By Steve Moreland, October 30, 2017
It was Saturday afternoon of Old West Days in Valentine, Nebraska September 30th, 2017. My wife Carol and I had just stepped out of the school building to go downtown for a little while. We needed to run a couple errands and were planning to have supper before attending the evening performance, which would feature Red Steagull. Kenny Krogman had just exited from a different door, and he called to me, “Steve, come here, I have something for you.” I walked over to where he was standing, and he started to unbutton his shirt. “Now don’t get too turned on,” he grinned, as he pulled a paper wrapped object out from under his shirt. He said, “I consider you a good friend and would like you to have this.” He unwrapped a long rib bone from a cow that had been artistically wood-burned to look like a feather. The moment rather caught me by surprise, and to say the least, I was delighted.
The feather is truly a work of art, and had been handcrafted by Glen L. Janis. Even though this rib bone measures 15 inches long, and two inches wide, Kenny had been carrying it around under his shirt to give to me. I felt truly honored.
Just this past Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 my son Brock and I were traveling down a one-lane oil road in a pickup. We were talking about one of our other ranch pickups that was experiencing mechanical troubles, so I pulled off the road to call Tehrani Motors to get some advice. I was put on “hold” momentarily to wait for a mechanic to come to the phone, and the Valentine radio station KVSH was playing in the background. While I waited, the daily funeral report came on the air. The announcer said, “Funeral services for Kenny Krogman, age 70, of Wood, South Dakota will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the White River Event Center.” You could have knocked me over with the same feather that Kenny had just given me a little over three weeks before. The news hit rather hard. We found out later that he died from a heart attack, but he died with his boots on. Kenny was a fun-loving good-story-telling sort of guy, always with a big smile on his face. He truly loved life, and he will be very much missed.
Kenny Krogman was a nephew of Louie Krogman. Louie was born January 18th, 1902 and died December 6th, 1991. He was an old-time cowboy and rancher with a colorful history. He bought, sold, and raised a lot of horses through the years. My first recollection of Louie Krogman was in about 1960 or 1961, when I was eight or nine years old. In early April of one of those years, Louie called my dad Bob Moreland on the phone. This was a long-distance call, which was not a real common occurrence in those days. Louie was calling from White River, South Dakota to our ranch northeast of Merriman, Nebraska. He visited with my dad for a while and then got to the reason for his call. He said, “Bob, you raise some nice Hereford cattle. I know you have registered stock and always sell some good registered bulls. You also have some real nice commercial Herefords. I would like to buy your 20 best commercial bull calves, and take delivery at weaning time in the fall. I wanted to call you soon enough that you will be looking for the good ones as you are calving, and we sure don’t want them to mistakenly get castrated on branding day. I will give you a premium for them at weaning time of a nickel per pound over what you get for your steer calves.”
Dad was quite excited with this arrangement. The deal all went through as planned. I remember Louie and two of his brothers brought a truck down that next fall to pick up the calves. Somewhere in my dad’s photograph collection is a picture of Louie, his two brothers, and little old me standing next to these icons of pioneer ranching. I wish I could find it now. My desire was to someday show this picture to Louie’s nephew, Kenny Krogman, but now it is too late.
Kenny Krogman video