Duane Wilson was born in Ogallala, Nebraska, on February 3, 1929 to Peter Bradley and Harriett (Martin) Wilson. His sister, Barbara Jean, followed in 1931. Duane was raised on the family ranch in Arthur County, attended a country school for three years in Ogallala, and then graduated from Arthur County High School. Duane’s father, Peter Bradley, moved to the Nebraska Sandhills in the spring of 1909 at the age of three months. He later purchased the first two sections and formed the Wilson Cattle Company, which Duane took over at the time of his death in 1975. Duane has since doubled the size of the ranch, had a successful rodeo career, raised five children and been married to his wife, Doris, for over 60 years.
Duane began rodeoing in the late 1940’s and rode bulls, roped calves and team roped, competing successfully and winning a number of championships.
In 1951, Duane married Doris Marie (Johnson) and they had five children: Debbie, Connie, Kelly, Patty and Brad. All five children graduated from Arthur County High School and are all married with children.
Duane’s number one priority has always been the ranch. He found time to rodeo, travelling with Walt Haythorn, and competing in bull riding, team roping and calf roping. Duane was a member of the Nebraska State Rodeo Association for many years. He won the Team Roping in 1962 with Speck Aufdengarten and in 1966 with Jack Lowe and was a runner up in the calf roping in 1962 and 1963.
Duane and Doris still live on the ranch and own the original two sections Peter Bradley and Harriett bought so many years ago. Their son, Kelly lives in their house and Brad lives in Doris’ childhood home.
Duane is passionate about the sandhills, cattle and the cowboy way of life. If asked why he doesn’t travel much, he will reply, “Why would I want to go anywhere else? I like it just fine right here.”