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This is Page 103.

See some past photo entries below.

See an index of all past photos here.

See Page 1 here with the current photos.

 

We welcome your pictures. We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We're looking for vintage photos and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo to share, email us for information about sending it to us.


 

Send your photos.

 Email us.

 

 

If you enjoy this feature, you may also be interested in our 
Western Memories Project, the personal recollections— many with photos— contributed by BAR-D visitors.  Your stories and photos are welcome.



We welcome your photos.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

Share your part of the West or the West of your past. To send photos and their descriptions, just email them to us.   


previous  photos

index of all photos


January  30, 2012

Musician T. Scot Wilburn comes from generations of musicians. Most notably, his father and uncle were a part of the popular 1950s Montana band, the Snake River Outlaws. He shares photos of the band and family photos, along with descriptions:

 

This is a photo of the boys performing, about 1950. Left to right are my uncle Vernon Wilburn, Orville Fochtman, Jimmy Widner, and my dad, Harold Wilburn.

These guys won the hearts of their public by being themselves. They were simply a bunch of rough-around-the-edges ranch kids from Weiser, Idaho, who at times did what they had to do to survive. That might be working cattle, helping with the lambing (nearby Weiser, Idaho, had some of the biggest sheep outfits in the world), or making and selling moonshine (another attribute that helped make them popular among the common folk.) The Snake River Outlaws were loved by all who knew them and they made damn good music, playing in barrooms, grange halls, sheep camps, and other "houses of entertainment."

This 1940 LaSalle hearse was the car the band eventually bought after they had actually started making money. When they first started out, they would pass the hat or put out a kitty for donations. They usually bought a roll of baloney and a loaf of bread and a tank of gas with their earnings, which were not a lot. It was a hand-to-mouth existence for them at first. At some places they would get free whiskey, and if the kitty didn't fill up, Jim Widner would say, "Drink your fill tonight boys so you're good and sick in the morning, cuz we didn't make enough for breakfast!"

The photo below is not merely a pose. These guys would actually play entire songs like this to get attention or put on a show for the folks, crossing over hands, each playing two separate instruments....They all knew how to play many different instruments. I watched my dad and these guys do this a number of times as a small child  and would always think, "If only I could just play one!"   

Here is a picture of my dad, seated (age 11) and my uncle, standing (age 8) before playing a dance. A grange hall dance, by the way, was not an every week thing in those days as it is nowadays. A dance was a special occasion; it took place perhaps twice a year and you might even buy a new shirt and or get a haircut when this event happened. And, if you were the entertainment, you were held to a higher standard and may even have worn a tie.  

This photo below of my grandparents' house was taken around 1920. My Grandpa, Bird Wilburn, is pictured with the wagon and team. Bird was a fine fiddle player himself and was recruited to play nearly all the local dances and celebrations in and around the Weiser, Idaho area. My father (Harold) says he remembers his dad getting up very very early, taking his old fiddle and wrapping it in an old shirt, putting it inside a gunny sack, and then tying it to his saddle horn. He would ride the better part of a day to play a dance that night for one dollar. I never met my grandfather, who was born in 1886; he died before I was born.

The reason the livestock, wagon, pigs, chickens, and kids are all in this picture is that in those days it was common to round up all your belongings when a picture was being made. I guess these were all of their earthly possessions, and yes, that is their house.  There were not many windows. It was probably hard to transport glass into that remote country without it being broken.
 

The car was reputedly the first car to make it all the way in to Grandpa Bird's ranch as it was a 7-mile horseback or wagon ride over mud, sagebrush, and broken volcanic country to the nearest gravel road. Dad said this picture was taken in 1938. Standing left to right are Willy Wilburn, Vernon Wilburn, and Harold Wilburn.

 


 


The Snake River Outlaws were featured in a 2008 National Public Radio story, "Snake River Outlaws: No Imitation," which includes audio.


 

The Western Folklife Center produced a retrospective about the band for Montana Public Radio. It is described:

The Snake River Outlaws played live every Saturday night from the Sunshine Bar on the corner of Woody and Alder in Missoula, and were broadcast live on KXLL radio. The Western Folklife Center Retrospective contains rare digitally re-mastered recordings of live radio shows the Outlaws recorded in Missoula around 1950, in a sound capsule of a time when cowboys, railroaders, college students, college ladies and vagabonds all hoisted mugs of beer to fine music and western sociability.

Listen to the entire retrospective here.


 

The Western Folklife Center  and T. Scot Wilburn produced a Snake River Outlaws CD of vintage live band recordings.  The CD is available from Scot Wilburn (email), the Western Fokllife Center, and other sources.

The photo above of Orville Fotchman, lead singer for the Snake River Outlaws and T. Scot Wilburn was taken in Weiser, Idaho, 2009, while the Snake River Outlaws project was in production. The two are at the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest (which celebrates its 60th year in 2012).

 

 

T. Scot Wilburn, who plays fiddle, steel guitar (non pedal) and electric guitar, has worked as a professional musician since the age of 15. He worked for local Montana bands as a youngster and later  traveled with road bands, eventually picking up work with artists including Ferlin Husky, the Hagar Twins, and Hank Thompson. Scot also spent over a decade being the utility man (multi-instrumentalist) for Wylie and the Wild West, and now performs with Stephanie Davis.

He'll be performing at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 30-February 4, 2012.
 

 

 


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


 

January  23, 2012

Popular South Dakota poet, quilting champion,  and ranch wife Yvonne Hollenbeck shared this photo from the late 1950s:

She writes:

Here's a picture of some Western entertainers, probably about 1957 in Nebraska.

Left to right, first person unknown; next is Ellis Peabody Hale; Russ Garner; unknown woman; the guy on the steel guitar is Neville Sits Poor; then in the center is Bill (Curly) Finch; and then Joe Cross Dog.

Next is my dad, Harry Hanson with the fiddle and his band, the Sunset Ranch Boys:  Howard Parker, David Parker and Gordon Benson. Harry Hanson and the Sunset Ranch Boys were the regular band and others would be invited to participate. They had a Saturday afternoon radio show at Chadron, Nebraska, which was held live at the local theatre and went live over the radio, a real popular show. The theatre would be packed every Saturday afternoon. After TV came to the area, they had a weekly television show on Tuesday evenings called "Curly's Corral."

Find more about "Curly's Corral" along with some vintage photos here and also here, where a few more of the people in the photo above are identified.

See a special feature about Yvonne Hollenbeck's father, Harry Hanson—a many-times National Champion Old Time Fiddler—here at CowboyPoetry.com. 

  Find tributes to rancher, musician, and poet Howard Parker (1935-2004) along with some of his poetry in our feature here.

Yvonne Hollenbeck has contributed other interesting photos to "Picture the West," including:

  A vintage South Dakota Easter photo

  A family member's invention

  South Dakota then-and-now photos

  A 2009 blizzard

  What "bail out" means on a ranch

  A vintage family photo of Hollenbeck Livery

  Early photos of acclaimed writers Billie Snyder Thornburg, her sister Nellie Snyder Yost, and their family's ranch

  A tintype of her great grandfather, Ben Arnold

  Photos of another fierce winter storm


Read more about Yvonne Hollenbeck, including some of her poetry in our feature here.

 


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


 

January 16, 2012

Retired Oregon rancher Byrl Keith Chadwell sent us a poem ("Sourdough Range," included below), a tribute to his mother. We asked him if he had a photo to share and were rewarded with several interesting images of  the family saw mill, circa 1920, near Baker City, Oregon and his comments:

[My mother] is the older of the girls on the left of the pix. This was the woods crew and the saw mill crew (hard to believe, but oh so true):

The photo is of the Bell family saw mill, on Antone Creek, north and west of Baker City, Oregon, in the Blue Mountain foothills. The picture was taken about 1919 to 1921, we estimate.

Grampa John Bell brought the family out a second time in 1905 and started a the saw mill. Difficult times forced Grandpa to lay off his woods crew and his saw mill help, however, with no alternative, he put the family to work.

The boys fell timber with axes and cross cut saws, skidding and loading logs onto log wagons with horses, all under the stern supervision of my grandpa. The girls helped in the saw mill and drove loaded lumber wagons to their delivery points, as far away as Sumpter, Oregon, as well as cooked and helped with household chores.
 

This is the lumber wagon and team ready for delivery, driven by my grandpa John Bell.

 

Grandpa John also used a work horse to move logs onto the sawmill carriage and other heavy chores around the sawmill.
 

 

Sourdough Range


The evening's chores were always done, just before her day was through,

with sourdough set, water pails full... and the wood box was full too.

She's up early in the summertime, to start the day out right                     

With a cow to milk and bread to bake...she's up before day light.

 

Alladin's lamp on oil clothed table...its base a pretty green, 

gives light to her placing kindlin' and... a smidge of kerosene.  

She starts the fire with kitchen match, then opens the damper bail,

the fire roars as she aprons up and dips hand wash from a pail.
 

Her kitchen range...in winter's welcome, it's stoked up then... all day,

but baking bread in the summertime ... there's just no other way. 

So, she fired it up real early, just to beat the summer's heat,

to get sourdough in the oven... and cook other things to eat.
 

She'd stir up a pan of biscuits, then knead out a batch of bread,

made up last night... from the starter crock and secrets in her head.

That mystery crock of sourdough starter, sitting on the shelf...

how she made this taste bud twister was known only to herself.
 

If us cowboys were real lucky when she put the lunches up,

we'd get left over biscuits... sometimes... she fed 'em to the pup.

She'd put up several lunches... in some cotton sugar sacks,

we would tie 'em up with leather strings behind our high back kacks.


It was a time of my beginnings, on the Burnt River's Break's,

a time of learnin' how to cowboy and to give what it takes....

A time when Mom was cookin' for "the brand"... before times would change,

a time when sourdough, beef and biscuits... came off that "sourdough range."

 

© 2010, Byrl Keith Chadwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

About the poem, Keith writes:

This poem is a tribute to my mother; Beulah Bell Chadwell.

She cooked on woodstove ranges most of her life, in often remote cabins or boarding houses made of logs or rough sawn lumber. She made a home for her family and cooked for; Loggers, sawmill crews, miners, farmers and cowboys. She was a true Eastern Oregon pioneer.

She, like a lot of other pioneer women, knew how to keep food without refrigeration. They knew how to cook from scratch with groceries raised, purchased or perhaps bartered for in the fall; enough to last an entire isolated, snowed in winter, if need be. Many, rarely, if ever, had access to commercial electricity.

Then there were those baking powder biscuits and always that ever present crock of "secret recipe" sour dough starter to make hotcakes, hot rolls, bread and pie dough. My...oh my...I remember my mother had a way with sour dough. We ate it nearly every day and never tired of it. I can smell her sour dough, if I think about it, to this day.

Keith Byrl Chadwell shared previous photos for Picture the West:

  The Grand Canyon and its mules

 

Read more about Byrl Keith Chadwell and some of his poetry here.

 

 

   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


 

January 9, 2012

Colorado rancher Terry Nash shares photos of gathering bulls this winter in Luster Basin, Glade Park, Colorado. He wrote:

These bulls had avoided the gather that went on for three plus weeks...The owner of the adjacent range flew over the country watchin' for strays and spotted our bulls in his Luster Basin country. Feed was adequate, but water was gettin' scarce. They'd have eventually drifted even further into trouble if we hadn't got them out when we did.

Packed in a little hay to get 'em ready. They'd had darn little water since three weeks back. Snow was pretty skimpy where we found 'em, but the road was blown over and we were breaking two feet drifts. The horses and cattle were plenty ready for a break three miles off the mountain.

 

Read more about Terry Nash and some of his poetry here.

 


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


 

January 4, 2012

Award-winning poet, radio host, emcee, and humorist Andy Nelson of Pinedale, Wyoming, shares photos from southwestern Montana's Beaverhead River. He writes:

Great friends, Brian and Gabe French, took us (Brenn Hill and his band, my son and I) on an amazing float trip down the Beaverhead River in Montana last August before our evening performance at the Madison County Fair. The weather was beautiful, the water was warm, and the fun was abundant.

Brenn Hill and the boys in the band  relax in the drift boat, while my son Will and I oar the mini cata-rafts.
 

The guys dared to bare their fluorescent white skin to the elements, mocking the Montana River Sun Gods. They paid dearly for their indiscretion with Larry-the-lobster sunburns.

Will was looking too comfortable in his tube… and not being able to help myself, I ambushed him from the drift boat. With cat-like reflexes, Will avoided the attack…and also avoided getting squashed.

Obviously, the water was not very deep and we walked back to the drift boat.

Shooting the rapids in the mini cata-raft, donning the obligatory straw cowboy hat and Hawaiian Aloha shirt.

The Beaverhead River claims to be Montana's top brown trout fishing river. Find more about it here. Wikipedia gives some history and tells about the origin of the river's name, quoting Verne Huser's 2004 book, On the River with Lewis and Clark:

The name of the Beaverhead originates from Beaverhead Rock on the middle river. This rock formation was recognized by Sacajawea when the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed the area in 1805. There were also many beavers in the area at the time, but the name does not originate from the animal. In 1805, Captain Meriwether Lewis traveled up the Jefferson and Beaverhead first, but when the rest of the expedition came, a sign Lewis had left at the confluence of the Beaverhead and Big Hole telling them to follow the Beaverhead had been cut down by a beaver, and the expedition traveled up the Big Hole instead. Resultantly, the swifter current of the Big Hole swamped two of their canoes before they could travel back down to the confluence.

Andy Nelson has shared other Picture the West photos:

photos and excerpts from his award-winning  book, Riding with Jim, here

   photos of his father, James W. Nelson, here

             photos of his father and his work as a farrier here

   photos of three generations of farriers here

   photos of his family's next generation of farriers here

   a 1950s family photo here

ancloudswagon.jpg (24930 bytes)  a 2005 sunset photo from his place in Pinedale, here

  a contemporary photo from his brother Jim's ranch here.


Read some of Andy Nelson's poetry and more about him here.

Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.

 


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.



 

 

See an index of all past photos here.

Find the current photos here.

 

 

 

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