Robert "Bob" Beard
Robert "Bob" Beard was born March 29, 1939 in Wichita, Kansas to Earl and Maysel Thompson Beard. He had three brothers. Because it was the end of the Depression, Bob's family moved all over the west, so his father could find work. They lived in Kansas, Oklahoma, California and Oregon. After Bob turned 12, he and his older brother would spend their summers living with and helping their "Aunt Coots" on the Thompson family farm near Greenfield, Oklahoma. His aunt's husband had been seriously injured in a hay rake accident when the horses ran away. They had 25 dairy cows, 50 steers and 500 chickens on the farm.
In May of 1956, Bob joined the Marines in California and later went to Hawaii and Japan. He was discharged in April of 1959. While in the Marines, Bob received his GED since he was only 17 years old when he joined the Marines. After he was discharged, he went to where his parents were living in Kansas City, Kansas. There were too many people and too much city, so Bob and a Marine friend, Bob Garrison, decided to go to Alaska. They ran out of money in Sublette County, Wyoming. This is when Bob's cowboying career started. Bob went to work for Harve Stone, the cow boss for the Hoback Stock Association building fence by hand and horseback on the steep ridges earning $12 a day along with room and board. From May 1960 to April 1962, Bob worked for Lawrence and Vivian Shaul on the Richardson Place they owned. This is where he met his wife, Florence Shaul.
In late June of 1962, Bob went to work for George and Ruth Franz, a North Beaver Creek rancher. Bob and Florence were married on September 15, 1962, and they had two children who were Lisa Garner and Mike Beard. While working for the Franzes, this is where Bob started developing his natural ability to work and train horses. He became an excellent horse trainer whether it was a saddle horse for cowboying or a work horse to feed the cows. He cowboyed taking Franz's cattle to the Twin Creek Allotment up by Water Dog Lake. Bob and Mildred Miller hired Bob and Florence Beard to work on the Dunham Place, and then they moved to the Flying V Ranch at Daniel in 1968 where Bob worked for fifteen years. During this time Bob, cowboyed on the Green River Drift taking the Miller cows along with the other ranchers in the association to the mountains each spring. This would take about two weeks. Bob always said this was his vacation. In the fall, Bob gathered Miller's cattle at the Drift Fence which took about three weeks. During 1980, Bob and Florence bought 12 acres east of Daniel where their home sits in 2017. Bob left Millers in 1984 and went out on his own. He leased Bill Alexander's place near Daniel where he ran his 60 head of cows. Bill Alexander was Florence's uncle, so in 1994, Alexander sold the ranch to Bob and Florence.
Bob Beard became a full time brand inspector in 1988 until 2008. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association awarded Bob for his outstanding service as an brand inspector in 1996. At the time he became brand inspector, he started helping Sommerses trail their cows to the mountain for 20 years. The Upper Green River Cattle Association needed someone to count the cattle onto the forest, so they hired Bob to count the cattle in 2009. Bob's granddaughter, Anna Garner, does the tallying for him.
Bob Beard rides good horses, and over the years most of his horses are horses he broke to ride. His horses are calm and responsive, even the ones that were hot blooded. He had a paint horse that would sit at the edge of a herd being cut, and just lather up from the excitement, but not act up. Bob has been broke up by years of bad cows and horses, but at the age of 78 he continues to ride today on his ranch and his neighbors ranches.
A great cowboy makes those around him better cowboys.