William "Bill" Hancock

William “Bill” Samuel Hancock was born on January 14, 1929.

 

He was the son of Samuel and Irma Hancock. He lived in the Red Canyon area of Fremont County where he started working on surrounding ranches when he was ten. He was well known to be a good hand with a horse and willing to get a job done. The year of 1949 was a pivotal point in Bill’s life. He began employment at the Grieve Land and Cattle Company in January 1949. He also married Ada Ward from Idaho and began upon a 63 year marriage. They truly started with the bare minimum in a marriage, Bill having his saddle and Ada having her hope chest and dishes.

 

Under the tutelage of Clarence Grieve, Bill, began to gain the knowledge of what becoming a true cow man entails. Bill became known as a top hand on the Grieves’ outfit and spent many roundups working with the other influential figure in his life, Ben Roberts. Bill maintained that the best way to build and sustain a profitable herd of cattle was from the back of a horse.

 

Through many years of polishing leather, with his wife to support him, they began building their own cattle outfit in the mid 1970’s. They successfully have passed this ranch down to their son Calvin who is operating the Lazy YK Cattle Company today with his daughter (Bill and Ada’s granddaughter) Angela, her husband Tyler and their two children. The essence of a true family ranch.

 

Bill emulated the true cowboy way in his life from how he trained a horse to how he could read his cattle. There was nothing more awe inspiring than watching him and a top horse cut pairs out in the open with a polished ease that is not often seen today. He worked hard to pass these skills onto his son and others. I, his granddaughter, learned many a lesson from just watching how Bill approached a herd of cattle, whether it was out in the open or in an alleyway getting ready to load a truck. There was wisdom in every step. He practiced the true art of working with an animal to gain compliancy.

 

Bill was honored with the Ag Man of the Year in the Riverton community in 1989. He was also a recipient for the Distinguished Service Award in 2003 by the Wyoming State Farm Bureau.

 

Through hard work and knowledge he came from humble roots to build a ranch with his wife that will be a working cattle outfit for many generations. Bill passed in October 2012 but his legacy will continue to live on through his family.

 

Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame

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