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Eastern Idaho Horseman Hall of Fame  

2008 Eastern Idaho Horseman Hall of Fame Inductees


June 2008 Issue                                                                                                    Print this article

      Eight Idaho horsepeople were inducted into the Eastern Idaho Horseman Hall of Fame at the 11th annual banquet on May 9, 2008, in Idaho Falls , Idaho . They were Floyd Nilsson, John Pete Olsen, Boyd and Janice Schvaneveldt, Dewey Smuin, Bill Vickers, and Elwood and Arlene Wilker.

      The Hall of Fame is housed in the Jefferson County Historical Society Pioneer Museum , 118 W First St. , Rigby , Idaho , ten miles north of Idaho Falls . It is open from one to five, Tuesdays through Saturdays. Rigby is the birthplace of Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television, and the museum has an exhibit about television’s earliest days, including the very first television Farnsworth made.

      Contact the museum at 208-745-8423. Contact Dorothy Furniss for more information about the Eastern Idaho Horseman Hall of Fame at 208-754-4702.

Floyd Nilsson

      Floyd was born on November 21, 1912, in Raymond , Alberta , Canada . His family moved to Idaho when he was very young, and lived in Iona, Goshen , Basalt, Shelley and Fort Hall. Floyd remembers that in Fort Hall his family cleared the land, and built fences and a home. During that period, the Depression hit and times were very hard for all.

      Floyd learned about “survival of the fittest” during the years he spent at Fort Hall. Floyd and some of the Indian kids would go back in the hills, chasing wild horses and camping out, and stay there until they ran out of grub and headed home.

      During the Depression, Floyd worked in the Big Hole of Montana putting up hay for a dollar a day and a dollar for each horse that he provided. As the Depression progressed, many ranchers told their hands that they could give them room and board, but could not pay them. Some offered to pay later or when they got back on their feet again.

      Floyd worked for Steve Mahaffey for four years at Tendoy riding for cattle up Railroad Canyon . In 1953, he took on a riding job for the Morgan Creek Cattle Association riding in mountains which he dearly loved.

      In 1955, Floyd heard about a ranch for sale in Leadore, and was able to purchase it with his savings and a loan. A few years later, he expanded his holdings by buying an adjoining ranch. At first, he ran sheep, but eventually switched to cattle.

      In 1934, Floyd married Dexter Dawson and they had three children: Jacqueline Elizabeth, Stephen Floyd, and Barbara Jonalin. Dex was an active homemaker and a good cook. Everyone liked her home-cooked meals, especially her cinnamon rolls.

      In l984, at age 72, Floyd sold the ranch to his granddaughter Lisa and husband Kent Bird. From that time on, he did day work for anyone who needed a cowboy with a good horse. Dex suffered a stroke in 1985, and was confined to a nursing home.

      Floyd took up team roping at age 58, and very seldom misses a roping that is close at hand. One of his favorite roping partners is his grandson, Eric Matson. Floyd enjoys attending rodeos, ropings and any high school rodeo event that takes place in the area, and believes in always supporting the kids.

      Currently, at the young age of 94, he is looking for a good, gentle rope horse to continue having fun on and doing what he has done all his life. Floyd still lives on the ranch helping out whenever he can. He is one of the last of the true cowboys.

John Pete Olsen

     At 72, J.P. Olsen has ridden and seen all the country between Salmon, Idaho , the headwaters of the Yellowstone River , and the Wind River Mountains . He was born in the Teton Valley , and his first job was moving sheep camps before he was eighteen. He has spent most of his life training horses to ride and drive.

     J.P. fenced for the BLM throughout Idaho and Nevada; horse-logged; worked for the Forest Service in a variety of jobs including fixing bridges, clearing trails, and spraying trees for pine beetles; and led dude rides for the Teton Valley Lodge.

     J.P. was active with his daughters Julia Ray Wood and Ione Hansen, as the family participated in horse activities such as 4-H, camping, parades, queen contests, barrel racing, high school rodeos, and ropings.

     J.P.’s wife Sharon accompanied him on only one hunting trip, which she likened to “The Man From Snowy River.”

     J.P. helped start the Teton Valley Saddle Club; belonged to the Teton Valley Roping Club, the local posse, and the Upper Valley Wranglers; and worked as a pickup man for the P&P Rodeo.

     Over the years, J.P. has volunteered for the Search & Rescue by riding in the back country, packing equipment, and supplying horses to ride.

     J.P. is a licensed flat track trainer. He has spent over forty years in cutter and chariot racing, a sport in which he has won many awards. His two grandsons, J.D. and Rhett, plus daughter Ione’s family, have followed him in his love for chariot racing.

     J.P. says: “Any day that you can get on your horse is a good day.” He feels he has had many good days.

Boyd W. and Janice Schvaneveldt
      Boyd William Schvaneveldt was born in 1942 in Niter, Idaho . In the early 1950s, Boyd’s family moved from the farm to a smaller acreage. His dad took a day job, but also began to trade horses.

      As a teenager, Boyd would have preferred doing a million other things rather than ride a horse for a customer and then have to wait forever to make the sale or trade, while they haggled over as little as a $5 difference.

      He finally came to realize that it was not all about the money—it was about the haggling and camaraderie. He learned that you have to be able to judge the value of each horse, figure out if they are sound, and assess what you can do to increase their value when you get ready to sell or trade that horse.

      Boyd and Janice Allen met and married in the early 1960s. For many years, they have raced horses throughout the Intermountain Area.

      In 2003, they were awarded the Leading Owners of Quarter Horse Geldings running on the flat track by monies earned with their three-year-old gelding, Zackareed. They were instrumental in promoting horse racing at the Caribou County Fair in Grace , Idaho , and Boyd served on the fair board for many years.

      The Schvaneveldt children, Bret and Brenda, grew up being taken to horse shows. During this time, the family also began chariot racing. In the 1970s, there were close to 35 chariot racing associations and they would run in races with four chariot teams in every race. The family’s pair of geldings qualified for State Championships and World Championships many years.

      Boyd held many offices in the association, including secretary, vice president and president. Although they won many races, titles, and trophies, Boyd recalls that the greatest honor was being awarded the Horsemanship Award on two different occasions at World Cutter and Chariot Racing Championships.

      In 1992, daughter Brenda married Donny Ekstrom, who had the same passion for chariot racing as Boyd. Boyd and Donny put a team together which qualified for State and World Chariot Racing Championships.

      Boyd and Janice continue to have flat track horses and run them in the Intermountain Area. Now they travel with their two grandkids, Lyndsie and Zack Ekstrom to junior rodeos and other horse activities.

      Boyd says, “We all share a love and passion for horses. Having horses has allowed us as a family to make a whole circle of friends no matter where we go.”

Dewey Smuin

      Horses have always been a passion for Dewey Smuin. He says that over the years, he has “spent many hours in the saddle and many hours studying how to make my horses better.”

      By 1984, when Dewey married Linda Ralphs, he was working on the Bill Simmons Ranch and decided to go to Utah to ride with Noel Skinner, who trained reining and cutting horses. In 1986, Dewey and Linda moved to the Deloy Newman Ranch in Salmon, Idaho and trained full-time.

      Dewey continued making good cowhorses, and later stock dogs, on other ranches. He says that there is nothing better than working on a ranch with good horses and dogs.

      Dewey’s philosophy is to breed to good horses to “make the colts better.” In 1997, he bought a colt by Two Id Bartender, and entered him in the Marsh Valley Stallion Incentive Association from 2001 to 2003.

      In 2002 and 2003, Dewey served on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Idaho Quarter Horse Association, including one year as vice president.

      Dewey wanted to bring his family up knowing horses and all of his kids have enjoyed riding. Unable to ride for a while due to a medical problem, Dewey worked with his son, Tavlon, and taught him how to train his mare to be a rope horse. In his senior year, Tavlon won the district calf roping and went to the Nationals.

      In 2003, Dewey was diagnosed with a tumor in his hip, and underwent hip replacement surgery. The doctors told him he could no longer ride horses, which was very hard for him to take.

      In 2002, Dewey became a 4-H horse club leader, and says it has been the most challenging and rewarding thing he has done. The club has now grown to 22 kids, so they have been split into two classes, with one more advanced than the other. Dewey has had much fun seeing each youth progress and gain confidence in themselves and their horses.

      “It amazes me how fast these kids can learn. Good kids and helpful parents make it a success and I appreciate both!”

Bill Vickers

      Bill was born and raised in the Twin Falls area and began his rodeo career in high school rodeo in 1958. Old-time cowboys Bob and George Juker took Bill under their wing, hauling him to ICA rodeos throughout the Intermountain area to compete in calf-roping and bull-dogging events.

      Bill won the Idaho State High School Rodeo All-Around Championship in 1959 with a first place in both calf-roping and in steer wrestling.  

      In 1959, Bill steer-wrestled at the Gooding, Idaho , RCA rodeo, and broke both of his legs. While recovering, he was asked if he could announce at a rodeo and he replied: “Certainly.” Announcing legend Ivan Pollard helped out Bill by demonstrating announcing techniques and assisting him in getting sound equipment.

      Before long, Bill was an official rodeo announcer throughout Idaho , Nevada , Montana , and Utah . Over his career, Bill believes that he has probably announced at every rodeo arena in Nevada except Las Vegas .

      A highlight of Bill’s announcing career was his announcing an Indian National Finals Rodeo held in Gallup , New Mexico in about 1979.

      In 1976, Bill opened Vickers Western Store, Inc. in Pocatello . He also has a second store in Idaho Falls .

      After Bill started his Western store business in Pocatello , he restricted his rodeo announcing to Southeast Idaho . Bill retired from announcing in 1999 after a series of surgeries damaged his vocal cords.

      Bill has remained a friend and a continuing substantial sponsor of Inter-Mountain area charitable events, Idaho State University events, Shoshone Bannock Rodeo and Festival, and a myriad of professional and amateur rodeos, 4-H, FFA, queen contests, and the other performance horse events through his stores’ generous donation of awards, advertising and contributions.

      Still active astride a horse, he has an interest in team-sorting and “Can’t wait to get to the next one.” Four or five years ago, his wife-Kim got her first horse, and now Kim actively shows reining horses. Together, they travel the inter-mountain area summer reining show circuit.

Elwood and Arlene Wilker

            At an early age, Elwood learned to drive a team of horses to farm the land. When he was twelve, he worked for his neighbors mowing hay with a team of horses, and rode his saddle horse several miles to get to their place.

            Elwood was a member of the Caribou County Sheriff’s Posse until a few years after he and Arlene were married. He and Arlene competed in the Posse relay races together. They both enjoyed organizing and competing in flat track racing at the Caribou County Fair.

            Their preferred sport with horses is chariot racing. Elwood says, “In chariot racing, you can do everything for yourself. You care for and train your horse, and drive your own chariot. We like flat track racing too, but you have to hire a jockey to ride for you.”

            Arlene has been the reporter for the Cache Valley Cutter Club for 33 years. She believes in following the rules with no short cuts, and knows horse genealogy probably better than her family genealogy.

            Over the years, Elwood and Arlene have won many awards and trophies. Arlene won the Woman of the Year Award at the World Chariot Championships in 2001. Elwood was given the Outstanding Contribution to Chariot Racing at the Idaho State Chariot Races. Both received the Outstanding Contribution to Chariot Racing at the World Championships. They were Grand Marshals of the 2006 Caribou County Fair.

            Add up their combined time racing, and together they have four years racing with the Rocky Mountain Club in Montpelier; 35 years racing in the Cache Valley Cutter Racing Club; 39 years qualifying for the Idaho State Championships; and 30 years qualifying for World Championships. Elwood was vice president of the World Chariot Races for 23 years and World Chariot Race Delegate for seven years.

  Elwood and Arlene are the parents of two sons: Clynn, who received a DVM degree from the Washington State and a PhD from Texas A&M, and now lives with his family in San Diego ; and Clay, who has degrees in engineering and business from Utah State . Clay trains and drives the team along with his parents, and is very interested in keeping chariot racing alive and running for many years to come.

            Both Elwood and Arlene said that the best thing about chariot racing is the friendships, and how much it means to them to run into fellow racers all year long and know that the friendships are true and genuine.


Copyright 2008 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor;

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