2019 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Dick Renfro - Stevensville
It is enjoyable to watch Dick Renfro with his horses. He always shows his enjoyment in driving, and his enthusiasm is infectious! Dick began driving horses about 20 years ago, and has benefited from the unselfish mentoring of other Hall of Fame members. He started with a Belgian cross draft that he also rode. He soon fell in love with Fjord horses and quickly had 8, learning to drive singles, twos, fours and sixes. Dick uses his horses for plowing, haying, and competition in many events. He, in turn, has shared his skills with others including students at U of M Western in Dillon. He and his wife open their facilities for driving experiences both in the arena or in the nearby hills.
Cathi Greatorex - Saint Ignatius
Driving of draft animals is a tradition requiring mentorship to keep it alive. This mentorship comes in many forms, and the foundation for this is caring and sharing. Cathi Greatorex has become an integral part of the Montana draft driving tradition by sharing her lifetime experience and horsemanship knowledge with many wanting to learn.
Driving horses are integrated into her everyday life from furrowing her garden, spreading manure, or plowing snow on the driveway, to providing carefully crafted driving lessons to match needs of her students. Her cumulative experiences, and her career in education, have combined to help keep the tradition of using draft animals alive for future generations.
Neil Cuzner* - Clancy
In the draft world are two camps. They are not mutually exclusive, yet teamsters seem to gravitate to either horses, or mules. The late Neil Cuzner was both a good horseman and a mule teamster, but he seemed to enjoy his mules the most!
Neil always showed great patience with both animals and people, traits that enable Neil to be a go to person for those needing help with their animals, driving, or equipment. His concern for safety around horses and mules, his experience and ability and willingness to share and help, and his deep respect and compassion for animals and people were legendary in his community. The draft animal world lost an outstanding member with the untimely passing of Neil Cuzner.
Harold* & John* Yerian - Corvallis
In the days gone by when America was being settled, skills in the use of draft animals were passed of necessity from parents to sons and daughters. This mostly ended when the internal combustion engine became the power choice for farming and transportation.
As noted herein, there are still those who perpetuate the use of draft animals. Harold and his son John Yerian were among them. Then in 1995 their lives were tragically and senselessly ended by a drunk driver. After the accident family members went to Harold’s place to check on their horses. They found the horses tied in the barn, ready for work, and waiting for Harold and John to return from dinner. Patient gentle giants like the men that had bred, raised and trained them.
If there is a first family of teamsters in Western Montana it would be the Yerian’s. Harold’s father Charlie and brother Don were previously honored by this Hall of Fame. Just as Harold and Don learned from their father, John, a senior in high school, grew up learning and driving horses with his father Harold. More than 25 teams and wagons carried Harold, John and their mourners to the cemetery, a sufficient testament to their deserved place in the Hall of Fame.
2017 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Benson Ranch - Avon & Deer Lodge
The 2017 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame inductee Saturday in Deer Lodge was the Benson Ranch of Avon and
Deer Lodge. From left are Sue Shockey, show manager; Donna Norgaard, Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association
representative; Fred and Dot Benson of Deer Lodge; and Bruce and Pauline Benson of Avon. Photo: Pat Hansen, for
The Montana Standard
All years are auspices in some way, and 1908 is no different. This is the year that the Model T Ford was introduced. It
marked the beginning of the end of draft animals as the major source of motive power. It was also the start of the Benson
Ranch near Avon, and later at Deer Lodge.
Motorized equipment such as trucks and tractors continued to replace draft animals after 1908 at an ever-accelerating pace. By the mid-1930s the draft era was essentially finished. World War II saw a small increase in draft use because of gas rationing. Only the Amish today continue to use horses and mules for primary transportation and field work.
The Benson Ranch is notable for their continued dependence on draft horses until the mid-1990s. They worked fields alongside railroad tracks and highways. These transportation routes were first built with horses and mules. In 1960 when the interstate bypassed Deer Lodge, Bensons were still haying with horses. People parked along the freeway to watch horses pull mowers, rake hay with dump (sulky) rakes, bunch and move hay to the stack with buck rakes. Horses pulled up the beaver slide baskets of loose hay where it dumped onto the stack. Most of these people were amazed at the scene before them. Few would make the connection that draft horses were also used to build road and rail beds some 60 years earlier.
The Benson Ranch home place is at Avon. Earnest Benson, born in Sweden, worked early on driving ore wagon teams from Castle to East Helena. He later started ranching near Stevensville but moved from the Bitterroot area at the instance of his wife Ida. Rocky Mountain spotted fever was claiming lives and she wanted to protect her family. Their son John, age 14 at the time, remained on the ranch. He married Ester (Welch) and they had a family of 3 boys and 2 girls. Two of the boys, Bruce and Fred became partners and third-generation owners. Bruce and his wife Pauline (Bignell) remained on the Avon place, while Fred and his wife Dorothy (Eliason) live on the ranch north of Deer Lodge (acquired in 1954).
The Benson families are well known for helping others. Their Little Blackfoot and Deer Lodge valley communities are important to them. Stories abound such as unhooking a team from the feed wagon to pull a neighbor’s car out of the snow, or helping neighbors to break or buy teams. They have taken those teamster skills learned from their grandfather and father to do their work and teach others.
The Benson Ranch has been in the family more than a century. It is one of the last ranches to depend on teams, doing so a generation after most ranchers turned to tractors. The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize the Benson Family Ranch for their long use of draft horses, education of others, and service to their communities. The Ranch is a long time sponsor of Draft Horse Expo.
2016 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Kai Christensen - Polson
The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame announced their selection of Kai Christensen of Polson as their 2016 recipient. The
selection was announced at the Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association spring meeting held at the Castle Mountain Ranch
at White Sulphur on May 20-21. Kai Christensen can best be described as a Teaching Teamster. While there are, and have
been, many excellent teamsters in Montana, few can match Kai’s ability to teach driving to novices, work out problems, and
explain what audiences witness all while going about the business of teamstering. He consistently and seamlessly teaches his
craft whenever and wherever an audience or co-worker is present.
Kai has gained his skills as an attentive student. He cites Hall of Fame Member Forrest Davis as one of his early mentors. He is
always seeking better ways of doing and understanding the business of using work horses in everyday ranch work. Several
years ago Kai began driving teams on wagon trains. He also started mowing and raking hay with his horses. Both of these tasks required him to learn skills of restoration of horse drawn equipment such as rakes and mowers. About 2004 Kai became a volunteer for the annual historic haying demonstrations held at National Historic Site Grant-Kohrs Ranch at Deer Lodge. It was soon apparent to other such volunteers that Kai was the go-to person to help hitch their draft animals to buck rakes, mowers, and other haying implements.
Then, about 7 years ago, when Kai retired from his work in the medical field, he was asked to take the position of handling the Ranch Horse program. Kai has since been responsible for increased use of draft animals for ranch work such as haying, log skidding, demonstrations, ranch wagon tours, and teaching. The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame is dedicated to those individuals that have made or continue making significant contributions to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge, education, and use of draft animals and or draft equipment for work or pleasure in Montana. Kai’s induction into the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame is based on his outstanding record that exceeds this selection standard. His work is all the more important as it is an integral part of the National Park Service Mission of teaching and preservation.
Presentation of Kai’s award was during the Grand Entry of the 2016 Draft Horse Expo held at the Powell County Fairgrounds at Deer Lodge. The Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by the Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association and Big Sky Draft Horse Expo.
2014 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Ed Fryer - White Sulphur Springs
Many members of the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame attribute their fathers as mentors who taught them their early teamster skills. Ed is no exception. His father grew up in Iowa during the era when mules were used for farming. One of the many things Ed remembers his dad told hime was "Most problems with teams are the people problems rather than horse problems". This statement was made long before this concept became the mantra of modern horsemanship.
Ed's father was a professional predator trapper and hunter. This caused Ed to gain early exposure to detailed animal behavior. Travelling with his father allowed Ed to observe many differences in how people handled animals, and how stock responded to handling.
Ed's work began with cowboy work on large remote ranches. This meant working with young horses, and often with teams. As his skills progressed he became a supervisor, and then a ranch manager. As a manager he found there was always financial pressure which leads to an emphasis on the operating efficiency, ie "doing more for less". As a result of that need for efficiency he has always included horse teams as a major part of the operations.
Over the years Ed has trained many young horses, and taught several young employees to drive teams and 4-up hitches. This is also true at Castle Mountain Ranch where two 4-up teams and two 2-horse teams are used to feed more than 300 tons of hay annually. Ed's attention to details of collar, harness fitting and repair, shoeing, handling, and driving horses make him an excellent teacher and mentor to those young people interested in using horses for ranching. Ed is commended for educating others while fostering and preserving the use of draft horses.
2013 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
McIntosh Ranch – Avon
How is it that a cattle ranch which still stacks loose hay can survive for more than a century while many others that use the latest technology to bale and feed hay do not? This not a trivial question, and there is not a simple answer. Part of the answer, according to William “Bill” McIntosh, III is based on a family that has “respected and admired tradition of which draft horses have a big part”.
W.L. and Harriet (Davis) McIntosh moved on to the ranch on Three Mile Creek north of Avon in 1910. Brothers Jefferson (Harriet’s father) and Jim Davis also homesteaded on Three Mile Creek and these homesteads are also part of the ranch.
For more than 30 years sheep, cattle, and horses were raised. Area ranchers imported a Percheron Stud named Tonkin. W.L. used Tonkin to breed to grade mares to obtain plenty of ½ bred Percherons for haying, hauling, feeding, timber skidding, and riding. The ranch was expanded during these years with the addition of mining claims, railroad land, and neighboring properties.
Just as the ranch enlarged so did the McIntosh Family. W.L. and Harriet had two girls, Olive and Ida, and one son William L. Jr. who stayed on the ranch. William Jr. married Alice Cunliffe who was teaching at the Three Mile Creek School. Over the years, the ranch continued to raise horses and used a Belgian stud named Harry, followed by a Shire stud named Rex. In 1977 William Jr. purchased a Percheron colt stud and two mares in Saskatchewan. Once again the ranch was raising Percherons.
In the early 1940s, World War II made it impossible to hire enough help to continue with sheep. In 1948 the first mowing tractor was purchased, and prior to that time all haying was done with horses. Mechanized haying slowly occurred over time as horse–drawn bull rakes were used until the mid-1960s, and horse drawn dump rakes until the late 1980s. By then it had finally become too difficult to find enough people who were willing or capable of driving horses.
The present day McIntosh ranch is operated by William III, (son of William Jr. and Alice), and wife Jill (Stucky) and their 3 children. (Sons Gib and wife Haven, William L., IV “Lou” and wife Bobbi, and daughter Heather). They operate it much the same as their predecessors. This cow/calf yearling operation runs 800+ head of livestock. Only a portion of the haying cycle is mechanized. All hay is still put up loose, using a beaver slide. Feeding still uses horse drawn sleds and wagons, and cow work is on horseback. Besides feeding, horses are at times used for timbering and manure spreading. Wedding parties, parades, sleigh rides have been added to the list of uses.
Bill notes that “just going for a ride behind a good team” is still part of the McIntosh Ranch family tradition, one that has lasted more than a century. The McIntosh Ranch epitomizes the values celebrated by the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.
Adam “Addie” Funk * (1912-1990)—Kalispell
Although there are many different occupations in this world, they all have one thing in common. There are always those few individuals that have skills that seem to magical. No matter the endeavor, they are the people that others turn to for help in difficult situations, to solving problems or find clever methods of getting a task completed.
The occupation of draft teamster is no different and the late Adam “Addie” Funk was one of those whose skills with draft animals were
so exceptional that Addie can be classified as a mentor’s mentor. Hall of Fame member Doug Hammill says of Addie: “I’ve never known
anyone who had more knowledge, ability, skill, and attention to detail and safety with horses than Addie Funk, nor have I ever known a
Addie started driving and farming with horses with his father as a very young boy. By age 9 he was sent by himself to harrow a field with
four head of horses on a tandem disk. Addie alsotold the story that one time he was sent to harrow a field for a neighbor. While
walking---in the dust--- behind the harrow, a loose horse that had been grazing in the field began to steadily walk along side Addie while he was harrowing. Without any halter or rope, Addie decided to climb on the horse. He placed the team lines on each side of the horse, and continued to harrow. It worked well, and everyday thereafter Addie rode the horse until the field was finished. Addie stated: “That was the last time I ever walked behind a harrow down in the dust”. This story illustrates that Addie was one of those teamsters with seemingly magical skill and understanding.
Addie Funk worked 31 years as a seasonal packer with the U.S. Forest service. His teamster skills were also used to drive two and four
mule teams to grade, harrow, and roll backcountry air strips, haul firewood, and skid logs for lookout towers and bridges. During the
off-season he either farmed or worked horses. Winter activities included feeding cattle, logging, hauling hay, and harvesting lake ice for
Great Northern refrigeration cars. If Addie was faced with a task that required more manpower, he would figure how to do it with drafts.
Yes, there were many skilled teamsters in the past, but many were unable to teach others. Fortunately, Addie was also a good teacher and
was willing to help others. In later years he lived in town and did not have a team. Instead he seemed to know who was working horses, and make timely visits. He was able to continue being with horses and was able to help when needed. Addie also helped with formal courses at Flathead Valley Community College. Teaching teamsters, as well as horses, were also skills he possessed in abundance. It is a pleasure to have Montana native Adam “Addie” Funk inducted to the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.
2012 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Jim and Donna (Reimere) Norgaard—Roy
The lives of Jim and Donna intersected in Montana and they have teamed to make significant contributions to the world of draft horses and mules. Jim Norgaard started driving and training Percheron horses in Minnesota some 40 years ago. He sought out experienced teamsters to teach him and he challenged himself to drive hitches from singles through eight-ups including tandem and unicorn. But showing in hitch classes at fairs was only a part of his passion for driving. He also enjoyed farming and logging with his teams.
Jim moved to Montana about 1970 and started an outfitting business where he used mules for packing. He still enjoyed driving and again associated himself with area teamsters. He also restored and used horse drawn wagons and equipment for haying and farming. Donna was born into the horse world in Maryland and eventually trained race horses. When she lost her husband to cancer she decided a pack trip in Montana would be good therapy. She found Jim’s outfitting business and signed up for not one, but three trips over two years. She amazed her family and friends, when she sold her house and racehorse business and moved to Roy in 1992. Her Montana adventures introduced her to mules, and her driving mentor Jim and their lives would forever change.
Donna is a determined competitor. By 1999 she was winning hitch classes with her mules. In 2000 and 2001 she won back-to-back “World Champion” driver awards at Bishop Mule Days. Of course, she did it with Jim, her mentor, coach, and helper. She has also competed in combined driving.
For the past 20 years Jim and Donna have spent their lives in dedication to harness animals. They have trained horses and mules to drive, provided many driving clinics at their ranch as well as throughout Montana. Montana is lucky to have the Norgaards helping to improve skills of those interested in draft animals. They are deserving of membership in the Hall of Fame.
Doug “Doc” Hammill, DVM—Eureka
Unlike many Hall of Fame recipients, Doug Hammill did not grow up on a farm or ranch. However, he became fascinated with horses at a young age. He especially had a passion for horses pulling wagons. Soon he was making a make shift harness and hitching a goat to a wagon.
The Hammill’s lived on the edge of town, and it was not long before Doug successfully lobbied his parents into acquiring a pony. It was not long before the pony was also hitched to a wagon. This fascination led to his career as a veterinarian when one day the vet was called to treat a horse. The die was cast when Doug learned that a person could make his living traveling around to treat other people’s animals. He would become a vet.
After graduating, Doug moved to Montana to begin his veterinary work. It was not long before “Doc” was persuaded to take a team of Clydesdales. This led to owning, breeding, training, and farming with draft horses. When he retired from his vet practice, he operated a carriage and sleigh business for ten years at Big Mountain. During this time, he was mentored by expert teamsters Addy Funk and Tom Triplett.
Ever the student and teacher, Doug continued to read, study, and learn while using draft horses and mules. His analytical mind helped him understand animal behavior and to develop and teach what he terms “gentle horsemanship”. Over the past 20 years he has contributed over 100 articles to the Small Farmers Journal and other publications covering virtually every aspect of owning and using driving horses and mules. He has conducted hundreds of hands-on workshops at his home place and throughout the U.S. Doc has also developed 20 hours of instructional videos covering fundamentals of training, harnessing, and working draft horses and mules. A major emphasis of his teaching and writing has always been on safety of animals and teamsters.
It is indeed fortunate for the draft horse world in general, and Montana in particular, that Doug Hammill chose to teach, and to improve the skills of teamsters using gentle horsemanship. Dr. Doug Hammill is certainly a deserving member of the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.
Rusty* and Margaret Hebel—Dillon
The late Rusty Hebel was born in Bozeman in 1960 to a family steeped in the use of draft horses. His father, Hall of Fame member Rollie, is well known for his strawberry roan Belgians. Rusty began learning about draft horses at an early age. When he was 16 he accompanied Rollie on part of the 1976 Bicentennial Wagon Train. By 1985, Rusty drove 3600 miles on the Texas Sesquicentennial Wagon Train while in charge of 30 Belgian mares, 14 saddle horses, and 14 troubled boys. His draft horse experience and learning continued while driving the Coors Belgian hitch throughout the U.S.
After working with some top teamsters Rusty decided to return home to Montana where he eventually met his wife Margaret. Margaret (Armitage) Hebel grew up on a cattle ranch south of Ennis where her family raised cattle and horses. She showed horses, participated in 4-H, joined riding groups, and took horse management classes at Montana State University where she earned her degree in education.
Rusty and Margaret were married in 1990, forming a partnership centered on raising, showing draft horses, and educating others. Rusty’s draft horse experience, together with Margaret’s abilities to organize and teach were complementary skills. Rusty and Margaret taught many teamsters how to care for, train, drive and show draft horses. They organized 4-H driving clinics and co-authored the Montana 4-H Driving Program. After teaching many clinics Rusty noticed that women were shy about asking questions when men were in the class. When asked why, Margaret noted that as long as men were in the classes, women were intimidated. Thus they began teaching “Ladies Only” driving clinics with great success. Their team work has led to them develop a driving course at University of Montana-Western at Dillon.
Rusty and Margaret Hebel are indeed worthy of induction for their dedication to breeding, showing, and driving draft horses, as well as teaching others the necessary skills required to become safe teamsters.
2011 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Roger* and Viola* Reinhardt--Hinsdale
Roger and Vi believed every farm should uses horses. Roger’s favorite saying was “Every farm and ranch should have a team”.
For 15 years they hosted Draft Horse Days at their Hinsdale ranch, inviting other teamsters to help with the threshing and other farm
work. The public was invited to watch the process and to remember and reminisce.
Both Roger and Vi drove horses, and during haying Vi did much of the raking while Roger mowed. Of course they feed their cows
using the team, and did many other farming tasks such as threshing, plowing, harrowing, and manure spreading. Roger was born in Gilmington, WI on May 12, 1930. He came to Montana in 1947 using his experience with horses where he started working on ranches. Viola (Russell) was born in Glasgow, MT on February 28, 1931. Roger and Vi married in 1951 and began married life working on various ranches. They first purchased an irrigated ranch near Ronan, and then in sold it in 1963 and then purchased their ranch near Hinsdale.
In addition to raising cattle, sheep, hay and grain, they raised Percheron Draft Horses and Roger would break and at least one team each year. He also helped others with “horse problems”. Roger also operated a harness and buggy shop on the ranch as Roger taught himself to make and repair wagon and buggy wheels, build and mend harness, and repair horse drawn equipment. It was often said that Roger was born 100 years too late. He always used horses, even when it would have been easier or faster to use a tractor.
A team for life, Roger and Viola Reinhardt greatly contributed to the education of others, and to the preservation and use of draft horses. Viola passed away in 1987, and Roger followed her in 2007.
Conrad K. Warren* - Deer Lodge
It is fitting that the home of the Teamster Hall of Fame is located at the historic Grant-Kohrs Ranch in Deer Lodge. Even
more special is the Hall of Fame induction of Conrad Warren as it was through Con’s stewardship that a portion of the
pioneer ranch that his grandfather Conrad Kohrs, and his grand-uncle John Bielenberg started remains under the care of the
National Park Service as a tribute to the pioneer ranching industry.
Originally the CK Ranch, it now continues to educate the public about pioneer ranch life. Working and breeding draft horses
were an important part of ranch operations. Conrad’s daughter, Patricia, states: "While my father was best known for
achievements as a cattle rancher, his great love—and possibly his biggest impact on American ranching—was the draft horse. "
As a kid, in the early 1900s, Con Warren did his draft-horse apprenticeship by hanging around with his grandfather Conrad Kohrs and his grand-Uncle John Bielenberg, learning from the two old pioneers….. Draft horses were used on the ranch until the 1970s. While in the early years the ranch featured Clydesdales, Con’s choice was the Belgian and he collected good animals, many of which he imported from Europe. Long time Park Service Historian and author Lyndel Meikle has this to say about Conrad: "Conrad Kohrs was a rancher to the bone, and if, at times, he seemed to think more of his horses and cattle than the generality of people that was no flaw. It wasn’t that he cared for people less. It was just that he cared for animals more."
He shared his love of the horses with the local FFA, and passed on knowledge and skills to the boys worked the hay crews. Conrad Kohrs Warren was born in Butte, MT on August 16, 1907. He died on March 20, 1993. Today Montana teamsters are able to hitch their teams to mowers and rakes during Grant-Kohrs haying days. A special treat is to drive the buck rake bringing big loads of hay to the beaver slide stacker, just as it was done during the draft horse era. In that sense, Conrad Warren and his pioneer teachers are still working with teamsters to pass on draft horse skills.
2010 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Howard Lee - Forsyth
Howard, born in 1913, has lived his whole life on farms and ranches. By age 10 he recalls driving 8 horses on a triple plow. During his school years he drove his sisters and brother to school in a buggy or sleigh having to get up early to feed, harness, and hitch the team. His first job was driving a 4 horse hitch on a fresno dump bucket in a blazing hot gravel pit. He worked there all day long all summer even as horses had to be changed every 2 hours because of the heat.
Howard continued working horses even after tractors became popular. During the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s he tilled, planted, and harvested with horses. In the winter teams were used for feeding cattle.
In later years, he developed an interest in building and restoring horse drawn wagons, and continued to train teams for harness. In 1989 he and his wife restored an original Central Overland Stage coach. He pulled this coach with four horses in the 1989 Centennial Cattle Drive from Roundup to Billings.
Howard Lee's passion for driving teams and his love of draft horses has never ended. He has helped educate many teamsters, and has certainly preserved the use of draft horses for work and pleasure.
Mike Myhre -
Like many Hall of Fame members, Mike Myhre began working horses while growing up on a farm. By age 13 he was putting up with horses. The use of horses became a way of life for Mike. His policy is to use horses for anything and everything he possibly can including farming, dragging game for hunters, grading roads, and separating grain. He uses his horses in parades, teamster competitions, funerals, weddings, and wagon trains.
Mike is an educator as well, teaching young people at driving clinics for 4-H. Teaching his two grandsons to drive led to their getting jobs as teamsters in Yellowstone National Park.
Mike is also a builder, making horse drawn round bale feeders, and collects and preserves old horse drawn equipment. He also raises and trains Brabant Belgians.
Mike Myhre is highly qualified to be honored as a member of the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.
2009 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Tom Triplett - Whitefish, Montana
Tom Triplett comes from a family of horsemen, dating back to the days when Tripletts were
friends and neighbors of George Washington, and his ancestors took Washington's guests fox
hunting and did the future president's carpentry work.
His parents moved from Missouri to Oklahoma in horse drawn wagons before his birth, then
back to Missouri and later on to Montana.Four years before Tom was born they moved in
wagons from Plentywood Montana to the Flathead Valley, west of the Continental Divide.
For Tom, horsepower was the only source of transportation and power into his early adult years. He logged with horses, worked mules
in the forest service grading landing strips, skidding poles, putting up hay and more. Through his years of draft horse and mule work, he
developed the depth and breadth of expertise and experience that can only come from daily hands on work- privately and professionally. [Tom Triplett] His knowledge of the horse was clearly stated when one of his nominators into the Hall of Fame explained, "as a horseman, Tom Triplett may not be able to walk on water, so to speak, but he could sure enough get a horse or a mule to do it." Triplett's depth of knowledge, experience and patience, his commitment to safety and the comfort and the well being of the animals, and his obsession with figuring how to get everything "jeeest right"- which all combined, puts him in a class of his own among horsemen, said those who nominated him for this honor.
Tom has taught and helped innumerable people to drive and work horses, build and repair harnesses, as well as rebuild wagons and equipment. As an expert in his field, he has helped teach a teamster course at Flathead Valley Community College, and participated as an instructor in Doc Hammill's Workhorse Workshops for the last decade. He has also shared his wisdom in Hammill's instructional Horsemanship Video series on driving and working horses in harness.
Tom Triplett is a true Montana treasure who has spent his entire life earning a living by training, shoeing, packing, riding and driving horses and mules. Even now in his eighties he continues to help those with an interest in horses and mules with sage advice, driving instruction, training assistance, and entertaining stories that always have an important message, safety point, or handy tip for consideration. For his dedication, we induct him into the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame for 2009.Conrad Kohrs Warren was born in Butte, MT on August 16, 1907. He died on March 20, 1993.
Rollie Hebel - McAllister, Montana
Rollie Hebel has been living and breathing draft horse culture practically from the day he was born. Hebel, born in 1932, grew up on
a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin as the second oldest in a family of four boys and three girls. He learned the tricks of the trade
from his father and grandfather, spurring a love of the draft horse that would develop throughout his life.
Rollie came to Montana in 1948 and "cowboyed" for ten years at the Diamond O Ranch near Dillon and later, in 1960, settled in and
went to ranching. His breeding of specifically red roan Belgians was not planned- little thought went into his color choice, besides
the fact that he liked their color and no one else had them when he purchased two mares from Zavan Green of Firth, Idaho in 1970.
Hebel first showed his Belgians at the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot in 1971 and has showed continuously since- missing
the fair only twice for the Bicentennial Wagon Train in 1976 and the Montana Cattle Drive in 1989. By the early 1980s Hebel's herd
of red roans had grown to 22, with all home raised except the original pair.
Rollie is a registered judge with the Belgian Draft Horse Association and has judged numerous shows in the intermountain region. In addition to raising red roan Belgians and campaigning his hitch, he has served the draft and driving community by helping others with their hitches. Always concerned about safety, when Rollie gently but firmly growls about a twisted line or makes a suggestion of a better way to do things- we listen. He is an undisputed- and at the same time, modest- master when it comes to hitching and driving.
According to those who nominated him for the Hall of Fame, Rollie vowed to "slow down a little" at the dawn of the 21st century. He continues, however, to judge draft shows throughout the Northwest, including the Montana State Fair, the Montana Fair, the Ravalli County Fair, and the Eastern Idaho State Fair, among others. Rollie, as many will attest, is one of the rare draft judges who instills a desire in those he judges to do their best by encouragement, not intimidation- the sign of a knowledgeable master of his trade. Rollie has taken first place at the Eastern Idaho State Fair, Montana Mule Days, and most recently, last year's 2007 Big Sky Draft Horse Expo- all while driving the Eden 4-abreast hitch.
For a lifetime selflessly dedicated to the art and science of driving draft animals, we induct Rollie Hebel into the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.
Allan Lien* - Bozeman, Montana
Allan Lien grew up farming and feeding livestockwith a team in the West Rosebud Valley
of Stillwater County. Today, along with his wife Connie, at their historical Huffine Farm
near Bozeman, he continues the draft traditions by educating, demonstrating and
utilizing his team of horses to farm and feed in the winter, entertain friends with sleigh
rides and he previously taught interestedindividuals the ways of the past at the Museum
of the Rockies Tinsley Living Farm.As his brother, Raymond Lien put it, "Allan has
recognized the value of sharing this knowledge with people in today's society, especially young people. Throughout his career with
Montana State University and residence in Gallatin Valley, Allan has invested many hours and days in preparation for and participation in the Montana Winter Fair, Draft Horse and Draft Implement Sales, Teamster Competitions, displays of farm equipment and animals during the WinterFest, 4-H and school programs, Gallatin Harness and Saddle Club, Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association, Montana Big Sky Draft Horse Expo, Living History Tinsley Farm at the Museum of the Rockies, and participation with the living history program at the Grant-Kohrs historical ranch."
Allan's work with youth at the Museum of the Rockies has been a high point for many students and adults, whom he touched with his passionate demonstrations including the use of draft horses to move the wagon loads of bundles, preparing soil, harvesting forages and other works that brought back memories for some about the early days of agriculture in our state. He has continually felt the importance of showing others how it was done in the old days before the tractor came into being.
Allan has dedicated his life and time to his personal goal of preserving and teaching people about agriculture- draft horse technique and tradition included. He understands and educates people on the horse and its integral part of farming and ranching activities, bringing those interested individuals back to a more simplistic time period where a horse was only as good as it was trained to be. Due to his respect, dedication and education of the others in the field of the draft horse and equipment, we induct Allan Lien in the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame for 2009.
2008 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame
Carroll Manuel - Winnett, Montana
Carroll Manuel began driving a stacker team for Jack Dunphy when he was 8 years old. Today, at 87, he owns and works the
Dunphy property and continues to use teams to put up hay and raise feed for his stock. Manuel broke horses for use, raised draft
horses, built stock water reservoirs for stock water and showed for decades at driving competitions and fairs. One of his favorite
memories of driving are helping get new drivers settled in and starting out the right way. Manuel, before his retirement from driving
this year, ran wagon trains- bringing in participants from all over the U.S. and Canada- each with their own wagon and mules in tow.
After a teaching session on the basics of driving a team participants feel part of a unique experience and comfortable in driving their wagon.
Earl Stucky - Avon, Montana
Born in 1934, Earl Stucky was raised on his family ranch along the Gallatin River near Gallatin Gateway, driving teams to help with haying
and other chores. Upon his marriage to Glenna Krueger in 1954 he purchased his family ranch from his parents, where he lived until the
mid-sixties; he then took a job as the cow boss for the Flying D Ranch, near Bozeman. Work horses were used to feed the thousands of
cattle on the ranch and Stucky was always on hand, riding his horse out to where the days' work was, instead of loading into a trailer. In
1976 Stucky and his family moved 14 miles north of Avon, purchased a team- Pat and Mike- and have been there for over 30 years. They
continue to own and use draft horses at their ranch to this day. Many Percheron horses have been raised and broke by Stucky throughout
the years on his ranch, using the horses for ranch work, parades, and pleasure- including winter sleigh rides treasured by his family.
Jake Frank *- Park City, Montana
For Jake Frank, growing up fast was the way of life. The youngest of ten children, his dad dying before the age of 4, Frank and his older
brothers took on the ranch responsibilities- he driving a team all day long in the fields before the age of twelve. At 93, Frank has been able
to instill the skills of horsemanship and hard work into his children- teaching them how to work the animals and to respect each one for its
uniqueness. Competing in the teamster driving contests later in life, after a successful stint as a rodeo performer and a top-notch pick-up
man, he was always confident in his horses ability. As many can attest to, Frank could get his mules to do anything he needed them to
do- leading his to win the Montana high-pint teamster award several times. He taught his children to drive and helped many more get
started in teamster driving. Even after selling a team, he devoted many hours teaching the new owners how to drive them correctly.
Previously inducted Hall of Fame members are (* Deceased):
*GEORGE MILLER – ABSAROKEE, KENT AND MARY LOU CONN0R – CORVALLIS, DON YERIAN –EMIGRANT, DON COUTTS - RED LODGE, *JOHN MCILHATTAN – BOZEMAN, *FORREST DAVIS – PABLO, ALEX AND KAYO FRASER—DEER LODGE, JACK AND HELEN EDEN—HAMILTON, CHARLIE YERIAN—CORVALLIS,
Additional information and photos of Hall of Fame members are on display at the NPS Grant-Kohrs Ranch in Deer Lodge.
For questions about the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame (including nominations), please contact Nick Shrauger, 406-586-5113.
Dedicated to Promoting and Preserving Draft Animals in Montana