June 22, 1945
Rodney James Palmer was the second child of four born to Margaret and Marion Palmer. Rodney was born on June 22, 1945 in Miller, South Dakota. He was raised on the Palmer Ranch near Orient, South Dakota, went to the Palmer School grades 1-8 and graduated from Faulkton High School in 1963 and went on to graduate from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1967 and attended law school there and graduated from the University of South Dakota Law School in 1970. After passing the Nebraska Bar in 1970, he immediately took up practicing law in Ainsworth, Nebraska and was County Attorney in Brown County, Nebraska for 12 ½ years and has continued in his practice concentrating on general law practice and trial work.
Rod has three children, Stacey, who passed away at the age of 10, Andrea and Cameron. He also has 4 grandchildren, Olivia, Beckett, Madison and Drew.
Rod has been a very active member in the community of Ainsworth and has served on numerous boards including the Ainsworth Golf Club, the Elks Lodge, the Lions Club and the Wood Lake Masonic Lodge.
Rod was work hand at ranching throughout his formative years and showed cattle in 4-H and always had horses to ride. His father’s ranch was the last one in the community to use an active set of work horses which was in the hard winter of 1951-1952. That team of Mabel and Grace were retired thereafter and lived to the ripe ages of 31 and 33 respectively never having to do another days work. His grandfather Edward Palmer trailed and traded horses from North Dakota to Texas and as far east as Michigan from 1900 to the 1930s.
Rod, having been born and raised on a ranch, never got that out of his system and even though being trained as an attorney, he returned to ranching at the earliest opportunity. With the excellent help of his friend, Diette Glenn, he has ranched along the Niobrara River in Keya Paha County, Nebraska, and also runs the family ranch in Hand County, South Dakota. He has always been the prime mover on the ranch, doing all of his own haying, feeding, calving and general management of his angus herd. Horses have been an important part of his life and he has always had horses, raised colts and presently rides one that he raised from a colt. He has always had horses for the kids and grandkids to ride and make sure that all of them have every opportunity to ride whenever they visit or are around. He has always been willing to help the neighbors in their round-ups and brandings.
Rod had the idea of establishing the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2006 and has served as its Executive Director since its inception. He has devoted many hours to ensure an accurate and historical accounting of all the cowboys and cowgirls who make up the great state of Nebraska and has been an inspiration to many. Rod has always carried on the western legacy and his heritage since the time he wore his first cowboy boots and has continued to do so. The Palmer family ranch celebrated its 100 years in existence in 2006. The family tradition of cattle ranching is being carried on by his son, Cam.