Growing up in the Sand Hills without many trees for firewood, meant that he and his brother, Roy, and sisters Dorothy and Donna picked up dried cow pies or twisted hay to burn in the fire at night to keep warm. He rode a horse to a one room school house until he was in the 8th grade. He didnít have the privilege to attend high school. He stayed home to help run the ranch. His Grandfather gave him 10 cows for this sacrifice and that is how Ray got his start in the cattle business.
He spent many hours feeding, roping and doctoring cattle and became very handy with a lariat rope. He loved the sport of rodeo and competition and also rode a few cows at local ranch rodeos.
He was a pickup man for the Hollenbeck Rodeo contractor several times so that he could pay his calf roping entry fees. He calf roped for several years and also team roped when it became popular.
Ray won the Old Timers Team Roping two years in a row in Burwell, NE. At the age of 65 he still roped with his grandson Beau Jay and Granddaughters Shareen and Brenna. He won several family team roping competitions with son Bill and son-in-law Eddie Davis Both of his favorite horses were named Duke...and his Boston Terrier dog is named Duke today.
One of the most important lessons Ray taught his children was not to be wasteful. He told many times about the time when the drought of the 30ís left them without hay to feed the cattle and they had to pitch the hay off from the chicken house roof to feed the animals in one blizzard. Ray never sold extra hay because of those hard times and always said that having a stack yard of hay was insurance for bad times.
Ray and Wanda are semi retired today. Rayís ropes have all been hung up or passed down, along with his roping saddle. He is still a great supporter of rodeo and all sports. He spends much of his time grading and building roads on the ranch and fixing fence. He loves and enjoys his grandchildren and great grandchildren and loves to watch their participation and achievements in their life journey. He turned 80 years young in 2009 and still loves to visit and travel to all the local events. He hardly ever misses a cattle sale in Bassett or Atkinson. And just enjoys all the friends he has met through the years.