My Life by Mike Laughlin, Cowboy
I was born on the north side of a snow bank in North Dakota in the winter of the "big snow" - March 16, 1936.
My father took my pregnant mother in a team-drawn bobsled to Dickenson, ND and then on by car to Aberdeen, SD where her family lived and I was born. We never got back to the ranch until two months later.
I grew up on the ranch with cowboys and saddle bronc riders. Some of the best bronc riders in the US came out of ND at that time.
I joined the military when I was 18 years old and spent 2 1/2 years in North Africa during the Algerian Revolt trying to stay alive.
When I got out of the military I got married and hired on as a US Government trapper. I trapped predators that were killing ranchers' livestock. I left ND and trapped for the government in Arizona. While there, I attended Arizona State University on the GI Bill and obtained a degree in Wildlife Biology.
I transferred to Utah and supervised trappers there in the north of Utah while working on a master's degree.
I spent a few years in Bend, Oregon supervising trappers, hunting lions and coyotes horseback and from both fixed-wing and rotor-craft aircraft.
After a few years, I transferred to Elko, Nevada where I supervised trappers throughout the state and hunted lions horseback with hounds. We also used fixed-wing and rotor-craft aircraft. Our job description throughout was protecting livestock and human health and safety.
Then I transferred to Wyoming and ran their government trapper program statewide for several years then on to Montana doing the same work, ending up in Miles City where I retired after 31 years of government service.
In 1988, I hired on with Sombrero Ranches out of Colorado and spent 17 years with them handling over 2,000 head of horses. Might mention that in the same year I met my best partner, Lee Raine, and we have traveled together ever since.
We ran Sombrero's concession at Glacier Creek Stables in Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 years. In the fall of the year we rented hunting horses and guided for elk and deer hunters, and outfitted in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Western Colorado, out of Meeker, CO.
In between here, I worked for Russell Ranches out of Eureka, NV in the winter and spring of '92/'93, a really tough winter in Nevada. They represented 30,000 head of cattle on 20 million acres. And then for Silver State Ranches out of Warm Springs, NV, a real buckaroo outfit with a wagon.
Also have written for Western Horseman Magazine for probably 20+ years and represented the magazine throughout the west as well as writing articles for a number of other western publications.
In around 2002, I rolled up and took a job punching cows in Montana out of Miles City for CM Coffee Ranches, a Montana icon stockman. After two seasons there, we went to work for ourselves and bought a ranch in the Ruby Mountains of Northeastern Nevada. I also worked for Maggie Creek Ranches Lamoille Division for five years and dayworked for ranches in the Lamoille Valley while taking care of our ranch.
I presently take care of cattle in the Ruby Mountains in Elko County on a summer grazing permit and private ground and daywork for ranchers in the Lamoille Valley. In the winter, I work for livestock auction yards in Fallon, NV, pen riding and sorting cattle, as well as day working for ranchers in the Churchill County, Nevada area where we have a winter ranch.
I have stayed horseback all these years and have made a lot of horse tracks in mountains and canyons of the west and will continue horseback. I have the best string of saddle horses I ever had and the best partner I ever had. I am "living the dream" and life is good in my cowboy world!
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