March 20, 1938
John Lewis Jensen was born March 20, 1938, to Lewis and Ruth Hawkins Jensen, following a spring blizzard. John was their second child and only son, following older sister Kay, born three years prior. He graduated from Arthur High School in 1956 and graduated from Chadron State College in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Education in Health and Physical Education. He participated on the rodeo team while at CSC. After graduation he returned to the ranch and married Beverly Kicken June 12, 1960. To that union three boys were born, John Chrasten (JC) in 1961, Deon Lewis in 1966 and Cameron Ray in 1976.
John and Beverly were active in the Nebraska Rodeo Association, John riding saddle broncs and Beverly running barrels. John also enjoyed participating in tie down team roping with Clay Powers and team roping with Tim Knott. They began breeding horses in 1963 with the purchase of a mare named Sally Rey 11,546. That became John’s main hobby, raising and training outstanding registered Quarter Horses While John ranched and raised horses, Beverly taught for many years in small, rural schools near the ranch. And, of course raising three boys on a ranch was always an adventure. Beverly passed in May 1979 after a battle with breast cancer.
John began roping steers in the early 1980’s and was very active in the Senior Steer Roping Association for many years. He traveled south on many occasions to rope and sell horses to senior ropers. He always enjoyed roping in Cheyenne Frontier Days and trips to Pendleton, Oregon for the Pendleton Roundup. John was a founding member and served as President of the Nebraska Steer Roping Association. He was also a director of the Wyoming Steer Roping Association and a member of the Senior Steer Roping Association.
John married Shari Pound in 1987. For 33 years they have not only enjoyed ranch life at the Jensen Ranch but they enjoyed traveling to steer ropings, Gideon conventions and sightseeing across the US. They especially enjoy watching their grandkids compete in horse events with horses that evolved from the Jensen Ranch breeding program. They continue to live on the Jensen Ranch today.
John is a cowboy, horseman and known for the great horses he bred. John’s friendship with Waldo Haythorn strongly influenced the Jensen horse program. Many of the first studs John stood came from Waldo, including the use of My Beaver and a son of his called Beaver Sparky, aka “Sparky,” out of a Poco Tom 46 daughter. His outstanding red roan stud, Happy’s Cardinal, by Happy Hancock and out of a My Beaver 13 mare was purchased from Waldo Haythorn in 1977. “Cardinal” was purchased when he was 4 years old and lived to be 32 years of age. He was an outstanding animal and bred strong, athletic, good looking, good minded Sandhill horses. His offspring were excellent performance horses excelling in many disciplines, but especially as rope and rodeo horses. AQHA records list 197 foals registered to Happy’s Cardinal.
John purchased another Haythorn bred stud named Four Shot, a gray Continental Fly/Eddie Eighty that crossed extremely well on “Cardinal” daughters. Another gray stud, Masie’s Blue, a Waggoner 101 bred stud also found popularity at the Jensen Ranch. Power Rancher, a Gay Bar King/Fritz Command bred stud was the last to stand in the Jensen horse program. Together “PR” and John won several working cow horse and working ranch horse competitions. Two mares that were outstanding producers for John were Anarky and Silky Beaver.
John teamed up with other producers to host several horse sales in the 90s. the sales were very successful and allowed John to reduce numbers to a more manageable level. John’s days of swinging a leg over a horse have slowed, but John’s storytelling, especially his horse stories are still vibrant.
John and his sons enjoyed training horses. Many god horses carry the triangle/quarter circle brand around the Sandhills and beyond. In 1997, JC and Jana Jensen purchased four fillies from John to start their breeding program and their family continues John’s horse legacy today.
John officially retired from ranching in January 2020. He leased the Jensen Ranch to JC and Jana Jensen/Powles Ranch. The third and fourth generations are excited for the opportunity to take the reins. JC and Jana’s son, John “Cameron”, hoes to someday make his home at the Jensen Ranch in the northwest corner of Arthur County.
John believes in being involved and active in his community. Locally, John serves as a Deacon at the Arthur Baptist Church, and served on the Arthur School Board and as an Arthur County Commissioner. He served on the Arthur County Fair Board, as a 4-H leader and a youth rifle instructor. John is a 28-year member of Gideon International and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association Beyond his community, John served on the Production Credit Association board of directors for several years. John served on the Twin Platte Natural Resources District board from 184 to 1996 and in 2019, Jensen Ranch, John and Shari Jensen, were awarded the Tree Planting Award. He was a founding member and served as President of the Nebraska Steer Roping Association. He was a director of the Wyoming Steer Roping Association and a member of the Senior Steer Roping Association and is a PRCA Gold Card holder.