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Jobs on a Wyoming Cattle Ranch--Deanne Bradley

As told by Deanne Bradley
Big Piney, Wyoming

Story Narrative:

"Good afternoon. My name is Deanne Bradley. I am here to talk about my first job and kind of, just life in Sublette County. I was the first daughter of the fourth generation and I was a very wanted daughter. My siblings and cousins will tell you I was also the favorite and the most spoiled one. We were born ... I was born on a cattle ranch here again, the fourth generation. And my first job was to learn how to ride a pony so I could help hold herd and move cows and sit quietly when it was impossible to do.

Then when I graduated from that, I was old enough to help the cook in the cookhouse during haying and I got to bake the cookies and set the table and wash the dishes and wash the dishes, because we would have around 16-25 men and it seemed like it was a lot of work but it was fun. And we were ... I say it's fun now. At the time I didn't think I was a very well treated child because I was also not paid for this job. I just, part of my life on the ranch.

And then I finally ... My friends around started driving tractors and I was able to drive a tractor but they didn't trust me in the hayfield. So when they finally trusted me in the hayfield I also got a paycheck and it was not a very big paycheck, but it was a welcome paycheck. I became a raker. First a scatter raker and there's a lot of times you didn't drive around and dream and you're never where you're are supposed to be when you're supposed to be there and you hear about it. And you dump the rake and you dumped it in the wrong place and then the sweeper comes along and he sweeps it up. And you scattered it even worse. But, we survived that. I survived that. And I got a paycheck for that.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about being the raker. Not only did I ... For many years I was the scatter raker. Then I got to be on the main rake where you did the rows and the ... And anyway there were two of us and sometimes we got tangled up in each other's rakes. But it was still fun. I drove a little Farmall A to begin with, which is small. Doesn't go very fast and if it tipped over, it wasn't going to hurt me too bad.

So, then I graduated to a International Harvester. Also known as an IH. It was a bigger tractor and lot more warning. A lot more responsibility came with that tractor, but it was fun. And here again I was still raking. I never did get to go to any further than the rake. As far as doing other equipment in the field, until after I was married and heavenly days. Then you were, just when anybody else wanted to do it, you got to do it. But, back to the raking.

We had different ... Well, back to the hayfield, really. I want to talk about the different tractors that we had. We had the Farmall A, which was a small one. And it was a red one. And it putt-putted right along. And then we had a larger one, which is known International. It was faster. It was better and I think I already said this, it was more responsibility. Then the dream that I had was getting to drive the Allis-Chalmer, which was a tractor they had that put the head on for the sweeping. And they drove that thing backwards. But I never graduated to that. I just got to watch them.

And also the type of tractor you have goes in this area with what dealer there is in town. For years we had the International Harvester. Then the Allis-Chalmer dealer was in |LS|Pinedale 00:04:09|RS| And so then we went to Allis-Chalmer. And then there's a Lundell manufacturing out of Logan, Utah who came up and wanted to test drive, test his machinery in the hayfield. And my dad was great at doing that. But most of the time I stopped to watch that work. And it was always big and it was always dusty. And it was always two or three men from Logan came up. Young boys, nice looking boys and they would work on that Lundell machinery a lot.  Am I saying okay?

Speaker 2: You're doing good.

Deanne:  So and now that there are no after Allen equipment went out, there's no equipment to use in this area and so you have to go out of the county, which is kinda crazy. 

This story was collected in conjunction with the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program and its national traveling exhibition "The Way We Worked" when it was on view at the Sublette County Public Library in Pinedale, Wyoming, in 2018. This story is part of the "Be Here: Main Street" story collection, intended to capture Americans' stories about their neighborhoods, waterways, towns, traditions, and personal experiences.

Tags: BHS-Job-You-Had, BHS-Main-Street
‚ÄčAsset ID #7660

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