Jeffery "Nate" & Jim Lupher
Jeffery Nathan Lupher (Nate) was born on July 4th, 1960 onto the Lupher Ranch, in
Uinta County. Nate was born to James Wesley Lupher and Myrna (Behunin) Lupher. As a child Nate never wanted anything but to be a cowboy. He ate, slept, breathed, and dreamed of it. The drive he was born with took him far in his horsemanship and his show cattle enterprises.
As a kid on the ranch he would ride anything that he could catch, often enlisting his younger brothers in these adventures. When the parents were gone they’d gather a herd of cattle in the old arena and rope calves until the horses wore out, and then buck the mothers out. The work teams and colts all got bucked out as well, much to the dismay of his Dad. Nothing was safe from the rope or the flank strap with Nate around.
At a young age Nate was known for his horsemanship and was hired to break horses for neighboring ranchers as early as 13 years old. As a teenager he broke many teams for the sheep outfits for both riding and driving, many of these were big, rank, six year old horses that were part draft, and untouched. This lead to many wrecks and broken bones, but Nate never gave up on one no matter how rank, and turned out usable horses where few people could.
He started competing in rodeo at a young age and was riding saddle broncs competitively in his early teens. He was also very competitive as a calf roper and team roper at an early age.
Nate’s strong suit was his horses. He was mounted very well, and on horses he’d broke
and trained. Nate’s passion for horses and finding the perfect horse led him to become a breeder. His aim was breeding not only great ranch horses, but superior roping horses, and eventually the cow horse as well. He traveled far and wide looking at horses and talking to great breeders to better himself in this area. He put together a remuda that was on its way to becoming premier when he passed away at an early age.
Nate also had a keen eye for cattle. He was showing and winning with cattle he’d raised when in junior high. Even at a young age he had ideas, and dreams of breeding cattle that were a cut above. Average was not in Nate’s vocabulary. This desire, along with his keen eye, and a powerful work ethic, led him to become a nationally recognized figure in the world of show cattle, and he even judged many shows around the country.
If you ever rode a horse that Nate broke, you would understand the “true” Nate Lupher. He was a gifted teacher, excellent horseman, and a really good eye for small details. His horses were light, supple, and responsive. A true representation of a cowboy is how he breaks and trains his horses, Nate was just that, a cowboy through and through.
James Wesley “Jim” Lupher
James Wesley Lupher (Jim) was born January 31, 1931 to Allene Hamilton Lupher Chase and Mostyn Lupher, on the C.B. Hamilton Ranch in Uinta County, established by his Granddad Hamilton in the 1870s. Jim’s dad ended up being a no-account, son of bitch, meaning Jim learned from his mom and granddad how to be a cowboy early on and had to carry more than his fair share of the workload. At the age of eight years old, he had his first paying gig as sheep herder. His next job was to bring the fifty or sixty head of work horses in each morning and help harness them for the extensive haying operation his grandfather, C.B. Hamilton, ran. By age 12, he was working in the hayfield, earning $84 working over 42 days. Always thinking of others before himself, he used that money to pay for a dugway and road to be put in to the home ranch. Growing up, Jim enjoyed riding horses, driving teams, hunting, and fishing, pastimes he continued to enjoy throughout his life.
He graduated from Mountain View High School and attended college at the University of Wyoming. He then received a basketball scholarship to Casper College in 1948. His college career was cut short by that brutal winter, when he returned home to help out on the ranch. He married Myrna (Behunin) Lupher from McKinnon, WY and then went to work building telephone lines across the western United States. They moved back to the Bridger Valley and bought the family ranch from his mother Allene, where they had a daughter and four boys. At times, Jim had to pick up outside jobs for money to help expand his ranch.Through that hard work, he was able to buy two more ranches to add to his share of the family ranch. During those times Jim depended on his wife and five children to run day to day operations. Family was very important to Jim. You wouldn’t find a more hard working, honest, fun-loving, humble, generous, genuine, and kind-hearted cowboy.
When it came to cowboyin’ Jim was the real deal. In addition to being a top hand with horses and cows, he did most of the vet work on the ranch, including cutting out cancer eyes and performing cesareans on cows. He was a natural mechanic and kept the ranch equipment running well. He knew his ranch like the back of his hand and it has been said that he could make water run uphill.
Always a progressive rancher and cattleman, Jim held himself to a higher standard when it came to producing the ideal cow. He looked to improve the genetics of his herd through careful selection of bulls. He was also one of the first cattlemen in Bridger Valley to implement an artificial insemination program in the early 1970’s. Jim prided himself on his herd’s maternal genetics, always striving to produce females that worked best for their environment. Through careful breeding and careful management the ranch eventually sold show cattle nationwide. Jim had cattle compete in the Denver Stock Show and other major shows throughout the country. He contributed to the advancement of good cattle by selling bull semen across the US. In his later years, Jim took great pride in helping his grandchildren with their 4-H show steers.
In addition to the day-to-day ranching, Jim contributed to his community by serving on many different boards and committees, contributing to some major projects such as the Stateline Dam in Uinta County, which continues to benefit the ranchers of Bridger Valley today.
Jim not only worked hard but he knew how to play hard. He competed in saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, and team roping, winning many buckles over the years. Jim enjoyed any kind of competition, including chariot racing where he won his fair share of races. As years of wear and tear slowed his body, he developed other talents including singing Western songs and writing cowboy poetry that represented the ranch and cowboy way of life.
Jim lived a life full of hard work and determination with a mind for business, which resulted in a ranch and family to be proud of. James Wesley Lupher is not only a great cowboy, he is the great cowboy to his family and friends in the Bridger Valley and beyond. It’s not just the cattle and rodeo pastimes that make Jim a cowboy worthy of notice, it’s his legacy of kindness, his commitment to his community, and his love for his family.