This photograph was taken in either late 1977 or early 1978. While I was driving the team or standing out front snapping photos, the other guy was pitching hay and doing all the work. This is a habit I acquired early in life.
The man on top of the stack was Mike Paulick, who was a hired hand at Dad's ranch at the time.
The horses were from left to right: Rowdy, Bonnie, Rock, Rye, Babe, and Misty. The four inside horses were purchased from Buck Buckles in late August of 1977. He and his crew had that summer contracted the haying at the Star Ranch, south of Rushville. Tractors did the mowing, but horses were used for raking, sweeping, and pulling the loads up on the beaverslide stacker. Buck knew I was in the market for some work horses. He had quite a few younger horses coming on, so Rock, Rye, Babe, and Bonnie were for sale. They were all getting up in years, but still had some good left in them. The weigh-up market was pretty decent at the time, and he thought they would bring $500 apiece over the scales. He priced them to me for $600 apiece, and I was delighted at the chance to own these seasoned and gentle horses.
The day before I went to look, the horses had been trailed from the Star Ranch to corrals on Highway 27 south of Gordon. Buck and I took his pickup and four-horse stock trailer. Buck's son, Jerry, hauled down a wrangle horse in a smaller trailer. It was approximately a sixty mile drive by vehicle to these corrals. We left about daybreak, and by the time Buck and I arrived, Jerry was jingling in about 40 draft horses out of the pasture. This was quite a picturesque sight, and I kicked myself for not bringing along a camera.
Buck is always a great story-teller, and it was well worth purchasing the horses just for the adventure of the day. The four I bought all had Metzer's Half Diamond E brand on their shoulders, and had been used all their lives for either putting up hay or feeding it out. The Half Diamond E Ranch is south of Merriman, and is now owned by Chris Abbott.
Most of our conversation that day centered around the golden olden days of ranching, but one of the topics that did come up was the recent demise of Elvis Presley. Both of us came to the conclusion that even though Elvis was quite a hallmark in the music world, life as we knew it would probably go on.