Raymond “Ray” Waliser
Raymond John Waliser was born in Saratoga October 17, 1942 to Frank and Thelma (Swanson) Waliser. He was the fourth generation to be raised on the family ranch on South Spring Creek. Growing up Ray loved all aspects of ranching and especially being horseback where he and his sister Darlene did most of the riding on the ranch. As a teenager Ray was involved in FFA showing cattle and played basketball for Platte Valley High School.
After graduating high school Ray attended the University of Wyoming for a year. He found that ranching was his passion and returned to the ranch and continued helping run the operation with his parents. In the early 1960’s he started roping in the Stampeder’s roping Club in Saratoga. He was good with a rope and started traveling to nearby communities to compete in match ropings. Team roping hadn’t emerged at this time, so Ray competed in calf roping and team tying events. It wasn’t until the mid-1960’s that dally team roping finally emerged and he started traveling to jackpots in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. Finding success competing at jackpots, he and his partner Jay Ward, bought their permits in the late 60’s and started traveling to some close pro rodeos. Ray’s true passion was calf roping but found far less opportunities in this event and decided to just compete in team roping.
In June 1970 he married Deborah “Jo” Garvin in Walden on their way to Steamboat to a rodeo. It was that same year that Ray filled his card winning Wheatland. The two continued rodeoing winning money at such places as North Platte, Laramie, Steamboat, Denver and Greeley. In 1971 his son Patrick was born. In December of 1973 they had a daughter Diana. With two children, family and life’s obligations got to be too much to juggle and the two stepped back from pro rodeoing and just competed in jackpots nearby. Ray continued competing in club ropings, Rope the Rockies, USTRC ropings and ranch rodeos well into his late 60’s winning money, buckles and saddles.
Ray and Jo raised their children on the ranch that they purchased from the family in 1989. They ran cow/calf pairs until 2000 when they made the decision to sell all their cattle. With a little freedom, the two started traveling to Arizona for the winters. They wintered in a “horse camp” where they would rope every morning. Ray would compete in some jackpots, but he truly loved taking young horses for the winter and making some of the best rope horses around. As their grandchildren became more active in sports, they decided to stay home year-round, so they could be there to cheer them on.
Ray has always been someone who enjoys hard work. Today at 75 Ray runs cows for Berger Ranches and puts up hay on the ranch as well doing day work for many ranches in the valley. He is someone is respected for his cattle handling practices and his ability with a rope, especially in the branding pen.