My photo
Photo circa 1947, I always wanted to be a cowboy! Whether working for a short time on the historic Hansen Ranch in Jackson Hole as a young man, just out of the service, to working the stock at the Jackson Rodeo, it nurtured in me a love of the American Cowboy. From my home in Dubois,Wyoming. I look forward each spring to roundup time with my good Friend, John Sides. On his 20,000 acre cattle ranch in South Dakota, each year we relive what ranchers and cowboys have done since cattle were introduced to the west. Little has changed in a hundred years and the experience and camaraderie is all cowboy. The period of 1820 to 1880 on the western plains was the most colorful in American history. Unfortunately, I was born too late to experience it first hand.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Punching cows and painting cowboys

I just returned from a whirlwind 3 1/2 weeks in South Dakota and Wyoming. Kathy and I started out headed for South Dakota for a Cattle Drive. We were too late for the roundup and branding at the Sides Ranch but we were able to help Chuck Seeger move his cattle 18 miles to the branding area. We almost made the whole trip but both of our unshod ponies came up lame about 2/3rds of the way and we felt it better to put them in a corral we passed and finished the drive in the pickup. We saved a little on the soreness since we don't ride distances all that often.

It was then off to our place "The Welcome Wigwam" in Dubois Wyoming. I was able to get in a lot of painting time and was able to produce 4 paintings and 4 small miniatures. The weather was wet and overcast a lot but we had two interesting hikes. The first was with my friend Sig Schulz. We drove my pickup up to about 10,000 ft in the Absoraka range then hiked to where we knew there were some old Indian Sheep Traps on a platau between Windy Gap and Indian Point. At the second trap we found some broken flint points and then the weather threatened. We headed for some trees and there we found the remains of Big Horn Ram killed over the winter, most likely from a Mountain Lion as there was a large log that had been dislodged from its resting place nearby. Three days later after a significant snowfall I took Gary Keimig a fellow artist up to see the Sheep Traps. While on the trail we saw some large bear tracks that were not there a few days before but continued on to the first trap. After being there just a few minutes we were both aware of a definite bear stench. We figured he was just down the hill resting in the timber about 50 yards away. We had intended to cut through the timber to the next trap but decided it was time to head back to the truck and leave well enough alone. We both had bear spray and I had a pistol but we did not want to test them out. I am now back at my studio in Ohio and look forward to reorganizing for a return later this summer.


  1. Love your story Les, I have always loved your part of the world. Went to Washington and Canada a few years back and fell in love with them, especially the wilderness.One day I will get back there to go to the Yukon and Alaska, one of my dreams. In Australia I take my horse to the high country, we have brumbies (mustangs), dingoes, kangaroos and the odd snake, beautiful scenery and a wonderful experience, but, your country and Canada really touched my heart.You say that you 'were born to late to experience it first hand, the 1820's' I feel I was born in the wrong country. Love your art Les..Cheers Lindy

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  3. Thanks Lindy, we welcome "Aussies" anytime. Australian artist Krystii Melaine spends a lot of time in Wyoming for her western art.