August 8, 1928
Willis Ruby was born August 8, 1928 in Stapelton, Nebraska to Harold (Guy) and Mabel Ruby. Willis had two siblings, Gwen Druery residing in Broken Bow, Nebraska and has her whole adult life. Another sister Pat Glahn, deceased, from Bellingham, Washington. Willis has two children, Mike Ruby, a veterinary in Lander, Wyoming and child Debbie Ruby Anesi, retired from School District #1 after 35 years as business manager in Lander, Wyoming. Willis was married in 1946 to Ramona Hanna and they had Mike & Debbie. Ramona died in 1976 and Willis remarried in 1980 to Lois Niesen.
In his childhood, he was always riding calves and the milk cows. In his high school years he broke horses for local ranchers. Willis rodeoed Nebraska amateur rodeos from mid-40s to early 60s.
Willis worked as foreman on Tom Morrison Ranch between Stapelton and Thedford from 1948ish until he moved to Wyoming to run another ranch for Mr. Morrison in 1967. Then in 1970, Mr. Morrison sold the Wyoming ranch and Willis then purchased his own ranch where he ran approximately 300 head of black angus on deeded land and on BIM land for the summer. Willis loved to rodeo, ranch and he ran chairet horses on sheds in Wyoming winters.
After he moved to Wyoming, he returned to Nebraska several times to compete in the Old Timer rodeo at Hyannis, Nebraska. Willis rode bulls and saddle bronc horses throughout his career. Willis lived and loves rodeo.
Willis earned several belt buckles during his rodeo years and he still has most of them, some he gave to his kids and grandkids. Willis took a stand as to being a jockey in California for a couple years but decided it was not for him and missed his family.
In his time in Wyoming, he had been on several stock growers committees. President of the Landers Old Timer’s Association, President of Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association for Fremont County. Committee Member for BIM beef advisory board for 5 years.