January 28, 1940 – August 1, 2014
Walter Arthur Daly was born on January 28, 1940, to Walter Griffith (Jack) and Clara (Winters) Daly. He had two sisters one older, Lois, and one younger, Linda. He grew up on the family homestead and lived there his whole life. He attended country school through the 8th grade and then graduated with the class of 1957 from McPherson County High School. He attended Chadron State College.
Art Daly began his music career when he was 12 years old. That is when he got his first guitar and taught himself to play by ear. His first public performance was on a radio show called the Doc and Esther Embry Show in the 1950’s. He also taught himself to play the electric guitar, bass guitar and the banjo. Art played in several bands during high school and college. In the sixties, he formed the country western band Art Daly and the Buckaroos. When they first started practicing, they decided that it would be good if they played once a month. From then on the band played for dances just about every Friday and Saturday night through 1986. They became well known in Central and Western Nebraska, but also played in South Dakota and Kansas for rodeo dances, weddings, proms, homecomings, family reunions, clubs and for many other organizations that put on dances. He traveled many miles to dances, many times taking his family, especially his daughters, with him to help stay awake driving home.
Art did not only use his voice for singing at dances. He gave comfort through music to many families when they laid loved ones to rest. He became a rodeo announcer and announced high school rodeos, amateur rodeos and finally joined the professional ranks with the PRCA. He holds PRCA Gold Card #20255. He received many Announcer of the Year Awards (5 years in a row for both MSRA and NSRA in the 1980s) and was honored with being named announcer for the PRCA Circuit Finals in 1993. Art used his voice best as an encourager and a mentor. He encouraged many young people in his travels as well as many young musicians. After the band decided to stop playing together, he continued to sing for church, funerals and for two Buckaroos Reunion Dances. On October 20, 2014, he was inducted into the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame.
Art also had a leather work business that he did out of his home. He made many belts, bridles, purses, chaps and at last count over 80 saddles.
He married his high school sweetheart, Ilene Power, in 1959 and they lived on the family ranch in western McPherson County for over 54 years. His great granddad Daly homesteaded on that land in 1895. Art and Ilene have three children, LeAnn, LaRae and Mike, 9 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
Art’s cattle were well respected in the area. His ranch was a stop on the Nebraska Hereford Tour and he also raised other breeds. He was a good steward of the land and always felt it was his responsibility to take care of the land for the next generation.
On August 1, 2014, Art lost his 12 year battle with Parkinson’s disease when he contracted pneumonia and passed away. He was a musician, cattleman, rancher, leather worker, husband, father, granddad and great granddad. It is difficult to write something that captures all the wonderful memories he helped make. I am very proud to nominate him to be inducted into the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame.