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Rulan & Loal Jacobson

Rulan Oliver Jacobson was born November 27, 1918 to Oliver and Lydia Jacobson. Rulan was one of the eight children born at home on the Jacobson ranch that sat on Elk Creek in Idaho (no under Palisades Reservoir. In his young years his father taught him how to ride, rope, farm, and drive a team, along with the value of family, God, hard work and a good horse. In 1932 he completed 8th grade at the school house in Irwin, ID, his schooling completed Rulan decided that it was time for him to go to work.

In 1941 he was working in Etna, WY for Wardell Clinger and met Mattie Naomi Fisher, affectionately known as Naomi. Rulan was smitten and on September 12, 1941 he and Naomi married. With times hard and changing, they decided to try their luck in Roy, Utah and in 1942 their first son, Barry was born. With WWII raging in 1943, Rulan felt the call of his country and joined the Navy where he was a gunner on a troop ship stationed in the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged from the USS Ferdinand in 1945. Upon return from the South Pacific Rulan worked for Jess Wheat in Irwin, ID until Jess’s death. Shortly after Jess’s death he moved his family to Camas, ID to work for a sheep outfit. Sadly, in 1947 tragedy struck their young family and Barry died in a horse accident while bringing the milk cows in.

Rulan and Naomi decided that Jackson was calling so he went to work for Clifford Hanson at the Bar BC in late 1949. They were at the main ranch for about a year, then moved to run the Upper ranch where Rulan had 700 head of cows to look after and calve. There was no shortage of work and one thing Rulan was always proud of was the fact he only lost 7 calves in the 8 years he was there. A man of not only livestock but conservator of land as well, Rulan planted oats in 2 different fields as a nurse crop for the alfalfa. One was 100 acres between the house and the Price Ranch, the other 60 acres toward the Nelson Place. Rulan was instrumental in running electricity to the ranch. He and King, his big sorrel saddle horse, pulled electric cable across the Gros Ventre River, crossing the river 4 times to get all the cable across.

1958 brought more change and they decided to pack up and go toward Moran, to help Emory Jacobson with his hunting camp up on Pacific Creek. When that fall was over until 1964 he was hired on by Walt Feuz as a ranch hand. In 1964 they decided to go south again, to work on the Melody Ranch for Paul Von Gontard. After the fall gather up the Gros Ventre it was discovered that they were missing a big roan horse. Game and Fish flew and found the horse on Bacon Ridge. Rulan, who was not one to leave livestock behind took a good saddle horse and limited provisions for 4 days. Four days later, with winter creeping in and temperatures hovering around -40, here came Rulan with the horse he dubbed the “Ridge Running Roan”.

Along with working for the Walt Feuz, the Bar BC and the Melody Ranches Rulan also worked at the Jackson night rodeo for years with Bert Seaton. Rulan would run the calf chute and Bert worked the gate. He always looked forward to rodeo nights!

Winters in the valley meant feeding hay with a sled and teams. Rulan’s teams were so broke he could lay the lines on the yoke and feed hay with the team working off his voice commands. His saddle horses were the same way, he had specific horses for certain jobs depending on if they were working cattle in the corrals or not. The care he put into his stock was obvious by the way they worked for him, horses and dogs alike. Rulan was a compassionate man not only to livestock but mankind as well. They were moving cows up Granite Creek and there was a woman bicycling. She was desperately afraid of the cattle as they began to go by her, Rulan sat there on his horse and visited with her until all the cattle went by then followed them up the trail. During the dog sledding race another year a team of dogs ran away to chase the cattle and would not listen to their musher, Rulan was able to get the dogs stopped and sent one of the kids to get help for the woman. He sat with her until help arrived.

These are only a few examples of the kind of man Rulan was. He dedicated his whole life to cowboying and ranching. He was blessed to be able to work throughout Teton County from Pacific Creek up north to Granite Creek down south. He knew and loved Teton County and was instrumental in not only keeping the ranches he worked for in business, but by doing his part to help them thrive. He held onto old time traditions and on Sunday afternoons Rulan would sing old cowboy songs and yodel for his children, they all looked forward to those times. Rulan and Naomi were blessed to live and raise their children with the same love of land, family and God that they had been raised with. Their seven children; Terry, Dale Lamar (Butch), Bonnie, Linda, Deb, Sonja and Steve still live by these principals today, passing them down to their children and grandchildren.


Loal Jacobson was born January 9, 1923. He was the youngest of nine children and four brothers and four sisters born to Oliver and Lydia Jacobson. He began his cowboy experience on his own family’s ranch in the Grand Valley, Idaho, where the confluence of Elk Creek and Little Elk Creek came into the Snake River just west of the Wyoming border. Around 1940 when Loal was 16 years old, the family ranch was slated to be flooded to create Palisades Reservoir, so Loal headed to Jackson Hole to work for Clifford Hansen, (who later became the Governor and Senator for the State of Wyoming) on the Hansen Ranch located at Spring Gulch in Teton County.


He worked there for 15 years, doing everything necessary with cattle ranching: birthing, doctoring, and branding calves in the Spring and feeding the cattle hay from a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter. During the summer months he trailed the herd through Grand Teton National Park to Paciific Creek and later to the Gros Ventre once the Park service no longer allowed grazing. Loal was a typical resourceful cowboy, building and mending fences; irrigating; haying; making repairs to buildings, equipment and tack; and breaking and training horses. When Loal first came to Jackson he was also hired by RKO Studios as an extra cowboy in the 1940 movie “Bad Man of Wyoming,” in which he appeared as a Calvary soldier and an Indian as they needed good horsemen. Loal had additional horseback work as an extra in the movies while riding the summer range and herding cattle in the potholes area of Grand Teton National Park and the Oxbow Bend of the Snake River over Cattleman’s Bridge. In 1946, he met Marjorie Main and Wallace Beery during the filming of “Bad Bascomb,” and during the filming of “The Far Horizons” in the mid-1950s, Charlton Heston asked if he could ride a real working cow horse, and Loal obliged. In the early ‘50s, Loal and other cowboys would ride in from cow camp to the soda fountain in


Moose, where he met a beautiful Eastern girl, Mary Waite Welles. He married that girl, “Molly,” in 1953 in Reno, Nevada. A few years after, the couple moved to Lonerock, Oregon to run a cattle ranch for Molly’s aunt. It was there that they started their family and had four boys. However, Wyoming was in his heart and in 1961 they returned to Teton County, Wyoming where Loal went to work as the Foreman for the 4 Lazy F Ranch in Moose. In the mid-1960s the family moved to the Skyline Ranch, where Loal continued to oversee another working cattle ranch. During these years, many happy family memories were created where Loal taught the boys how to be working cowboys: riding horses, feeding and taking care of cattle, and performing the many duties of ranch life. He handed down to the boys a strong work ethic and a great love of the mountains


 In the mid-1970s, Loal became the Teton County Brand Inspector while continuing to run the Skyline Ranch. Soon after the last of the boys graduated from high school, Skyline Ranch was subdivided and Loal had a home built in the new development. Continuing his cowboy ways, he returned to the Hansen Ranch to work for another decade as their Foreman. For fun and extra income, during the summer evenings he would flank stock at the Jackson Hole Rodeo, later judging the rough stock events. In the ‘80s, Loal started wintering in Wickenburg, Arizona, working at the Rancho de Los Caballeros dude ranch as a wrangler. He took “dudes” riding in the desert, drove teams of horses in parades and participated in ranch cookouts. He especially enjoyed week-long club rides in the desert. He continued to spend the majority of his time in Jackson Hole, and guided guests on pack and hunting trips in the Teton Wilderness and Pinedale area with Paul Gilroy Outfitters. Gilroy said, “Loal was kind to everyone, and a real gentleman. He was always very professional and observant, and never let problems develop. He kept the stock and guests under control. He could see a good horse from a hundred yards away and knew how to match a rider to a horse.” In the early Spring, Loal would travel with Paul to buy horses in Miles City, Bozeman and Billings, Montana. He worked with the horses and rode them until he could trust them with the guests. He patiently taught guests how to ride and hunt. In 1993 he was awarded “Guide of the Year” by the Jackson Hole Outfitters. He guided for 20 more years, taking his final guide trip at the age of 90, and he finally hung up his spurs at 93. Loal died in his sleep on September 11, 2018. He was loved and respected by the mother of his children, Molly; his four sons: Chris, Dave (Julie), Tom (Liz), and Tim (Tracy); grandchildren Malayna (Michael), Connor, Jared (Mindy), Tory  (Kendall), Tyler (Sam), Shane (Lauren) and Koby; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life for Loal was held at “high noon” Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Dornan’s Chuckwagon in Moose, Wyoming, one of his favorite places. Loal was a friend to all who met him. God bless him and happy trails!

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