In the mid-thirties the going rate for “cowboying”, especially for a young teenage boy, was 50 cents a day. If you were experienced and could provide your own “cow horses” the monetary amount changed. Alden Robinson’s recollections included his ability to earn a dollar a day. He humbly always added, of course “I had a lot of horse flesh to choose from.”
November 9, 1923 marked the beginning of life as a cowboy for Alden C. Robinson a Moorcroft, WY resident. He was born on the Robinson Ranch to Lucian “Herb” Robinson and Emily Sapp Robinson. The Robinson Ranch was established in 1893 by Alden’s great grandfather. Alden was raised a few miles out of Moorcroft with five siblings. 1956 was a new beginning for Alden and his brother Lucian when they purchased the Robinson Ranch after the death of their grandfather, L.H. Robinson. The brothers managed the Moorcroft ranch together until 1960 when they added the HN Ranch at Ranchester, Wyoming. The partnership was dissolved in 1962 with Alden retaining ownership of the Moorcroft Ranch and Lucian the Ranchester Ranch.
Alden married Effie Camp Nefsy in 1946 and they raised five children on the ranch, Douglas, Pam (Jespersen), Dee (Nettles), Toni (Kornemann) and Justen who is operating the ranch at this time.
Cowboy life began at an early age for Alden. He would recall his first experiences were riding and working cattle from behind the cantle of his Granddad or a hired hand. Acquiring a pony and saddle of his own was quite a big deal.
Raising commercial cattle was the primary business of Robinson Ranch under Alden’s ownership but he also ran sheep and a few brood mares. The Robinson kids were always “well mounted” when they entered a halter class, horseshow or rodeo.
Alden was a long-term member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association serving on the board many of those years. In 1963 he was part of a Crook County group who founded the Crook County Horsemen’s Association, an organization still vital to youth in Crook County encouraging horsemanship skills. Alden’s participation has continued through the lineage as Robinson family members are still involved. The annual Moorcroft Jubilee began in July of 1965 in conjunction with Wyoming honoring its 75th year of statehood, “Diamond Jubilee”. Alden led the parade, carrying the American Flag until 2001 when he stepped down for other community members to bear “Old Glory.” As a long-term 4H horse leader in Crook County he helped organize horse judging’s, horsemanship clinics along with assisting in grooming, hoof trimming, and countless other horse related trials, tribulations and jubilations.
Being in the saddle was a normal day from an early age. Riding horseback from the home place, a few miles out of Moorcroft, to check cattle or reservoirs out of Thornton (near Upton) was alright with a youngster since the Thornton Store usually had fresh peaches available. Timber Creek (near Rozet) to Moorcroft was another ride Alden recalled. His Uncle had purchased a horse at Timber Creek and hauled a 12 year old Alden to Timber Creek, paid for the horse and left Alden to saddle and ride him home. Memory had not faded much for Alden as he said that was the most ill-gaited, rough traveling son of a gun he had ever climbed on. It was well after dark; dinner had long ago been put away when he finally jogged into the ranch buildings.
Always proud of Wyoming and its cowboy heritage Alden joined the cattle drive that began out of Upton and came through Moorcroft in 2006, to Celebrate Moorcroft’s 100th year and to remember the Texas Trail Cattle Drives and shipping era. This final horseback ride was a fitting end to a cowboy in the saddle. A few short years later, on March 31, 2013, this cowboy hung his hat for the final time.