Cowboy – What does the word conjure up? Is it fancy boots, a perfectly shaped hat, a well-broke horse? Or is it more? This series is dedicated to some of the men and women of the Bear River Valley who have embraced the cowboy culture and made it their way of life, and oft times their livelihood.
Ty Reeder comes from a long line of cowboys. His great-great-grandfather, David Reeder, a handcart pioneer, was called as a missionary to Promontory for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and told to ride herd on the “community cattle” pastured there. That call made him possibly one of the first official wranglers in Box Elder County.
Subsequent generations of the Reeder family have also been tied to the cattle business. Today Ty’s father, Bret, operates Reeder Ranch in Corinne, raising beef and ranch horses. It was Bret who helped fan the cowboy flame in his oldest son.
“From the time I was potty-trained, my dad took me with him everywhere he went,” Ty remembered. Those trips meant heading to neighboring ranches to help with “cow work” or going to rodeos around the country, where Bret competed in both the bareback and bullriding events.
“Since I was four years old, all I ever wanted to do was be a cowboy,” Ty said and that included the hard work that seemed to go along with the title. “I never didn’t want to do it, but it wasn’t easy.”
Bret, who sports an impressive handlebar mustache reminiscent of the old days of the west, will be the first to admit he worked his children hard on the family ranch. “I needed the help,” he joked, but added that teaching them a good work ethic was equally important.
The hours spent horseback or working cattle, however, only cemented the fact that a cowboy life was exactly where the younger Reeder was headed. Oh, he tried a few “9 to 5” jobs, working with Utah Department of Transportation as a teen or putting in a six-month stint with Rocky Mountain Power, but his heart was never in it.
Nowadays Ty is more at home in the saddle than on the sofa. “If I didn’t have to work, this is what I’d like to be doing,” he said of cowboying and luckily, his current job allows both the lifestyle and the livelihood.
Ty is a ranch hand for the Rose of Snowville Ranches, located west of Snowville, where he oversees 1,200 head on close to 25,000 acres. His day is spent fencing in, doctoring and branding cattle. In the winter, the job often entails 16-hour days, trying to keep ahead of Mother Nature. In the spring it means being on horseback first thing in the morning, riding through the herd, checking on new calves, watching for potential problems or sorting the younger animals from the older ones.
For more on this story pick up a copy of this week’s Leader.