H. Curtis and Ralph C. Larsen
Curtis was born May 31st, 1916 at home on the Wood River, because of the flu epidemic. He attended Dick Creek Schools and then stayed at home to help his father Henry, with the ranch.
One of the best bronc riders around, Curtis almost took to rodeo, but instead stayed to make the family ranch successful. He has the most natural ability with horses. He can sense them. Curtis married Retta Niles, but they never had children. I feel one of Curtis’s many accomplishments is teaching the young people. He has often remarked, “kids and livestock each have their own personality. If you give them credit for what they do, and don’t over correct them when they make mistakes, they will do a lot for themselves and you.”
Ralph was born May 5, 1919, in Meeteetse, WY. He attended Dick Creek School and one year at Meeteetse, before heading back to the ranch to help during the depression and never left. Ralph managed the ranch until is death in 2008. Although he never had a “formal” education, Ralph loved to read and became a very astute businessman. He was a member of Wyoming Stock Growers, the Elks, he served on the Meeteetse School Board from 1947-1967 and he served on the board for the First State Bank.
One of Ralph’s greatest talents was roping. Just like Curtis, he had a knack for horses. He was an excellent roper, one that I miss greatly at brandings. Ralph married Janet Baird and they had five children, Helen Larsen, twins Sharen Kruger and Karen Gould, Mervin Larsen and Linda “Abby” Herman.
Curtis and Ralph used to help drive cattle to the railroads in Cody and Neiber. The trail ride to Neiber took about 5 days in the saddle. Each of them got to accompany the cattle to Omaha on the train once. They also moved cattle to the summer and winter ranges, tended to sunburnt bags on the Herefords until changing to Angus and using horse teams to put up hay. Growing up it didn’t matter whether the weather was 100 degrees or 40 below, there was always work to be done.
Their greatest legacy is a successful family owned cattle ranch for 106 years. Ralph’s children, one granddaughter, along with Curtis still run the ranch today.
To have a ranch that operates for 106 years, solely off the hard work, sound business practices, and determination of a family tells a lot about their character. As Curtis says, “This is a good life, a tough life, working next to God’s Creation.”