October 8th, 1937-December 7th, 2003
George Younkin, Jr. was and is what a Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy should be. He was raised in the heart of cattle country on his father’s ranch north of Mullen, Nebraska. Junior loved the land, the people, and the life. He grew up in the Sandhills and he never left. He never knew a stranger and he always met you with a handshake. He believed in hard work, your word, the livestock and the land. He was career oriented, in that he lived and breathed ranching. George Junior was at his best during springtime calving, caring for the mother cows and watching new life come to the hills with each calf born. His calving percentage was something he took great pride in and in the years when scours and pneumonia stuck, he tirelessly worked with vets and drug companies to find new drugs and new methods to treat those ailments. George Junior is one of those cowboys and ranchers that only the Sandhills country produces.
George Younkin, Jr. was a cowboy from the time he learned how to walk. He was born October 8, 1937 to George Sr. and Rana Younkin and grew up north of the small ranching community of Mullen, Nebraska. George Jr. or Junior as he became to be known started riding horses and working horses at a very young age. He gentled colts, riding them to school with no saddle and no bridle, behind the mare that his brother Don rode going back and forth the four miles to the country school he and his siblings attended. He and Don both broke horses for neighboring ranches during their school years. At the age of seven, Junior was involved in an accident with a horse drawn rake. The horses spooked and threw Junior under the rake. Luckily, the rake dumped the hay with Junior in it into a windrow just before the team of horses completely destroyed the horse drawn implement.
One of Junior’s first jobs away from home entailed him working at the Carver Ranch. During those early years he rode four miles in the morning before sunrise to winter pasture in order to harness a team of horses, feed the livestock and be able to make it home before dark.
Stan Huffman bought the Carver Ranch in 1961 and Junior helped show a stud Stan was developing named Lucky Card. While on the Charlie Kramer ranch, Junior was thrown from his horse in the early evening one calving season while searching for a cow. The fall hurt the horse so badly that it had to be put down later and Junior suffered a broken leg. A search was organized and several hours after lying out in January weather, Junior was found, and was grateful to see the headlights coming down the trail road he had managed to crawl to, but his first concern was for his horse and the cow he had went searching for.
Junior married Becky Hoyt in June of 1959 and to this union were born five children, Bret, Wade, Kelly, Gary and Lorana. Junior worked for several ranches in the Sandhills area before taking a ranch manager position for Moonlake Cattle Company in 1965, where he worked for Jerry and Duane Swanson until his death in 2003.
Junior was always a cowboy at heart. He was fearless with angry cows and always had an eye for a good quarter horse. He rodeoed briefly when he was young, participating in the wild horse races and saddle bronc riding, but his true passion was always ranching and he was good at it, including calving, fencing, pairing out, winter feeding. He was always happiest working livestock.
In later years, Junior enjoyed taking his family to 4-H horse shows in which he mentored and participated. He was active on the local fairboard and went on to become President of the State Fairboard Association.
George Junior was, and is, what a Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy should be and would have been honored to have been nominated.
Below are some of the positions held by George Junior.
-ASCS Committee man 1975-1985
-Charter Member-South Brown County Rural Fire Department -Brown County Rural Fire Past President
-Sandhills Cattle Association Director
-Brown County Ag Society President for eight years
-President of the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers in 1977 -Member of the Ainsworth Church of the Nazarene