Upcoming Events: Neal Hermanson Memorial Ranch Rodeo


The First Two Co-honorees of 2010


Neal Curtis Hermanson ~ 1985-2008

     Neal was born on September 1st, 1985. Neal is the son of Ned Hermanson and Kim Hermanson. He was taken from us unexpectedly Monday, October 27th, 2008.
Neal grew up on several different ranches, attended several different schools, in several different communities. He spent the first eight years of his life on the Nygaard Ranch, south of Alexander, where he learned about rattlesnakes, sledding, riding his bike down hills and jumping his bike over the ramps he was always building.

     Neal believed that if it had wheels it could fly! He also learned to carry his first buckets of feed, ride his first horse, and run fast when the cows came at him. He attended Alexander school at this time and it was here in first grade when he met his future sweetheart Anne-Marie Heen. In the summer of 1993, Neal and his family moved to the Schilling Ranch where Neal attended Rau school. He quickly made many friends even though he was there for only a short while. They moved back to the Nygaard Ranch where Neal finished out his second grade year back in Alexander. In June of 1994, they moved to Eleanor Trotters Ranch in the rough breaks of the Badlands. He attended his next years of schooling between Rau and Grassy Butte. Neal and Louis enjoyed many summer days playing in the muddy river with their cousins and Rex. He spent many long hours, in the saddle on his first horse, Follow, helping his dad ride. In November of 1997, they left the river ranch and headed to the Vuylsteke Ranch on Bennie Pierre Creek. While living here Neal again attended Alexander school and enjoyed fishing with his friends at Sather Dam. Neal loved snowmobiling, four wheeling, and motorcycling. In May of 2000 they moved to the Jacobson Ranch. In 2004 Neal graduated from Alexander High School.
     Neal's college career included various schools in various communities. In August of 2004 he attended NDSU Fargo then UND Williston. He was employed by Nabor's Drilling the summer of 2005. He returned to Fargo that fall for another semester and then NDSCS in Wahpeton for a final semester. Neal ended his college career at this time. He had decided to work full time for Nabors. He enjoyed the camaraderie he shared with his co-workers and friends and soon settled into the area, where the "Man Shack", became home.
     On his days off from the oil field you could often find Neal helping his dad on the ranch. Neal loved the ranch life. He had recently purchased his own cows and was getting his own start. He would have sold his first calf crop this fall. At a very young age Neal started understanding cattle. He handled them as good as any cowman before he was a man.
     Neal loved to tease, or torment, according to Louis. Even so, all through his life, when Neal wasn't fighting with Louis, he was taking care of his brother. Neal never let anything get him down. He had a knack for making up new phrases and eventually everyone around him would be saying it too. He always had a story to tell and he could captivate a roomful of people with his stories. And can we ever forget those Converse shoes, dorky shades, and his all time favorite shiny silk shirts!
     Neal worked hard, played hard, but laughed with ease. He had that wonderful characteristic "knee-slapping" laugh that he inherited from his dad.
     On his last day on this earth, Neal was doing what he enjoyed the most: riding, working cows, and being with friends.

The following are words taken from a poem written by Louis Hermanson.

When you left home and went away, we told you, you would be forever

in our hearts.
When that terrible day came for you to leave us forever, we hugged you

and kissed you and told you that you would be forever in our arms.
We love you Neal. We will miss you.
May you find comfort and peace in the arms of God.


Levi Charles Wisness ~ 1981-2008

     Levi  was born April 21, 1981, the son of Milo and Julie (Stenehjem) Wisness, in Williston, North Dakota. He was raised on their ranch north of Keene and attended elementary school at Johnson Corners. He went to junior and senior high school at Watford City High School. 

    In high school Levi excelled in wrestling, football, and rodeo. He was a five year wrestling letterman and a four year football letterman. In 1999, his senior year, he was a state champion in three sports. Levi and the "Wolves" won the state football championship, he was the State Wrestling Champion at 189 lbs, and the ND High School State Steer Wrestling Champion. He was also awarded the prestige honor of Reserve Champion All Around Cowboy at the ND High School State Finals his senior year. His true love was always rodeo. From the time he rode his first sheep when he was 6 years old, he was hooked on everything to do with rodeo. 

     Levi was also an honor student in high school and active in FFA and 4-H as well as the Keene LYO. He was a member of Keene First Luthern Church. 

     After graduating from WCHS in 1999, Levi went on the SDSU on a rodeo scholarship where he was able to team up with his older brother Beau again. In 2001 Levi transferred to Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington and then on to finish his college career at the university of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. As a college senior in 2003, he won the National Collegiate Championship. Winning titles were the frosting on the cake for Levi, but his real joy came from competing and the many wonderful friends he made through his high school and college days. Levi graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ag Business. 

     Making friends was what Levi did best through all his life. With his ready grin and warm and generous spirit he attracted people like honey attracts bees. Up and down the road during his Pro Rodeo career, Levi never met a stranger, just friends he hadn't bumped into yet. He loved to sit and visit with friends, young and old.  

     Levi bought his PRCA card in 2000 and began following his dream to compete in the National Finals Rodeo. He came so close in 2007, spending most of the year near the top of the leader board before a brain tumor brought his career to a temporary halt. He was looking forward to the new PRCA rodeo season starting this coming October with another shot at the NFR in Las Vegas.

     Levi worked for and lived with Brian and Lisa Fulton of Mission, SD for the past six years. He loved every chance of working and learning from Brian. He grew to love their family as his own. 

     Levi was the beloved son of Milo and Julie, the loving brother of Beau and Heather, and Chase, and the adoring uncle of Amelia. One other very special person in Levi's life was this girlfriend Megan McLeod. He had a large family consisting of his Grandma Gladys, aunts, uncles, and cousins and an ever bigger family of friends who loved him and will miss him always. 

     Levi had a quiet and complete faith in God and we know he is now in heaven with his Grandpa Lester, Grandpa Andy and Grandma Thelma and his two baby twin brothers, Russell and Joshua.

2018 Inductee


GENE W KOCH ~ 1950-2015

      Gene was born on January 1, 1950 in Valley City, ND, the son of Theodore “Ted” and Josephine “Jo” Koch. He was raised on the family homestead north of Valley City. Gene started school in Rosemont, MN and attended several country schools near Valley City before graduating from Valley City High School in 1967. 

     Gene joined the United States Marine Corps in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He was seriously wounded while serving as a rifleman by an enemy explosive device. He was evacuated from Vietnam to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital where he received the Purple Heart for wounds received and was medically discharged from the Marine Corps in the fall of 1969. Although his active duty service time was short, he was living proof that once a Marine always a Marine and remained true to the Corps in body and spirit the rest of his life. 

     Gene’s love for horses started on the back of his grandfather’s work horses and later on the family horse, Baldy. He purchased his first horse, “Jay”, after settling in Sidney, MT. But it was the acquisition of his first mule “Pearl” and the many mules to follow that earned him the title of “Muleman.” After purchasing a team, “Beth and Tony”, he and Sherman Dynneson spent the winter restoring a Chuck Wagon. He pulled the wagon in many parades and was always willing to hitch up a wagon and take people for rides. Gene was a self-taught packer and taught several clinics to share his knowledge of the proper way to make a Manty Load and throw the Diamond Hitch. 

     Gene will be remembered in the hearts of many as an honorary guide and outfitter. He was a skilled horseman and “packer”. He received as much pleasure out of sharing his passions with friends and family as he did participating in them. 

     Gene passed away at his home in Gallatin Gateway, MT on February 26, 2015 of Renal Cell Carcinoma. His ashes have been spread on a ridge overlooking the South Fork of the Sun River in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and buried with military honors in the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery. He was 65 years old.

2017 Inductee


Robert Dale Nelson, D.V.M ~ 1933-2015

Robert was born to Willie Nelson and Bertha Gates Nelson on Jan. 5, 1933, at home in Lanesboro, Minn. He graduated from Lanesboro High School and refused a full ride football scholarship to St. Olaf so he could work his way through Veterinary School at the University of Minnesota. During his final year of school, he completed an internship in western North Dakota where a beautiful young woman in a yellow dress caught his eye. He married Marlene Sanford in Watford City on June 23, 1957. After finishing college, they made their home in Hebron and Park River before returning to Watford City where he started the city’s first veterinary clinic. Doc Nelson practiced in McKenzie County for 45 years, retiring at the age of 80. Even then, he enjoyed occasional trips to Grassy Butte to write health certificates and keeping tabs on the new clinic. 

     Doc Nelson loved his work and clients and was available all hours of the day. He quickly made western North Dakota his own and was active in many boards and committees, including School Board, Good Shepherd Home Board, Watford City Lutheran Church Council, and Boy Scouts. Doc Nelson loved coffee and conversation and didn’t hesitate to share his opinion. 

     Despite 80 hour work weeks, he was available at a moment’s notice to his family and friends, even if it meant making a 650-mile round trip to see a grandchild’s concert during calving season. Many who were close to him depended on his insights and strength. His children and grandchildren always knew that whatever the problem was Dad (Papa) would have the answer. He made yearly trips back to his hometown of Lanesboro, and treasured his relationships with his many siblings and their families.  

     He is survived by his wife, Marlene; his daughters Geri (David) Beckman, Park River, and Kris Pacheco, Watford City; his son, Tim (Lisa) Nelson, Alexander; his grandchildren, Amanda (Brian) Presteng, Allison (James) Arcadi, Michael Pacheco, Gus, Joe, Laurel and Grace Nelson; his great-grandchildren, Annika, Samuel and Norah Presteng and Dominic, Claire and Simeon Arcadi; his sisters Ruth Ostrem, Lola Williamson and Mary Mindrum; his sister-in-law, Janice Nelson; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

     He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, James Nelson and David Nelson; and his sisters, Jean Bremseth, Margaret Nelson and Lois Muzik.

2016 Inductees


Raymond Gilstad ~ 1934-2015

Raymond was born to Edgar and Effie (Stedman) Gilstad on May 8, 1934, the 10th of 13 children. He lived in the Keene area his entire life. Raymond completed eighth grade at the Berg School and then remained at home to help his parents. 

     In 1957, Ray married Linda (Ewen) and together they raised three children, Debbie, Rusty and Cindy. Ray worked for oil field service companies before working for Amerada Hess for 27 years, and while doing so, he also farmed and raised cows. Times were tough in the beginning, but his hard work created opportunity to expand his operation. After he retired from Amerada Hess, he was finally able to farm and ranch full time. Being able to work was always important to Ray. He always said he just didn't feel right if he didn't do a little work every day. Ray and Linda are proud that their children and grandchildren share those same values. 

     Ray served on the Keene Rural Fire Department, many community boards, and as a member of the Long X Wagon Train. Ray loved to hunt deer and looked forward to having family and friends around for that season. He and Linda spent many evenings driving around scouting for the "big one." Ray loved rodeo, especially a good bareback ride. In 1956, Ray won the North Dakota Amateur Bareback Riding title. For 30 years he judged for various rodeo associations and was always willing to help young competitors. He also enjoyed a good game of pinochle or whist. 

     Ray loved his animals and was happiest when working outside. He seemed to always have a few extra horses around and made sure the barn cats were fed. Ray was never too busy to lend a helping hand to his neighbors and friends. Ray always had time, when the work was done, to have a little fun too!
Ray and Linda cherished the time they spent with their three grandkids and great grandson, whether they were at events or just around the ranch. Christmas Day was particularly special when the whole family would spend the day at the Gilstad Ranch. Giving his grandkids a ride in his Willy's Jeep was always a treat and Ray was proud to have many honorary grandkids, in addition to his own, who called him "Grandpa." 

     Simply put, Ray loved life. He enjoyed visiting and getting to know people. There were few people he didn't get along with, but he rarely spoke ill of anyone. His smile, laugh and stories will be missed by many, but not forgotten. 


Jay Dee "JD" Hutchinson ~ 1958-2014

Jay Dee "JD" was born March 27, 1958 to Glenn & Bonita “Bonnie” Arlene Smith Hutchinson in Glendive, MT. JD was raised on the family ranch north of Wibaux. He attended school in Wibaux until March of 1977, when he moved to Cody, Wyoming where he graduated from high school. JD returned to Wibaux and worked as rough neck in the oil field, for Smith Cattle Company and on the race track. After getting hurt on the oil rig, he returned to the family ranch to help his father. 

     In 1982, JD fell in love with Heidi Cox and they have been together for 32 years. Heidi tells the story of getting on the school bus in the 6th grade and the only seat left was one with JD. Who knew back then what this would lead to? JD started rodeoing at the age of eight when he competed in Little Britches rodeos and high school rodeos. He competed in all three rough stock events and roping. JD was a great team roper; however he put his team roping on the back burner so he could take his kids rodeoing. 

     JD was so proud of his kids. He even had a MHSRA coat that said “Shae’s Dad.” After the kids were done with high school rodeo, JD started judging rodeos. JD was willing to help any kid in the rodeo arena and was a babysitter for his adopted children; Kaci Jo and the Tousignant boys. JD passed his love for hunting “the big buck” to his son, Tyler and the love of ranching and roping to both Tyler & Shae. Heidi was the love of his life; he would do anything for her from helping coach volleyball, making Christmas goodies, to this year cooking Thanksgiving dinner. JD was a man of very few words and smiles, except for the children in his life and his new grandson, Kacin. He was never without a rope, a good horse, and a cow dog at his side. At the time of his death, JD was Wibaux County Weed Supervisor, a director for the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and a rodeo judge. He had just bought the family ranch and was working it with Heidi, Tyler, Shae and his sister, Bev. 

     God must have needed another good cowboy, so he called JD to come cross the great divide to be with his dad, where they are ranching and roping in that big arena in the sky. JD was preceded in death by his parents, and two sisters. He is survived by his wife, Heidi; son, Tyler; daughter, Shae (Dale) Peplinski; his pride and joy grandson, Kacin Paul; his faithful dog, Dakota; sister ,Beverly Hutchinson of Miles City, MT; one uncle, Keith Hutchinson of Gillette, WY; his special kids, Kaci Jo Hougland, Ty, Colton and Chas Tousignant; and two other siblings.

     A memorial rodeo scholarship fund has been established in memory of J.D. at Stockman’s Bank in Wibaux. 


Alvin nelson ~ 1934-2014

     Alvin Nelson 80, Grassy Butte, died Dec. 23, 2014, at St. Mary’s Hospital, Rochester, Minn. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, at First Lutheran Church, Watford City, with the Rev. Rob Favorite officiating. Interment will take place at Grassy Butte Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Medora; ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs, Colo.; or the National Cowboy Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Okla. 

     Alvin was born April 5, 1934, a son of Tobias and Agnes (Karlsen) Nelson, farmers and ranchers at Mobridge, S.D. Agnes Nelson’s parents, Paul and Ingeborg Anna (Eklo) Karlsen came to the area in 1879 and were the first family to settle in what became Mobridge. Alvin’s maternal grandfather, Paul, was born on Ulstein Island, near Alesund, Norway. Alvin’s maternal grandmother, Ingeborg, came from the Eklo farm, Verdal, Norway near Trondheim. 

     Alvin’s father, Tobias Nelson, came to Mobridge in 1905 from Bergen, Norway. Alvin has primary and secondary citizenship records for his family as well as World War I records for his father. Alvin’s father died in 1942 and his mother died in 1975. 

     Alvin and his wife, Kaye Van Dyke, were married May 8, 1958, and they have one son, Louis Alvin Nelson, born March 6, 1962, at Williston. Louis is married to Allene Olson, daughter of Harold and Maureen Olson, Killdeer. Louis and Allene have one son, Garett Louis Nelson. Louis and Allene currently own and operate the Nelson Ranch. 

     When Alvin was 16 years old, he and his brother were suppose to be fencing. Instead, they drove off to a nearby rodeo at Java, S.D. Alvin entered, won the cow riding and $17 — more than he made all week milking cows! A career was born! Alvin won the South Dakota State and National High School Saddle Bronc Riding titles in 1952. He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1953 and was a member for 61 years. He entered and won rodeos all over the United States and Canada from San Francisco to New York City, San Antonio, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Alvin changed saddle bronc riding forever by tying up his stirrups in what is called “quarter binds.” Alvin said telling his friends how to do this was a mistake! He won the 1957 World Champion Saddle Bronc Riding title and qualified for five Wrangler National Finals Rodeos. He won the saddle bronc riding average at the National Finals Rodeo in 1961 and 1962 and the All-Around at the 1961 NFR in Dallas. 

     Alvin was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs, Colo.; National Cowboy Western Heritage Museum (formerly National Cowboy Hall of Fame) Oklahoma City, Okla.; North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Medora; South Dakota Hall of Fame, Chamberlain, S.D.; Casey Tibbs Center, Ft. Pierre, S.D.; Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backwards) Hall of Fame, Omaha, Neb.; and the Montana ProRodeo Wall of Fame, Billings, Mont. 

     Although Alvin became a North Dakotan in 1953 when he won the North Dakota Rodeo Association Bull Riding Championship, it wasn’t until 1956 that he purchased his first ranch from Einar Pierce in southwestern McKenzie County with rodeo winnings. His second, the Scott Gore ranch, followed in 1957. Alvin chose to ranch in the beautiful Badlands along the Little Missouri River because of the winter grazing afforded by the protection of the buttes and hills. 

     Alvin and Kaye had met at the Cow Palace rodeo in San Francisco, Calif., where Kaye, as Miss Rodeo North Dakota 1957, was competing for Miss Rodeo America. Casey Tibbs, a pageant judge, introduced them. They were married at First Lutheran Church, Watford City, on May 8, 1958, and have always been members. Alvin was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958 and they lived in Germany for one year while Alvin served as an army medical specialist. He flew in a helicopter ambulance crew in the large army training areas at Wildflicken, Bayreuth and Belsun-Hone. 

     Alvin was a 1958 Charter Life Member of the National Cowboy Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, and was a life and annual member of the Rodeo Historical Society. Alvin was elected to the RHS board of directors and served two terms. He was also elected to the Rodeo Cowboy Alumni board of directors. Alvin served on McKenzie County Grazing Association board of directors for 35 years and as secretary-treasurer of the Grassy Butte Scale for 35 years. Alvin was a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and held a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association gold card. Alvin belonged to Sons of Norway; Farm Bureau; First Lutheran Church, Watford City; and the Republican Party. 

     Alvin and Kaye enjoyed their retirement, traveling and living on the ranch with their son, daughter-in-law and grandson. Alvin was a quiet, humble man with a ready smile and a twinkle in his eye! 

     Alvin is survived by his wife, Kaye Nelson; his son and daughter-in-law, Louis and Allene Nelson and his grandson, Garett Nelson, all of Grassy Butte; his sister, Anna Sogge, Spearfish, S.D.; his brother, Toby Nelson, Sturgis, S.D.; his sister-in-law, Twyla Nelson, Mitchell, S.D.; his brother, Palmer Nelson, Killdeer; and many nieces and nephews. 

     Alvin was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Tillman Nelson; and two nieces, Twylieta and Tamera Nelson 

2013 Inductees


Kelby Indegard ~ 1995-2013

     Kelby George Indergard was born on May 29th, 1995 in Sidney, MT. He was the son of Kelly & Stacey (Letcher) Indergard of Sidney. Kelby was baptized at Lutheran Brethren Church in Sidney, MT and later confirmed at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Alexander, ND. He was taken from us unexpectedly on Saturday, January 12, 2013.
     Kelby was raised on the Indergard ranch in McKenzie Co, ND. He spent the first years of his life playing and fighting with his brother Seth, riding bike, horses, building forts, climbing hills, learning about rattlesnakes, going to brandings, and playing with his neighborhood friends. In his early years he was his dad’s shadow: learning to carry buckets, drive tractors, chase cows, mechanic, laugh, and tell jokes. These everyday times helped instill his love of family and ranch. His dad was so proud of his horsemanship and roping skills. He enjoyed spending time with friends, trying to beat his brother at Playstation, roping, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, and swimming at Leland Dam. He loved hanging out with friends and kept busy playing practical jokes on everyone and anyone who was around. You knew when you saw that twinkle in his eye something was up. Kids were drawn to him and he enjoyed them also. His beautiful smile and friendly “Hello” was given to all and he could make anyone’s day. He loved life and everyone loved him. The mood of a room was changed with his presence.
     Kelby started his school career at Horse Creek School in Cartwright, ND. He transferred to Alexander when he started 5th grade where he was currently enrolled as an 11th grader. He was involved in football and basketball for the Watford City Wolves in Watford City, ND. He was an active member of the Badlands Brushpoppers 4-H club. He was involved in showing horses in his younger years and was currently raising his 6th steer project. Kelby was a dependable hand, helping neighbors with brandings and weaning. He started roping at brandings when he was very young, and roping became his passion. He looked forward to brandings every spring. In 8th grade he participated in the ND Junior High Rodeo Association in team roping, chute dogging, break away roping, ribbon roping, and under protest, goat tying. He was the ND Junior High Rookie of the Year in 2009-10. In high school rodeo he focused on team roping with his partner, Rory Irwin. Together they had many accomplishments including qualifying for the Junior High National Rodeo Finals in chute dogging and team roping. They attended the High School National Rodeo Finals in 2012 in team roping. Kelby enjoyed roping in the WRTC where his heading skills were sought by many. He was thrilled to win a saddle in 2011. Kelby had the honor of qualifying for “Team Cinch” in 2012-13, by being a standout in the state of ND in both academics and in the rodeo arena.
     Kelby is survived by his parents: Kelly & Stacey, and his brother Seth Indergard; Grandparents Dick & Marie McCarthy of Kelliher, MN, Aunt Georgia (Gary) Leland of Havre, MT; Aunt Terri Rindahl of Sidney, MT; Uncle Stuart (Sigrid) Letcher of Hatton, ND; Aunt Steph Rockensock of Blackduck, MN; Aunt Brittani (Adam) Waldorf of Bemidji, MN. He was loved by cousins Laura Malisani, Judy O’Connell, Ernie Leland, Travis Rindahl, Christy Rindahl, Thea Letcher, Riley Rockensock, and Kaelan Rockensock.
     Kelby was preceded in death by Grandparents,George and Mary Lou Indergard of Sidney, MT; Grandfather, Rollin Letcher of Buffalo Center, IA; and Uncle Gary Rindahl, of Sidney, MT.  

Jack Sjol, Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation

JACK SJOL ~ 1954-2013

      Jack Sjol, 58, a long-time Williston resident who had been missing since April 24, was found dead in rural Williams County on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, a victim of foul play.
     Jack Lance Sjol was born Dec. 19, 1954, in Minot, the son of Juel and Lillian (Kraft) Sjol. Jack was educated in the Plaza/Makoti area. He attended high school at North Shore where he was most well known for his excellence on the basketball court. Jack graduated with honors in 1973. Jack attended college at Minot State University and graduated with an associate degree in diesel mechanics from Williston State College in 1977. Jack was once married to Kathy Dube and had two children, Justin and Kara, while living in Williston. Jack was employed with the city of Williston for 25 years until his retirement in 2011.
     At that time, Jack entered into a partnership with his brother Scott, in Epworth Resources, LLC and JMS Rentals, LLC. Jack owned and operated Little Muddy Ranch and Little Muddy Valley Subdivision. He was a member of the National Rifle Association, American Quarter Horse Association, MonDak Quarter Horse Association, Blue Sage Riders Club and Dakota Trails Saddle Club.
     He also served on many local and state water and sewer committees.
     Jack was an accomplished horseman. He loved riding horse on his ranch and participated in branding, roundups and trail drives with his friends and area ranchers. He was a great caretaker of his animals and made sure he was close to home to care for them. He was a good teacher, letting others make mistakes in order to learn, stepping in when frustration hit its peak.
     Jack was an active NRA member and had very strong opinions about politics, which he shared with others. He was an avid ND history buff and learned as much as he could about the region. Jack was a hard worker, rarely taking a day off and a “jack” of all trades. He had the ability of being a quiet, soft spoken man who enjoyed engaging in lengthy conversations with friends or strangers. Some of Jack’s passions included saddling up a horse, operating his motor grader or digging with his backhoe.
     He was a loyal friend, dependable and honest. Jack had very strong ties to his heritage. He named his business, Epworth, after a town near his grandpa’s homestead. He enjoyed spending time with family and loved having them at his ranch. Jack’s infectious laugh and sense of humor will not be forgotten.
     Jack is survived by his stepfather, Orvin Aamot, Minot; his son, Justin (Christy) Sjol, West Concord, Minn.; daughter, Kara (Ray) Sjol-Northway, Hayfield, Minn.; grandchildren, Tessa Sjol, Alyssa, Steven, Amanda and Dalton Northway; twin brother, Jason (Virginia) Sjol, Bismarck, brother, Scott (Diane), Minot; nephews, Brandon Sjol and Jayden Sjol; nieces, Aubrey Millar, Breeann Sjol and Kendra Sjol; step-nephews, Ryan (Christina) Harris, Ft. Worth, Texas and Michael (Adriana) Harris, Minot; step-nieces, Megan and Katie Nice, Grand Forks; and several great-nieces, nephews and many cousins. 

2012 Inductees

Harris Goldsbery, Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation

Harris Goldsbury ~ 1915-2011

     Harris Goldsberry, age 96, died Friday, June 24, 2011, at the Wibaux County Nursing Home, where he had been in residence for the past seven weeks. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. in the Medora Community Center, in Medora, N.D. Interment will follow at the Medora Cemetery. 

     Harris was born to James B. and Suzy (Brown) Goldsberry in Beach, N.D., on March 17, 1915, and lived his entire life along the Little Missouri River in the extreme north end of Billings County. In his youth, Harris, his cousin Bill Goldsberry, and Scott Gore made a little spending money chasing, breaking and selling wild horses. He worked on neighboring ranches and helped out at the family ranch. Harris met Margaret Sullivan, who was a school teacher in the Gorham, N.D., area, and they were married in 1937. The family ranch had been lost to creditors, and Harris bought it back for $1,800.00 from Henry Lehman of Sentinel Butte, N.D. Harris and Margaret raised their three sons and lived on the ranch for the rest of their lives. 

     Harris was a well-known horse breeder and raised many fine roping horses. He and his sons team roped for many years, with Harris winning multiple state championships. Hereford cattle were the mainstay of the ranching operation, but horses were always Harris’s true passion. He had always said that when he was young, ranchers went broke because they couldn’t feed their cattle, and he wanted to avoid that. Harris made many improvements on the ranch; clearing land and irrigating the river bottoms to grow feed. He was a true outdoorsman. Harris always loved hunting and trapping and accounted for many coyotes over the years. In fact, the birth of his first son was paid for with the money from selling coyote hides.  

     Although Harris never amassed great wealth in his life, he was rich in the things that truly matter. He lived his life doing the things he loved, surrounded by family and good friends, on the land that he loved. Harris was a good neighbor, a friend to all who knew him and a master storyteller, keeping his audience enthralled for endless hours around the kitchen table. He was honored by being inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2002, and in his very brief acceptance speech said that it was great to be awarded for doing what he loved to do. 

     Harris lived a very long and full life, but sorely missed his wife, Margaret, and the many friends who had gone before him. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret (Sullivan) Goldsberry, who died in July of 1988, and all of his siblings, Dr. James Goldsberry, Edith McGill, Pearl Moen, Vernon Goldsberry, and Kenneth Goldsberry. Harris is survived by his sister-in-law, Fern Goldsberry of Dickinson, N.D.; three sons, Jerry (Marie) of Grassy Butte, N.D., Ron (Karen) of Beach, N.D., and Loren, of Dickinson; also by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.    


GLEN HUCHINSON ~ 1929-2010

Glenn Robert Hutchinson was born on September 6, 1929, in Glendive, MT a son of Clarence Lee “CL” and Hildur “Johnnie” (Johnson) Hutchinson. He grew up on the family ranch in the Lufboro community in the northwestern part of Wibaux County. Glenn attended country school and graduated from Dawson County High School in 1947. Following graduation Glenn returned to the ranch where he was in partnership with his father, until his father died in 1958. Glenn and Bonnie raised commercial cattle and horses. While attending a dance in Wibaux, Glenn met Bonita “Bonnie” Smith. The two were married on June 15, 1957, in Sentinel Butte, ND. Glenn and Bonnie made their home on the Hutchinson Ranch where they raised their five children. Glenn was active in rodeo. He was instrumental in the forming of the Wibaux Saddle Club. Throughout his life he participated in team roping from 1959 until 2006. Glenn was also a pickup man for Bob Aber in many of the rodeos he produced in the area. Outside of the rodeo arena and away from the ranch, Glenn was active in the Wibaux community. He served one term as a County Commissioner and served 20 plus years on the County Tax Appeal Board. In 2010, Glenn and Bonnie were awarded the “Cowboy and Cowgirl Heritage Award” from the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame in appreciation for preserving the Western Heritage way of life. About three years ago Glenn looked back on his life and commented on four things that came to mind. Glenn said, “You’ve had a good life if you’ve had a good horse, a good wife and a good cow dog.” “Well I’ve had quite a few good horses and a good woman, but never had a good cow dog, so two out of three isn’t all that bad.” Secondly, “You never want the neighbors saying his fences were down.” Thirdly, “I never rode dink horses, not that I didn’t own some, but they never stayed long.” And lastly, “He may never been the best businessman or rancher, but he was a cowboys cowboy.” Glenn Hutchinson was truly a cowboy’s cowboy. On Sunday morning Glenn was doing what he enjoyed in life, being with his children and feeding his cattle when he passed over that Great Divide. Glenn is survived by his children, Jay Dee “JD” (Heidi) Hutchinson, Wibaux, MT, Lee (Patti) Hutchinson, Lovell, WY, Beverley Hutchinson, Miles City, MT and Darlene (Wayne) Grasdock, Galesferry, CT; his 5 grandchildren: Tyler and Shae Hutchinson, Cassie and Kris Hutchinson, and Alexis Grasdock ; and his brother, Clarence Keith Hutchinson, Sheridan, WY. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Hildur, his wife, Bonnie and two daughters, Linda Rae Hutchinson in 1960 and Connie Lynn Hutchinson in 1980; his sister, Joyce Hutchinson and one sister-in-law, Diane Hutchinson. 


Gary Rindahl ~ 1949-2011

     Gary was born July 11, 1949 to Kenneth J. and Lucille (Meeks) Rindahl in Sidney, MT. He grew up on the home ranch on Cinnamon Creek in McKenzie County, ND. Gary and his sister Carla rode the badlands from an early age with their friends and neighbors the Madison’s. Gary met and married the love of his life, Terri Indergard, on December 12, 1970. To this marriage two children were born, Travis James in 1973 and Kelly Christine “Christy” in 1975. His children were the light of his life. He would sing old songs to them as children and enjoyed riding and working the ranch with them as they grew. Gary and Terri made their home on the ranch, working hard and doing what they loved. They also lived with Carla in Sidney for the campaign season and Gary hauled sugar beets for Arnie Kukus and later drove belly dump for Trans Systems hauling beets to the factory. He also worked as a pumper for Samadan for 15 years. Gary was well known for his horse breaking. He said his Dad could get a better rein on them but Kenny always said Gary could get a horse gentler than anyone. Gary took this as high praise coming from his Dad. Gary and Kenny loved to team rope with their friends and neighbors and did so for many years. Vernon Goldsberry hired Gary to halter break colts and break horses for his production sales for several years. Vernon always said Gary was one of the best horsemen he ever knew. Gary was a long time member of the McKenzie County Grazing Association.  

     Gary passed away at home on December 8, 2011 after a year long battle with lung cancer with his family by his side. Gary is survived by his wife of 41 years, Terri; son, Travis; daughter, Christy; grandchildren, Kade, Beau and Kendyl all of Sidney, MT; sister Carla (Nick) Youngkin, Alberton MT; brother-in-law, Kelly (Stacey) Indergard, and their family of Bennie Pierre, ND; sister-in-law, Georgia (Gary) Leland of Havre, MT; and many cousins, wonderful friends and neighbors. Gary is preceded in death by his parents, Kenny and Lucille Rindahl and his father and mother-in-law, George and Mary Lou Indergard. 

2011 Inductees


Richard Bahm ~ 1942-2010

     Richard was born October 14, 1942 in Glen Ullin, North Dakota to John and Lydia (Stoller) Bahm. He attended rural schools and was one of four children. 

     Richard began to rodeo when he was a teenager; first locally and then traveling throughout the United States. Some of his more memorable rides were at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and at Madison Square Garden. He was one of the first to ever ride Descent, a notorious saddle bronc horse. He began his long saddle bronc career winning the 1960 NDRA Typical Junior Cowboy award and many would follow including the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque in 1977 and many years at the Home on the Range Championship matches. His father, John, was particularly proud of Richard’s saddle bronc riding career and one special go on Descent at Belle Fouche, SD. 

     After Richard retired from rodeo in his early 40’s, he worked for various ranches until he settled in Sidney, in 1993 to help his sister, Kathy, run her ranch. Over the next 17 years Richard built his cattle herd and his reputation as a rancher, horse hand, and most of all, a good neighbor. He never hesitated to lend a hand whenever and to whomever was in need. 

     Richard was a private man but no one who knew him will forget him. He left an impression on everyone who knew him for his quick wit, love of a good story, and his sense of humor. He will be truly missed. 

     Richard is survived by: two daughters, Jessica and Bridget, both of Ft. Yates; two grandchildren, Hannah and Ty; sisters, Kathy Berzel, Sidney, MT, Mary (Dale) Carlson, Sawyer, ND; brother, Bob (Carlene) Bahm, Mandan, ND; four nieces and nephews, Lana (Justin) Schmidt, Greg (Debra) Carlson, Sandy (Steve) Buchholz, and Laurie (Dan) Bersanti.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents.


AJ FRANZEN ~ 1981-2010

     Alfred J. Franzen, A.J. as he was known to family and friends, was born March 24, 1984, to Al and Lois Franzen of Sidney, MT. There he was raised on the family ranch. He and his brother, Tim, grew up roping where he found his love for horses and rodeo. 

     Throughout life, AJ had many accomplishments. He was a very decorated cowboy. He was a true perfectionist in everything he did, whether it be rodeo, fencing, or just having fun. 

     He attended college at Dawson Community College and then transferred to the University of Wyoming where he received his degree in Ag. Business and met the love of his life, Barbara. On June 9, 2007, he married his life part-ner and made a home in Carpenter, WY. Two years later, on August 8, 2009, they had their first child, Jace. Jace was the center of AJ’s universe and he lived every moment for his son. They are expecting their second child in May. AJ died in a tragic car accident on December 18, 2010. 

     He is survived by his wife, Barbara Franzen, son Jace, and unborn child (Carpenter, WY), parents Al and Lois Franzen (Sidney, MT), brother Tim Franzen (Dickinson, ND), two grandmothers, Shirley Short (Durango, CO), Patricia Franzen (Billings, MT), and many other family and friends.


Detail your services

     Kyle “Bud” Sperry Jr. was born on July 3, 1941 in Beach, ND to parents Kyle and Lillian (Russell) Sperry. He was raised on the Sperry ranch at Trotters, ND. He attended school at the CS Divide School where he rode up hill both ways at a trot behind his sister Margie. He attended high school in Beach where he boarded with his sister Bethine. Following high school he worked for various ranchers including: Phil Moore, Kenny Rindahl, and Karnes Johnson. Bud also worked the sale days at the Sidney Sales ring. In 1969 he bought his father’s cow herd. For 30 plus years Bud worked for the NDSA as a brand inspector, the job his father had. Bud was working at Vernon Goldsberry Ranch when he met Marcia Bonine; 100 days later on November 7, 1971 they were married at Sentinel Butte, ND. They made their home on the ranch where they raised cows, horses, and two boys, Russell and Robert. 

     In 2004 Bud accomplished his lifelong dream of holding his first Sperry horse sale with his son, Robert and his nephew, Michael Uetz. In 2006 Bud was honored by the American Quarter Horse Association for registering horses for 30 years.  

     Bud loved rodeo, whether it was competing or supporting his boys. His grandchildren were the twinkle in his eyes. He enjoyed his trips to Texas playing with his granddaughters, Reese and Rylan. He loved working the chute, feeding the horses or just sharing a bowl of ice cream with Kolby Kyle. His best days were spent a horse back, helping his friends and neighbors at Spring brandings and Fall shipping. His community meant a lot to him. Bud would quote from Vernon, “Ya gotta work as hard as ya play.” Bud loved his life on the ranch, including the jobs of haying and fencing. He enjoyed his cows but had a passion for horses. Holidays were one of his favorite times to see his family and catching up. He cherished his family. Bud loved and served his Lord. He left a Legacy of Love. 

     Kyle “Bud” Sperry Jr. died on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at his home in Trotters, ND. Bud is survived by: his wife of 38 years, Marcia, Trotters, ND; sons, Russell (Stephanie) Sperry, Rising Star, TX, Robert (Tamra) Sperry, Trotter, ND; grandchildren, Reese and Rylan Sperry both of Rising Star, TX, Kolby Kyle Sperry, Trotters, ND; and sisters, Bethine Sperry, Beach, ND, Shirley (Charles) Uetz, Beach, ND, Margie (George) Kronschnabel, Casper, WY. Bud was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Betty Jean Smith.