with a team of horses. One time, while driving the team across a bridge, Chuck ended up being caught up in the rake and drug for quite a distance.
He nearly lost his leg, but after months of being in a cast and surviving infection, he continued to work on ranches all of his life.
For most of the 1940’s Chuck rode the gas pipeline from Powder River to the “black shack” near Riverton. From October to April, Chuck would ride horseback along the pipeline to check for leaks or other problems. Along the way he would sometimes catch a wild mustang, which he would break and sell. Riding approximately 50 miles one-way, Chuck broke countless colts. He also caked cows along the way for the Ben Roberts outfit.
In 1949, Chuck married Mary Jane “Janie” Brewer and went to work for Janie’s father at the W.C. Brewer Ranch. They stayed on the Brewer Ranch until 1954 when they moved their young family to California for a short stint. The Fentons owned a couple of smaller places and also owned a stable where they boarded horses and where Chuck taught riding lessons.
Chuck returned to work on the Brewer Ranch, and in 1959 bought the Whiteway Ranch at Waltman, WY. At the same time Chuck and his family were operating that ranch, they also rode on 40 sections of the Delfelder Ranch. Later they were part of the Arminto Grazing District, where the Fentons ran a large number of sheep. Chuck ranched at Hiland for a number of years after the grazing district sold out and he bought a portion of what had been the grazing district. Eventually Chuck and Janie semi-retired to a place in Hidden Valley south of Shoshoni where they continued to farm and ranch with their son, Charlie.
He had a natural way with a horse, well known for his abilities to break any colt. Fenton shared his talent by teaching horsemanship at Central Wyoming College, and holding informal “clinics” where he taught the fundamentals of reining and working cow horse.
He competed in team penning, cutting and hackamore reining competitions. He was a member of the American Quarterhorse Association, Wyoming Stock Growers and Wyoming Woolgrowers.