Ray Easterday and brother Lavern
Ray Easterday and brother Lavern
WINNEMUCCA — Three Buckaroos were honored Sept. 4, at the East Hall Winnemucca Convention Center. Ray R. Easterday, Frank Maher, and Brian Morris all worked on ranches around The Great Basin area.

Ray R. Easterday

Ray was born in Eustis, Nebraska in 1930 to Alvin and Mary Easterday. He always wanted to go west and be a cowboy. 

In his early years growing up around horses and cattle on his parents’ place caring for the animals. 

He would break horses for his brothers, gentle down horses for his uncles and enter rodeos in the area. 

He got good at riding bucking horses and made some money, but he decided to go west to be a ranch cowboy. Ray began his trip west right after graduating from high school in 1948. 

He helped his brothers, Donald and Lenard move to Buhl, Idaho. He was in charge of watering and feeding the livestock, milk cows and chickens as they traveled by railroad to Idaho from Nebraska. 

It took five days and he was covered in black soot when he stepped down from the train...he’d made it out west.

He then headed to southern Oregon, where his brother Melvin lived at Rome, Oregon near the Owyhee River. 

Ray took a job with the Calzacorta Ranch during the cold winter of 1948-49. That spring the calf branding crews introduced him to Walter Bowden, who he credits with teaching him the art of being a cowboy.

Ray was left-handed so had to learn quickly how to rope right-handed, he rode the rough string horses and more importantly learned laws of the land to manage livestock in the desert ranch environment. Bowden owned the Rattlesnake Ranch south of Rome.

On days off the hired men would head to Jordan Valley which was the the nearest town.  Ray met David Loveland on one of those trips to town. 

David told Ray that he had a sister he wanted him to meet. Lova Loveland and Ray were married in !951. 

Evelyn Loveland, Ray’s mother-in- law gave him the nickname “The Nebraska Kid”. That same year Ray was drafted by the army serving two years with one year in Korea.

After the stint in the army Ray and Lova together with Ray’s brother purchased the Vance Ranch near McDermitt, Nevada from Walter and Agnus Bowden in 1957.

There were several years of drought they expanded their cattle operation, purchasing a alfalfa ranch close to the Owyhee River at Rome, OR.

Ray And his family lived there for fourteen years. They could raise 500 tons of alfalfa hay each year and produced corn for silage. 

They would drive the cattle by horseback 75 miles from Vance Ranch to Rome for the winter and trail them back to McDermitt in the spring. 

Ray and Lavern split their partnership in 1970 but still ran their cattle together on the range near McDermitt in the spring and summer.

In 1977, Ray and his son, Steve and Mike Secrest owned and operated the Cady Auto Company in Hagerman Idaho. They hauled cattle and sheep across a large part of the western United States.

He leased out his ranch in Rome and moved his Crown Cattle Co. to Hagerman, Idaho in the 1980’s. Ray and Lova had four children, JoAnn, Steve, Monte and Teresa. Ray still runs a smaller herd of cattle near Fairfield, Idaho with his daughter Teresa and husband Lou helping him out.

Ray has always been a spokesman for the ranching and livestock industries. In 1999, Ray and Lova were honored by the Southern Idaho Livestock Industry and the Idaho Wool Growers for their years of service.

Ray has always enjoyed working with horses from his early years in Nebraska and riding rank horses in the Oregon desert to more refined cow horses of today. To Ray, a well trained horse was a joy.

Frank Maher

Francis (Frank) Ambrose Maher was born November 11, 1917 in Boise, Idaho, the first of six children born to Ambrose and Ethel Welch Maher. 

He grew up on their ranch at Cliffs, Idaho about 35 miles south of Jordan Valley, Oregon. He rode horseback to the one room school near there. the kids from the area attended school in the summer because of the severe winters. They had one teacher for all eight grades.

When Frank was a teenager, he worked for his dad and his uncle Bill Maher. They were partners on several ranches and had some holdings at Three Forks on the Owyhee River, where they wintered some of their cattle and also on the desert west of Three Forks. Frank finished high school in Jordan Valley, graduating in 1936.

He met Louise Panzeri, daughter of Italian emigrants and they were married in 1938 at Nampa, Idaho. Their first home was at the Brewster Ranch near Cliffs, Idaho. 

In the fall of 1941 they bought the Clyde Foster place at Juniper Creek on the west slope of South Mountain. 

The winters were harsh in that country, cold and lots of snow. During the winter of 1951-1952 Frank used an International crawler tractor to pull sleds loaded with cottonseed through the deep snow for his neighbors to feed their livestock. Frank was tough and could stand a lot of cold. He never wore a winter cap.

By then Frank had four children, Charley, Anita, Irene and Tony. They sold the ranch in 1954 but continued ranching in the Jordan Valley country until 1955. 

Then they moved to Homedale, Idaho, and became associated with Baldwin Brown and Ed and Elise Brown. Their cattle would winter at Jump Creek. In the spring Frank would trail the cattle to Strodes Basin, a one-day trip west of Homedale.

The last part of June Frank would trail the cattle to Indian Meadows on South Mountain S.E. of Jordan Valley, a nine-day trip.  With the help of their four children, Louise cooking and moving camp each day, they moved the 500 head cow herd to their summer grazing.

In 1963, George Johnstone sold his sheep and bought some cows. Frank took care of George’s cattle along with his own and the Browns’ cattle. 

There were so many fences being built in the 1960’s they had to haul the cattle to the mountain range as it was almost impossible to get a permit to trail them.

Frank was a good roper, he always packed a six strand riata on his saddle that he braided himself. He braided his own rawhide tack including quirts and bosals until his hands got to where he couldn’t braid the rawhide anymore. 

He would always say he “never worked with anyone he couldn’t learn something from”. Frank said he learned a lot from from his father Ambrose and his uncle Bill who were both excellent ropers. There were many others he praised for helping him become a good rider and roper including; Albert, Ike, Charlie and Billy Loveland. Virgil Horn, Frank Loranzana, Frank Baltzor, Jim and Tim Mills, and Conelly Davis. Frank liked running horses and it was one his favorite things to do.In 1972, Frank and Louise moved to Dixie Community near Caldwell, Idaho to a property they had purchase earlier in 1965. He worked at most of the sale yards in the Treasure Valley sorting cattle, the last being the Nampa Livestock Auction.  

Frank retired in 1990 and sold the rest of his cattle due to his failing health. He enjoyed going to brandings as long as his health permitted it. He would say “you’d think there was something wrong with you to be out there following cows in all kinds of weather...  but hell in nice weather I wouldn’t trade jobs with the President”.  

He was made an honorary member of the Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association in 1988.  Frank served as president of that group previously in 1958. He was also a charter member of the Owyhee County Rodeo Board, a member of the Owyhee County Sheriff’s Posse. He and Louise belonged to various square dance and round dance clubs. 

In 1991, Frank was proud to be honored with the “Million Miles In The Saddle” award by the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association. He said “ It makes me feel pretty humble...it’s quite an honor, I will tell you that.” 

Some advice he gave his son, “Don’t brag on yourself, because someday you just might have to prove it.”

Brian Morris   

Brian was born May 15, 1940 at his parents’ ranch in Indian Valley, Idaho. He was the third child born to Nate and Edith Morris. 

He grew up on the ranch and was raised around cattle and horses from the start. He attended school in Indian Valley for eight years. Then he rode the school bus to Cambridge, Idaho to attend high school. He graduated in from there in May,1958.

After graduating he went to work for the Forest Service in Council, Idaho and worked there for one year. Then he went to Jordan Valley, Oregon to work with his brother Jack who was working for Curly Lodge at the Cow Lakes Ranch. He stayed there for a couple of years and then went to Paradise Valley, Nevada to work for the Circle A Ranch. The Circle A was owned by Frank McLeary. Ray Winter’s was the cow boss and Frank Loveland was the general manager. 

While at the Circle A, Brian worked with Glen Walcot, Sharkey Hunt, Lopey Heller and a lot of other good hands. He stayed at the Circle A until McLeary sold out, then went back home to Idaho to help his father build some corrals and a barn. When that was all done he went back to the Circle A to work for Lopey Heller who was the buckaroo boss.

The first of the year 1964, Brian took a job as buckaroo boss for Stanley Ellison at the Squaw Valley Ranch, near Midas, Nevada. He was there until the following November when he suffered a broken leg after being kicked by a horse. He was laid up for awhile until his leg healed, then went to work for Evert Jones at the 25 Ranch out of Battle Mountain, Nevada.

He stayed there until the fall of 1967, he was the buckaroo wagon boss at the time. Then went back to the Circle A outfit to work when Las Mendieta was the buckaroo boss. Mendieta left and Brian  took over as the buckaroo boss. He stayed at the Circle A until the fall of 1972, then moved back to Jordan Valley to work at the C Ranch near Juniper Mountain for a few years.

Next, he went to Fort Klamath, Oregon to work for Bill Owens for one year. After that he went over to Evan Carlin’s ranch nearby to work for awhile. Brian made a decided to work for the BLM gathering wild horses off the ZX Ranch ranges near Paisely, Oregon. The next year, in the fall of 1977, he worked for the BLM again, gathering horse off of the MC Ranch ranges near Adel Oregon. After that he worked helping John Rattray gather horses off the Sheldon Refuge at Virgin Valley. Then back to the BLM horse gathering crew, gathering horses at Palomino Valley, near Reno, Nevada. They also gathered horses all over Nevada and burros at Death Valley and Panimint Valley.

Brian was a good hand with a horse, good around cattle and an excellent roper. He learned to braid rawhide and later on, taught several younger hands the basics of rawhide braiding. After a bad horse wreck hurt his back, Brian pretty much retired from riding jobs. He moved to Denio, Nevada and day worked some and braided rawhide. He worked as a buckaroo wagon cook for the YP ranch for couple of springs and cooked for the Ellison Ranch buckaroo wagon as well.

Brian passed away at his home in Denio, Nevada on March 25, 2005