Robert L. “Bob” Snyder
Bob was born February 4th, 1932 in Basin, Wyoming to Carl & Murial Snyder. He had 2 sisters and 1 brother. His dad was a sharecrop farmer in the Basin area. After the 9th grade he went to work as a ranch hand on neighboring ranches and worked his way over to the Tensleep area.
When he was 16, Bob trailed cattle from Tensleep to Lost Cabin and eventually loaded the cattle on a train to Omaha. He rode the caboose and went with the cattle. He had a 10 day pass and would return as a passenger.
In the late 40’s he and 2 other cowboys took the job of gathering wild horses off the BLM Bad Lands between Worland and Manderson. At this time it was open range where ranchers would turn out on it also. In a month’s time they gathered close to 150 head. They stayed at a homestead where there was a fenced pasture, corral and dugout that they stayed in. They would ship the wild horses from here. Bob recalls riding 13 days straight to get one sly mare captured. For the branded horses that belonged to the ranchers they got paid $15.00 gathering fee for each horse and for the unbranded horses they were paid $12.00 a horse. The neighboring ranches furnished the horses for them to gather on. At 17 years old, Bob was the youngest of the 3 so he got the job of doing most of the cooking, with cowboy coffee and beans as part of the menu.
The winter of 48-49 brought back memories of the –40 degree weather with lots of snow. They fed loose hay with 3 abreast draft horses hooked to a bobsled. It was tough getting the job done.
He spent several winter months as a line rider in cow camps from Tensleep to Worland. After cowboying on ranches in the Tensleep area for several years he went to work for the Brown & Kennedy Ranch at Moorcroft, WY and from there he worked for the Gordon Ranch at Kaycee. As most ranch hands he did a lot of cattle work, feeding, branding, doctoring, breaking and shod horses.
In 1963 he and his family moved to the Meade Creek Ranch south of Sheridan to be a ranch hand. Sherman Burns of Burns Securities out of New York owned the ranch. After only 2 years he became the foreman from 1965 to 1975, he left the ranch for 3 years and returned in 1978 until 1998 as manager.
The ranch ran around 500 mother cows and some years also yearlings. At one time the ranch expanded to acreage east of Sheridan and a place on the Wolf Mountains. During this time they run closer to 1000 head of cows and Bob had up to 8 men working for him. They often trailed the cattle from the Meade Creek ranch to the one east of Sheridan about 15 miles. The ranching at that time included hay and some farm ground.
Bob’s favorite part of ranch life was when he was riding his horse Rebel, a sorrel stud that was the most honest horse he was ever on, and they were trailing cattle to the mountain pastures. It was usually a two-day trip so they took a pack horse from cow camp to the Penrose allotment with their food. They would catch fish on Piney Creek and when they got to their days end they wrapped them in foil and cooked them in the campfire.
In later years Bob and Paul Dennison leased several ranches and continued to raise cattle. He kept the western way of ranching especially at branding time. The calves were roped and drug to the branding fire where they were held by 2 wrestlers while the rest of the crew did their jobs of branding, dehorning, castrating and gave vaccinations. For one of their last brandings they served the crew from the old chuckwagon with the meal cooked over a campfire, again served with cowboy coffee.
Bob takes pride in what he accomplished on the ranches and the help and knowledge he gave his ranch hands to fulfill their ranch jobs. He is thankful for the different ranch experiences and years in the saddle he had the opportunity to be part of.