March 12, 1919 – March 5, 1995
Kenneth Boyer exemplified the characteristics of a true cowboy. He was an accomplished horse trainer and an excellent roper. He was a valuable member of his community as he gelded horses, removed cattle’s cancer eyes, and performed cesareans on cattle for all of the neighbors, as well as, helping with their cattle work. He built an impressive horse herd and worked to produce the best quality of horses for ranch and competition. It’s not uncommon to be at an event that features horses and see a 1 bar 11 brand on a horse.
Kenneth Boyer was born March 12, 1919. His parents were Joe Boyer and Verda Long Boyer. His siblings included Marie Roseberry, Bertha Cerutie, LaVern Boyer, Callona Keller, and Winnie DeChaine. Ken married a schoolteacher, Maude Andersen of Gordon, and they were blessed with four children, Kennetha Scheer, Rosalea Gift, Shirley Hubbard, and Kenny Joe Boyer.
Ken graduated from Mullen High School and went back to work for his parents on their ranch Northeast of Mullen. He broke horses to work cattle and to perform ranch chores. They lived there for three years working for his parents and saving every cent they could to purchase their own place. Ken ran a trap line and skated numerous miles a day on the river to check it. He used the money he made to buy cows and to help make a down payment on Kennyville.
Kenneth and Maude bought Kennyville Ranch northwest of Mullen and worked to build a 5,840 acre ranch. They did it by trapping and selling furs, having a huge garden, raising chickens, and milking cows. Maude taught school for a few years and sewed most of the family’s clothes. Ken broke horses for people and took in cattle, as well as, caring for his own horses and cattle. He was 65 years old and still riding a few of his own colts.
Ken milked 24 cows twice a day, took in Felix Becker’s cattle, and broke horses for the Pitzer Ranch and for Fort Robinson. He bred his mares that he acquired from Felix to the Remount horses that he broke for Fort Robinson. Most of the Remount horses that he broke were five years old and were a challenge. He sold horses to Russell Phipps, many neighbors, and people from all over the state and out-of-state. His first Quarter horses were purchased from Felix Becker. From that time on, he was building a better herd as he acquired 3 Bars, Pony McCue, Poco Bueno, King, Leo, Johnny Zero, Whimpy, Waggoner, and Rainy Day bloodlines. He became good friends with Claude Woods and they traded horses and stud services. Ken worked with Pete Becker to conduct horse sales approximately every five years and took a lot of pride in raising good quality horses for ranchers and competition cowboys. When his horse herd became too much for him to get all the young horses broke, he sent many of his young horses to the guys from Big Creek and to Willie Klingbeil, and Vern Oatman. These guys broke horses for him for many, many years. Ken and Maude were lifetime members of the American Quarter Horse Association and acquired a herd of 100 horses.
Neighbors Don and Dean Marshall, Leonard Phipps, and Robert Prentice stated that Kenneth Boyer was 100% cowboy. He grew up breaking horses to ride or to work haying equipment and after purchasing Kennyville Ranch, he broke remount horses. They thought the agreement was that for every five remount horses he broke, he got a mare. Those Thoroughbred mares started his horse herd.
He was known for several things throughout his life. He was a fanatic about straight fence lines and not over-grazing the pastures. He dearly loved horses, would drop everything to help anyone, and would loan anything he owned. He respected the Sandhills and the wildlife that lived on it. Ken knew every plant, grass and tree that grew in the Sandhills and taught them to his children. He was progressive in that he attended an ABS school in Chicago, took his bulls to Scottsbluff and to Palmer, Nebraska to determine weight gain and to North Platte to have them tested long before these practices were common. He worked with every extension agent including Dick Dunn, Ervin Schleicher and especially Harry Stokley. A veterinarian from Hyannis told him how to perform cesareans and how to remove cancer eyes and he started doing them for neighbors. He also cross-fenced his pastures, put in windmills, and planted hundreds of trees for windbreaks.
Ken was instrumental in starting the Mullen Roping Club and was a top-notch roper. He was eager to help youngsters learn how to rope and how to become better riders. He even started and coached a girls’ drill team that performed for a few years. Ken also started a business selling cattle “ear tags” and got too busy so talked Bill Johnston, owner of the feed store located in Mullen into selling them. He organized nine neighbors in order to get a phone line and set up a maintenance schedule that rotated among them. He saw a need for a cattle scale and put one in so that he and all the neighbors could have access to it instead of driving their cattle numerous miles to weigh them. Ken was a Mason and a school board member for many years.
Ken and Maude raised Hereford cattle, and later switched to Angus. He also had his assortment of pets that included a small herd of Longhorns, a few Brahamas, and a donkey.
Ken received several conservation awards from the Natural Resource District over the years. He won a lot of trap shooting competitions and ropings.
Ken developed Alzheimer’s and spent the last few years of his life in the Pioneer Memorial Rest Home at Mullen. He would have wanted people to remember him as a good friend and neighbor, a person who was a good hand with cattle and horses&helip;&helip;and as a true Sandhill’s cowboy.