February 25, 2012

Buddy Meredith & The Original Singing Cowboys

Local legend, BUDDY MEREDITH (center) along with award winner JIM LOVELL (on bass) and Chuck Biegler (accordion & keyboard) - THE ORIGINAL SINGING COWBOYS. Photographed here just down the road from Crazy Horse Memorial near Custer, South Dakota - 2006.

Buddy Meredith (born 1926) appeared with his band, The Kota Cowboys (Bob Haley, Stringbean Svenson and Lowell Sterling), every Sunday night on local Rapid City KOTA-TV's  Hoedown Jamboree during the late 1950's and early 1960's.

More Info on Buddy:

I first met Buddy in person at a Perkins (while having pie) after a traditional cowboy music show at the Heritage Center in Spearfish, South Dakota. He made a b-line across the restaurant to introduce himself and hand me his business card (it must have been my old time Stetson hat!). From there I met up with him and the band to take this photograph and then had a lovely time interviewing him and talking about the old days. He has since moved south but I do see Jim Lovell play now and then - carrying on with the traditional cowboy songs. ©JEAN LAUGHTON

February 18, 2012

Calving Season Started a Little Early

 Calving is scheduled to start early to mid March but I noticed Baby did not come to eat when I called the cattle in (she stands out even among a couple hundred cows). So I went in search and found her down at the dam with signs that she was trying to calve or had calved. I figured she either had a calf in her backwards or had 'slunk' it. We had to trail her in and luckily got her and another cow loaded in the trailer instead of trailing them 5 miles home. After an inspection, of which I will not go into detail, we surmised she either had a calf, which was no where in sight, it seemed, or aborted it. Ended up finding a very early calf she had lost a ways from where she had been lying - at least we didn't have to take her into the vet and have a c section. I was hoping for a white faced miniature version of Baby. Guess that isn't very 'cowboy' but ...  Hope to do my best to take care of the animals while they are here on the ranch but realize I can't control everything that happens. More calving stories to come 'As the Prairie Turns' ... ©JEAN LAUGHTON

February 14, 2012

Percy "Bud" Farm Williams

Old time rancher, Bud Williams, (now 98 / photographed at 94) on his place south of Philip, South Dakota. Bud was nice enough to let me come over and take photographs and have a chat. We talked about his childhood, working cattle, breaking broncs in the Badlands, his wife of many years Birdie, his bronc riding brother-in-laws and more ... here is a small sample. Thanks Bud.

February 9, 2012

Ranching "Polaroid" of Baxter Badure


February 8, 2012

Preview of Possible Coming Attractions

Although calving is inevitably starting in a month - it may or may not be accompanied by snow. We shall see, as it is impossible to predict the scenarios that may arise. This snapshot, like a storyboard drawing come to life, was from a couple calving seasons back when we had several spring blizzards - turning drama to melodrama as we rode in near whiteouts and did our best to save new born baby calves. No second takes allowed. Pictured here is Lyle O'Bryan pulling a brand new calf in with Mama in hot pursuit. I can't say 'My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys' but they are now - the real ones anyway - and Lyle is the real deal. ©JEAN LAUGHTON

My Ranching Life - The Early Days

Heading out with the Crew on the old Double X Ranch - 2004 or so. The beginning days of photographing from horseback - before the big panorama camera. Early snapshot - early memory - just one scene from a never ending 'filmic' life on the Range.

February 4, 2012

Wrangling Horses on the Quarter Circle XL

This was back in 2005 or so, in the early stages of working on the ranch, when I had just started to photograph from horseback with my Noblex. Following along here as we wrangled horses one morning -  bringing them across the White River and into the corrals - then pulling two out to saddle up and get to work.

Wrangling can be a great way to start the day - just you and the horses. One time I was riding behind a small herd and looked up to see five bald eagles flying overhead. And another time, a single hawk perched above, watching as we trotted by. There is nothing like the sound of your horse and the others making their way through the tall grasses and across the river crossings.

Pictured here is Lyle O'Bryan wrangling off in the distance. He says the best way he would break a young colt is to get them started then start wrangling on them the next morning and just let them fall in and run behind the horses ... It is quite beautiful to watch. I can't imagine how many mornings and how many different horses he as wrangled and colts he has ridden in his 77 years ... and still going strong. Me, I prefer to stay out of a dead run and enjoy the view along the way. (Those old time cowboys are a lot tougher than me). ©JEAN LAUGHTON