September 29, 1919 – February 2003
Gerald Boots was born September 29, 1919 to Thomas A. and Anna M. Boots in Ashby, NE. Gerald had five brothers and four sisters. He grew up south of Ashby on a ranch. He worked on the Abbott Ranch for several years, working with horses and calving, making .50 a day.
He married Esther Hoffman, July 3, 1920 at Kearney, NE. They returned to Abbott’s West Ranch for a couple of years and later returned to the ranch where Gerald grew up. Gerald and Esther had three boys and one girl. They lived at the ranch until 1959, when they moved to Ashby. Gerald had a team of horses called Prince and Charley. He fed hay with them, also training new horses as he worked with his team. Gerald and his family always milked up to 15 cows every morning and night. In his free time he roped calves at some local rodeos on his horse Smoke.
His love of rodeo was exemplified by all the years he was on the Fair Board in Grant County. When the Old Timer’s Rodeo started, he participated for several years and finally gave that up to opening the chute gates for the rough stock events until the year he was kicked in the head by a bronc. He finally had to bow out of working in the arena. That was hard for him as he thought the rodeo wouldn’t go on without him.
For years Gerald went on cattle drives for local ranchers, doing the cooking for the guys out of the cook wagon. He received the nickname “Wishbone” which he was extremely proud.
While living in Ashby he had a blacksmith shop where he built gate fasteners and windmill towers and anything anyone wanted.
Gerald Boots was the perfect example of an old time cowboy. He loved horses, competing in calf roping as a young man and following rodeo with his own kids participating, to following his grandkids in little kids rodeos and on to pro rodeo. He absolutely loved the country way of life and living in the Sandhills.