Howard Conrad Haythorn

Howard Conrad Haythorn

October 31, 1927

Harry Walker Haythorn, the younger brother of Walter P. Haythorn, was born to Harry & Emma Gilpin Haythorn, July 11, 1895. Growing up at the turn of the century Walter and Harry were given much responsibility at an early age, quickly learning the ways of cattle, horses and the Sandhills. Though different in ability and personalities, they built on their family relationship throughout their lives. Confident in his two son’s ability, father Harry sent them out on the P.A. Yeast Wagon so he could spend more time overseeing his own ever expanding ranch. The young brothers were becoming accomplished bronc riders so whenever they came across a rank horse they would trade for a broke one from the Yeast Remuda so they could hone their skills. The following summer the boys were hired with explicit instructions to trade for all the good horses they had traded away. By the time Walt and Harry were handed the reins to the ranch the Haythorn brothers had become synonymous with the Sandhills and the cowboy way of life. By the late “teens” the ranch was dominated by horned Herefords with little evidence of longhorns remaining. Horses always played a huge part on the ranch and utilization of remount stallions and marketing of horses to the government was a major source of income. Walt and Harry W broke every horse to drive then continued working the biggest ones and rode the smaller ones. The two brothers also put together a string of bucking horses which they trailed or shipped by train to local rodeos. They later sold most of these horses to Bill O’Conner to put into his rough stock string. They continued to sell bucking horses to Bill that may have been ridden on the ranch for more than 6 years.

Harry W. was drafted into the US Army and was involved in a skirmish in Europe called “The Great War”. He returned home in 1918 and later married a local gal. Harry Walker Haythorn was wed to Emeline Menter in Los Angeles, California on February 1, 1921 witnessed by his parents Harry and Emma.

Harry W tried his hand in the movie business and was a stunt driver in the chariot race scene of the original movie “Ben Hur” all the while raising a family and running a ranch with his brother.

Emeline and Hazel, Walter’s wife, were sisters and were daughters of the first licensed vet in the area, Charles Menter. The union of Harry W and Emeline produced four children, Helen Marie, Harry Knight, Howard Conrad and Patricia Ann. The two oldest died at very young ages.

Harry W and Walter ran the ranch as partners, Walt at Arthur and Harry at Lemoyne. Construction on Kingsley Dam began in the mid 30’s to be completed by 1940. The lake would flood much of the south end of the Haythorn Ranch sending Harry looking for another ranch. After looking at many places in both Colorado and Nebraska, he ran into an old friend on the train from Omaha after selling some cattle who told him he had a ranch for sale. Harry got off the train, looked at the ranch, got back on the train, went home and told his family to start packing, he had bought a ranch. Walter and Harry split the cattle and horses and Harry trailed his half the 70 miles or so to the Ranch in Maxwell. It took them 9 days including 3 days at Birdwood Creek where they split the heifers. They leased the Birdwood where they ran yearling heifers. After they split the heifers and keeping some each, the rest were trailed to Sutherland where they were loaded on a train and shipped to Omaha.

Howard went to school in Brady for two years and then followed tradition and attended St. Johns Military Academy in Salina, Kansas. Graduating with honors in 1945.

In February of 1951 Howard married SueAnn Cochran and later that month left for Korea where he served from 1951 to 1953 as a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The union of Howard and SueAnn produced three children. Mary Helen in 1954, Margaret Emeline in 1955 and Harry Byron in 1960.

Howard rodeoed on weekends when possible and in 1961 he qualified for the first RCA steer roping finals in Clayton, NM. In 1962 he flagged for the finals in Clayton and qualified in 1963 for the finals in Pawhuska, OK and finished 4th. Howard continued to be an innovator in ranching and promoter of the western way of life. As it became economically mandatory to breed yearling heifers, he introduced the longhorn breed to this area and began raising longhorns and breeding them to heifers in the mid 60’s.

Howard has been a leader in the breeding of quarter horses and draft breeds for seven decades. He has successfully bred and shown cutting and reigning horses and raised and trained many top calf and steer roping horses. Through his hard work and vision of the West, Howard has been honored by being inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Great Westerners and by leading Haythorn Ranch Company to be the recipient of the 2009 AQHA Best Remuda Award. Howard has added to a legacy that his ancestors and all in the Sandhills can be proud of. This Legacy will be honored and built upon by the fourth and fifth generations of the Haythorn family who are actively working Haythorn Ranch Company.

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