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Copyright 2011 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; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame 

2011 Inductees

By Nick Schrauger, Chair, Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame, Bozeman , MT

 

September 2011 issue

  

      This year, the Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association are honoring posthumously Roger and Viola Reinhardt of Hinsdale, MT; and Conrad K. Warren, of Deer Lodge, MT, and inducting them into the 2011 Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.

      The Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by the Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association, and the Big Sky Draft Horse Expo.

      The “draft animal era is the time from the mid-1800s to the 1930s when the extensive expansion and industrialization of the United States depended on horses, mules, and oxen, and the teamsters who drove them. The majority of people who use our modern highways and are served by railroads do not realize that early roads and railroads were built using draft animals.

      The use of draft animals has not ended. Indeed, while many think the use of draft horses and mules is novel, there has been increasing use in recent years. Without individuals, such as those honored by the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame, the needed skills to use draft animals would be difficult to obtain.

      The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame is dedicated to those individuals that have made significant contributions to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge, education, and use of draft animals and or draft equipment for work or pleasure in Montana . Induction to the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame is based on an outstanding record of contributions to the use, development, preservation, and/or education of draft animals or equipment used by draft animals.

      Those honored greatly contributed to the preservation and use of draft animals and teamster skills to use them.

      The formal presentation of membership to the Hall of Fame will be made at noon on Saturday, September 17, 2011, at the Big Sky Draft Horse Expo in Deer Lodge.

      For questions about the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame including nominations, please contact Nick Shrauger, 406-586-5113.

 

Roger and Viola Reinhardt, Hinsdale , MT

      More than 30 years ago, Roger and Viola Reinhardt helped organize the original Montana Draft Horse Association (now Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association.) Together with other teamsters, they realized the need for preserving the use and knowledge of draft horses. Vi, as she was known, served at the first Secretary/Treasurer and Roger was a director.

      Roger and Vi believed every farm should uses horses. Roger’s favorite saying was “Every farm and ranch should have a team.” For 15 years they hosted Draft Horse Days at their Hinsdale ranch, inviting other teamsters to help with the threshing and other farm work. The public was invited to watch the process and to remember and reminisce.

 

Viola Reinhart driving with Roger and a young friend in the Malta Wagon Train Parade. (Glen Reinhart photo)

 

      Both Roger and Vi drove horses, and during haying Vi did much of the raking while Roger mowed. Of course they fed their cows using the team, and did many other farming tasks with the horses such as threshing, plowing, harrowing, and manure spreading.

      Roger was born in Gilmington , WI , on May 12, 1930. He came to Montana in 1947 and, using his experience with horses, started working on ranches. Viola (Russell) was born in Glasgow , MT on February 28, 1931. Roger and Vi married in 1951 and began married life working on various ranches. They first purchased an irrigated ranch near Ronan, sold it in 1963, and then purchased their ranch near Hinsdale .

      In addition to raising cattle, sheep, hay and grain, they raised Percheron draft horses and Roger would break and at least one team each year. He also helped others with “horse problems.”

      Roger also operated a harness and buggy shop on the ranch as Roger taught himself to make and repair wagon and buggy wheels, build and mend harness, and repair horse-drawn equipment.

      It was often said that Roger was born 100 years too late. He always used horses, even when it would have been easier or faster to use a tractor.

      A team for life, Roger and Viola Reinhardt greatly contributed to the education of others, and to the preservation and use of draft horses. Viola passed away in 1987, and Roger followed her in 2007.

 

Conrad K. Warren—Deer Lodge

      It is fitting that the home of the Teamster Hall of Fame is located at the historic Grant-Kohrs Ranch in Deer Lodge. Even more special is the Hall of Fame induction of Conrad Warren. It was through Con’s stewardship that a portion of the pioneer ranch — started by his grandfather Conrad Kohrs and his grand-uncle John Bielenberg — remains under the care of the National Park Service as a tribute to the pioneer ranching industry.

      Originally the CK Ranch, the Grant Kohrs Ranch now continues to educate the public about pioneer ranch life. Working and breeding draft horses were an important part of ranch operations.

      Conrad’s daughter, Patricia, says, “While my father was best known for achievements as a cattle rancher, his great love—and possibly his biggest impact on American ranching—was the draft horse.

 

Con Warren showing a Belgian at the ranch for FFA students (Patricia Warren photo)

 

      “As a kid, in the early 1900s, Con Warren did his draft-horse apprenticeship by hanging around with his grandfather Conrad Kohrs and his grand-Uncle John Bielenberg, learning from the two old pioneers….”

      Draft horses were used on the ranch until the 1970s. Although in the ranch’s early years they preferred using Clydesdales, Con’s choice was the Belgian. He collected good animals, many of which he imported from Europe .

      Long time Park Service Historian and author Lyndel Meikle has this to say about Conrad: “Conrad Kohrs Warren was a rancher to the bone and if, at times, he seemed to think more of his horses and cattle than the generality of people, that was no flaw. It wasn’t that he cared for people less. It was just that he cared for animals more.

      “He shared his love of the horses with the local FFA, and passed on knowledge and skills to the boys working the hay crews.”

      Conrad Kohrs Warren was born in Butte , MT on August 16, 1907. He died on March 20, 1993.

      Today Montana teamsters are able to hitch their teams to historic mowers and rakes during Grant-Kohrs Haying Days. A special treat is to drive the buck rake bringing big loads of hay to the beaver slide stacker, just as it was done during the draft horse era. In that sense, Conrad Warren and his pioneer teachers are still working with teamsters to pass on draft horse skills.

 

 

 

Previously inducted Hall of Fame members are:

*George Miller — Absarokee

Kent And Mary Lou Connor — Corvallis Don Yerian — Emigrant

Don Coutts — Red Lodge

*John McIlhattan Bozeman

*Forrest Davis — Pablo

Alex and Kayo Fraser — Deer Lodge

Jack and Helen Eden Hamilton

Charlie Yerian Corvallis

Carroll Manuel — Winnett

*Jake Frank Park City

Earl Stucky Avon

Allan Lien Bozeman

Rollie Hebel — Mcallister

Tom Triplett — Kalispell

Howard Lee — Forsythe

Mike Myhre — Custer

* Deceased

 

Copyright 2011 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; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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