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Ivan “Ike” Herold

Ivan “Ike” Herold was born Aug. 17, 1929 to Joe and Lillian Herold on the Baggs Livestock Ranch west of Baggs, where Joe worked.

When Ike was 7 or 8 years old his parents purchased the ranch. As a young child Ike could always be found at the barn playing with the animals or building something. He would much rather clean the barn than weed the garden so he became his dad’s helper. He always had a love and understanding of animals. As a teenager while his brothers helped their father in the hay meadows Ike would look after the cattle, a half days ride from the home ranch. With a bed roll and saddle bag of food he would stay with the cows and ride back home every 3 or 4 days, often with a wild horse in tow.


Wild horses became a normal part of his life. It was up to him to break and train the horses he brought home. He either trained them to ride or to pull a wagon depending on their body built. When he was about 14 or 15 he joined a group of men that spent part of the summer gathering wild horses. These horses were shipped from Wamsutter on the rail cars to help the troops in World War II. Later on in life he used the money he made from wild horses to help send his children to college.


He graduated from high school as valedictorian of his class but enlisted into the Marines instead of going to college. He served in Korea, where he was part of a explosive and battle tank unit. He was wounded in Korea and transferred to Camp Pendleton. At Camp Pendleton he helped teach winter survival and took part in nuclear testing on soldiers after a nuclear bomb was dropped.


After he was discharge in 1952 Ike came back to the Valley and helped on the ranch and started riding saddle bronc and bareback around the rodeo circuit. He rode mostly around the Mountain State area but once at Madison Square Garden.


After he married he worked as a driller on oilrigs for about 10 years before moving back to Baggs to take the job of foreman for the newly formed Eureka Pool Cattle Company.


At the Eureka Pool he looked over 2,000 cow/calf pairs and 1,200 yearlings on approximately 300,000 acres. With one or two full time riders, this number would increase to 10 or 12 during the summer months. In the summer a cook was hired and several local boys stayed in the bunk house and share holders would help. Ike could ride a horse all day and still have the horse willing to give more if he asked. Ike was a horseman. He never bought a horse because people would always give him horses that “no one” could ride. After endless miles these horses would be passed down to his kids. He always smiled as he saddled up one of these renegade horses in front of the previous owners, then hand it over to one of his children to ride.


An old rancher told his son, Chris, that his dad could do a full days work on a horse that most men couldn’t even saddle.


In 1968 and 69 a film crew from LIFE and ALCOA Hour documented the lives of 3 Valley ranchers and friends, Ike Herold, George Salisbury and Steve Adams. In 1970 the documentary called “Cowboy” was released. It was a real-life look at the vanishing American cowboy’s life and work. George and Steve are the ranch owners who ran their ranch full time and Ike was the full time Cowboy.


After the Eureka Pool divided up Ike bought the family ranch. After years of running the ranch and low calf prices he had to sell it. Ike went to work for ranchers in the Snake River Valley for a few years. He went back to work in the oil field industry but was always a familiar face at neighbors gatherings, brandings and shipping. After he retired he went back to the life he loved, being a COWBOY. Ike was much more than a cowboy that documentaries were made of, he was a true cattleman.

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