Warren Richard "Dick" Shaw
Dick Shaw was born in O’Neill, Nebraska, Sunday February 9, 1936. He was the second son born to Harold and Helen Shaw. The full name given to him was Warren Richard, but his Aunt Florence nicknamed him “Dickey Bird” as a young child. It stuck with him and was eventually shortened to just Dick.
At the time of his birth, his family lived with Harold’s parents on a ranch thirty-eight miles from Bassett, NE. In 1937 Harold started working for Nellie Overton and eventually purchased this ranch in 1948. When Dick was two and one half, he was playing in the hayfield and nearly lost part of his foot in a mower accident. In 1942 Dick started school in District 229. The school was six miles from the ranch.
In 1948 we was given his first horse by a neighbor, Susie Ellie. He was a sorrel with a blaze face. He named him Prince. The horse was a two-year-old and Dick broke him to ride himself. That year at Christmas he received a brand new Herford saddle. It cost $110.00 and he thought he was in heaven. The winter of ’49 was harsh. Dick rode alone four miles to school every day. It was a long hard journey for his horse, the snow was so deep.
When he was a freshman he moved to town during the week and lived with his Grandma Shaw. Moving to a new school was a big adjustment. His favorite classes were bookkeeping and math. Dick enjoyed boxing and track in high school. He ran the mile in 4:47 in 1952 and was 5th in the state. When you stop and think about that, this was the same little boy who nearly lost his foot that’s quite an accomplishment.
In 1953 he got his first car and graduated from High School. In June of that year he married Myra Mitchell. They lived with Dick’s parents on the ranch. In 1955 their first daughter was born and they moved into the bunkhouse on the ranch. It was small and had no running water, but they enjoyed having a home to call their own. On February 11, 1957, their second daughter was born prematurely and died. Dick and Myra’s third daughter, Jan, was born on January 31, 1958. It was a really snowy night and they arrived at the hospital just an hour before she was born.
In May of 1959 the JO Ranch sold and they moved to Bassett. They lived there for six months. During that time Dick worked at many part time jobs because no full time jobs were available. He worked in the feed store, delivered milk and help his Uncle Everett with the riding on his place. Finally he found full time employment on the Rich Lacalf Ranch that was just outside of town. On March 26, 1960 their forth daughter, Jodi, was born.
In 1961 Dick, his brother Wayne and their father Harold bought the 77 Ranch at Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. Dick and his family moved there on June 11 and the rest of the families came a few months later. On September 16, 1964 Dick and Myra’s son, Rick was born. The next years were spent raising families and ranching. They went to rodeos together and Dick enjoyed team tying. The ranch housed 1,600 yearlings and had six miles of live stream which equated to 650 irrigated acres of hay. All the Shaw families worked hard.
In the fall of 1973, the 77 Ranch sold and Dick and his family purchased a ranch thirty-six miles south of Newcastle on the Cheyenne River Road. His brother moved to Miles City Montana and bought a ranch. In 1977 they became grandparents for the first time and many more times over the years. Dick and Myra lived on the Cheyenne River Ranch for nineteen years bring up the grandkids to love ranch life, horses and rodeo. The ranch was big and rough.
Dick made many horses while working cow calf pairs and yearlings. He also loved the sport of rodeo and was a member of Joey’s Arena, Niobrara Roping Club, Harrison Roping Club and ACTRA. He spent many hours volunteering at the Weston County Junior Rodeo and Fair. He also enjoyed golf. In 1991 he won his first team roping saddle and several other state awards in the American Cowboy Team Roping Association (ACTRA).
In 1992 Dick retired from the labors of the ranch and moved to Newcastle where he held various jobs including the LAK Ranch, Jiffy Lube and the Weston County Weed and Pest. His free time allowed him to share his knowledge of roping with the grandkids as well as other children in his circle. He spent many hours in the arena for most of his life.
He made sure the kids had horses and was said to even gift one or two over the years. Dick loved the heritage roping at the Weston County Fair because he was able to compete with his family. He and Rick won the Heritage Roping in 1990.He also frequently participated in the Espy Roping in Broadus, MT. Dick and Myra were the parade marshal’s at the Hulett Rodeo and Parade in 2005. This was a great honor for them and they enjoyed seeing so many old friends.
Dick passed away on October 31, 2012 leaving behind a legacy of eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren who knew and loved his gentle cowboy ways.