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Greer, William “Bill”

William (Bill) Greer was born on July 9, 1935 to Olen & Clara Greer in Gillette, Wyoming. Bill was raised on a ranch 16 miles SE of Gillette in Campbell County. The ranch was very diversified raising cattle and sheep, horses, hogs and the customary chickens & milk cow. The cattle were the main emphasis and the family took pride in their horse herd.

In high school Bill worked at the local saddle shop with Ed Stoke where he became a master leather craftsman. He could make anything out of leather from purses and belts to even making his own saddles. He welcomed the opportunity to help many a young person with their 4-H leather work. Even today he is still handy with the leather tools.

At the age of 16 Bill began working at the Gillette Livestock Exchange as the scale man and continued working in that capacity until it burned down in the early 1970’s. In the 20 plus years he worked there, he not only enjoyed running the scales but all of the work of sorting and yarding back the livestock. The long horse sales that lasted deep into the night were his favorite.

On Jan. 1, 1957 he married Glenis Smelser. To this union was born Andy in 1958 and Janet in 1959. After their marriage Bill & Glenis worked for Don & Bonnie Marquiss on their ranch SW of Gillette and later for Dutch Tanner on the American Ranch NE of Gillette. He would recall his days on the American, including feeding the cows each winter by carrying cake horseback and feeding the cows where he found them on his several mile circle. He would refill his sacks at various stops along the way. This circuit usually ended up being an all-day adventure. One winter he broke one of his legs and rigged up a sling to allow him to get on and off the horse to make sure the cows got fed. In 1965 Bill & Glenis moved back to the family ranch which they later purchased.

Bill was a natural cow man and had a keen eye for good cattle. He spent many hours horseback with the cattle, especially each spring, range calving the cows. He would catch each newborn calf out in the pasture to dehorn them with dehorning paste and castrate the bulls.

Even though the cattle were the focus for income in the ranching business, horses were Bill’s first love. He loved to work with horses and spend time in the saddle. Bill took pride in raising his own horses and training them. He loved molding the young colts into good working cow horses. He broke his first horse at the age of 14. Because of his reputation of working with horses and cattle he was hired at the age of 15 by Ed Wolff to help trail a herd of cows from Gillette to Douglas. In his younger days he would always take some of his horses to town to race them at the Campbell County Fair. With his small stature he made a good jockey.

In 1982 Bill and Glenis sold their Campbell County ranch and purchased a ranch near Lance Creek in Niobrara County. They loaded up the cattle herd and remuda of horses and headed south. They still reside there and operate the ranch with their son Andy and his family. Bill enjoys helping the neighbors with whatever cowboy work that needs done and remains active on the ranch helping with the riding, fencing and whatever needs to be done. Even with the coming of the 4-wheeler, Bill is adamant that you handle cattle on horseback. That is just the way it was meant to be.

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