Floyd “Hawk” Shaffer was born April 8, 1902, in Sheridan Wyoming. He attended school through the eighth grade in Sheridan. He acquired his nickname, “Hawk”, while night hawking horses for a roundup outfit when he was about 15 or 16 years old.
Most of his life was spent working for outfits in Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming. Years were spent working for the Kendrick operation off and on. “Hawk” and his wife Alice, son Jesse (7/14/1953) and daughter Shelly (4/14/1954) were the last residents in the big house at the LX Bar ranch before that operation was moved across the Powder River to the Lytton place.
He tried his hand at a non-cowboy job for a short time at R.E.A. He told Gerald Shaffer that digging holes, setting poles, and stringing wire didn’t fit his hands and he couldn’t put a saddle on any of it.
“Hawk” was what one would call a “True Cowboy.” He liked to ride bucking horses and was skilled at the art of breaking them. W.W. Ritchie, neighbor to the LX Bar is quoted as saying “Hawk Shaffer was the finest horseman I ever rode with.” Mrs. Slim Frandsen, of Broadus MT, told the following recollections of “Hawk.” “He and Stanley Sloan rode the rough string for Jr. Spear at Spear O out of Kirby in the Wolf Mountains. Men claimed the two men rode such rough horses that when the outfit sold, no one wanted to ride them, and they were sold to rodeo for the bucking string.
“Hawk” was known from Billings to Sheridan and on to the Powder River. He would call every woman along the way by her first name and was welcome everywhere. My only meeting with the man was on a stop at my Grandparent’s homestead on Little Remington. He pulled his black horse up and visited with my Grandmother before he got itchy to move along. That memory was my ideal growing up of what a cowboy was rather than the Hollywood version on the big screens.
On the side of personality, he loved dances and could whoop it up, though rarely under the influence of alcohol. He would carve toys out of wood for the kids around, is photographed playing croquet at the LX Bar with the younger set, and was always willing to lend a helping hand.
Practical jokes were a way of life as all who knew him could attest. One such joke tells of a MN hunter returning to the Dobrenz hunting camp after dark. He entered the cabin and felt his way to the kitchen table to light the kerosene lamp. As he struck the match, the hair on the back of his head raised as there in the shadows sat “Hawk”, black hat pulled down, arms folded, quiet as an Indian. When the hunter practically jumped out of his skin, “Hawk” thought it a great joke.
“Hawk” died June 1, 1965 while working for Eddie Hope near Passaic, Wyoming of an apparent heart attack. His funeral, one of the largest in Sheridan held to that date, was attended by his many friends from near and far. He is buried in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery.