Dan Kirkbride was born November 11, 1898 at Cattail Ranch which was part of the Indian Hill community in north central Laramie County, Wyoming to Alex and Mary Kirkbride. He was the youngest of seven children. In March of 1919, he married 16 year old Peggy Harding who he met at a local barn dance and soon they struck out on their own, homesteading on a site three miles east of his parental Cattail home. They were married for 64 years and continued to live at that site until his death.
In his early days he rode saddle broncs in rodeos as far away as Chicago. By 1928 however, he realized that he couldn’t build a ranch and do that too. That was the last year he ever participated. In 1924, he partnered up with his wife and brother-in- law to form
Harding and Kirkbride Livestock Company, which is still in business today. It is an operation that was put together at great personal sacrifice. Cowboying in all its forms was the way of life.
He hardly ever rode a good horse, partly because he was very frugal, but in some ways he just liked the challenge of something difficult. He would lead a horse out of the barn, cheek him up to swing on, circle around two or three times and take off. A neighbor once recalled that he sold Dan an unbroken horse. Dan hauled his saddle over to where the horse was corralled, caught him, saddled him and rode the seven miles back home, through several barbed wire gates.
Horses were used extensively in those days.
Team and wagons were used for feeding, fencing, going the forty miles to town for supplies, and most other jobs. If you went to a country dance, you probably rode several miles to the dance and rode home that night after it was over. Dan had his young son Ken, ride his little pony to school four miles one way to make sure the young boy got an education.
Dan was still riding, moving cattle and calving, well into his seventies, even in some fairly rough weather.
Dan was also a wonderful stockman. He loved all sorts of animals. In addition to cattle he ran sheep, had pigs and chickens and always made sure they had plenty to eat and shelter. He didn’t even like it when somebody wanted to shoot the rabbits in his junkyard. He also was very careful not to overgraze his ground.
By the 1980’s the years of smoking Bull Durham’s and Camels had caught up with him.
While helping his grandson Jon feed hay to some replacement heifers on a cold snowy day he frosted his lungs. He gave up lifelong smoking after that, but continued to have more health issues. He passed away in Cheyenne on November 29, 1983 at the age of 85.