WHIPPLE RANCH RODEOS
By Mildred Ramynke
DURING THE FORTIES AND EARLY FIFTIES THE WHIPPLES, ALONG WITH THEIR CATTLE RANCHING, HAD AN ARENA ON THE HILLSIDE SOUTHWEST OF PEEVER. ON THE FOURTH OF JULY THEY WOULD HOLD A RODEO. THEY ALSO HAD BARN DANCES IN THE BUILDING YOU CAN SEE BESIDE THE ARENA.
WOULD SOME OF YOU READERS CARE TO SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THE RODOES AND DANCES? WE WOULD SURE LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT THEM. USE CHAR'S EMAIL LINK ON THE HOME PAGE.
Two miles west of Peever and seven and 1/2 miles south was the Whipple Ranch. The buildings of the ranch were tucked back into the trees at the bottom of the large hills.
The rodeo arena was on a semi flat area which was also at the bottom of a still larger hill. The bucking shute and the arena were built of 2 x lumber, which was all painted white.
On the one side was a large set of bleachers. On the other side was a natural grandstand. Because of the steep hill side you could sit in rows, one above the other and everyone had a good view of the performers.
By performers I mean the show that was put on by Frank Whipple and his sister Dorothy. There was all kinds of trick riding by both and then Frank would perform all his roping tricks.
The Whipple rodeos were real down to earth with a lot of local cowboys trying to win a few dollars on the back of a range bred bronc. They were also the first to bring in the Brahma Bulls to this area.
Another event was Wild Cow Milking. They teamed up to get so much milk in a pail...it was really hilarious.
The rodeo days are gone but Frank's son Bill still has the ranch.
WE RECEIVED AN INTERESTING LETTER FROM DELORES WOOD BENSON, A FORMER RESIDENT OF SPRINGROVE TOWNSHIP..READ ON
Yes, we had fun at the jamboree and my husband says we are coming again. We will miss Lucille Argo, her husband Art was a cousin of my Mom's. We always stoppped there for a visit and coffee.
My Dad, Byron Wood, bought 80 acres (homestead) in 1929 which a Mr. Miller bought in 1949 and named it Hideout (Hidden Valley) Ranch.
My mother moved us to Oklahoma feeling we would have a better chance for an education. We were there one year. We then moved to Fall River, Kansas east of Wichita.
My Dad, a rodeo man, was an active rider at the Whipple rodeos in bareback and saddle bronc riding, also Roman chariot racing. He got the mule, Jenny, as a baby, trained her and later sold her to Whipples where she was an act with the clown. He also trained oxen. He and Harry Lake drove them in Aberdeen's Golden Jubilee Parade, June 5 and 6 in 1931. A letter said " The parade was 5 miles long." Their float was sponsored by First National Bank and Trust of Aberdeen.
He (My Dad) passed away June 30, 1938. My Mom, now a single parent with 5 kids, took Whipple horses to break and train. My Mom and Steve Spider would snub and start the colts and we kids would continue their training. We took in sheep to herd also. My Mother rented different pieces of Indian land so we had lots of places to ride.
Mr. Whipple was a good friend to our family, so thoughtful and caring. He fulfilled our dream of having a pony. We would go to his ranch where he'd have a corral of colts. He's let us kids pick the colts we wanted. He then would load them on his truck and bring them up to our place. Get halters and ropes on them...get each unloaded and tied to a tree. We kids would water and feed them. My mother and Steve Spider would work with them. My mother on snub horse, Steve on the colt. Most were 2 years old. When the colts had given in to someone on their back we kids got to get on, most always bareback.
Steve Spider lived with his family in the stone house. It was a historical stone house built by a pair of brothers on our ranch. Harry and Ella Lake lived in it when Clarice was a baby.
I remember when Mr. Whipple would bring important people up to see us kids and his colts. We felt like they were ours. We got to name them, ride them for a year or more. One time he brought Jim and Ann Ayers. They wore big beautiful white hats. Another time Cal Thompson from the White Horse Ranch from Naper Nebraska. He later rode and toured with their troupe doing horse acts such as trick riding and riding Roman.
In 1948, my friend Deloris Schnell, her Dad had an auction barn in Hankinson, ND, also a rodeo company in summer, and myself were offered the chance to have Jr. Whipple teach us trick riding. He was building a rodeo arena. Deloris had her own horse and trick saddle. I had the privilage of using Tony, Dorothy Whipple's old trick riding horse, also Dorothy's trick saddle. I bought the saddle and still have it. Due to Tony being such a trusting horse I accomplished the same tricks Dorothy did. One was the tail drag. Deloris Schnell and I got to perform at the Whipple Rodeo that summer. Our first.
I feel Mr. Whipple gave me the chance to develop the art of trick riding and riding Roman. Even as a grubby child I felt important when we got to show off how we had trained one of his colts.
I went on with a career of riding until I met my husband who was stationed at a Navy base near where I lived. When he came back we returned to his family farm where we've lived and raised our family. I am still raising and training in my love of horses.
GO TO OUR PIONEERS FOR DELORES'S COMPLETE STORY OF HER CAREER AS A RODEO STAR . CLICK ON " THE FAMILY OF BYRON WOOD"
Photo from Wagon Wheels by Norma Johnson