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Cook, Charlie “Chaz”

 

Charlie Cook was born in 1932 in an old farmhouse west of Sheridan, Wyoming to parents William Albert Cook and Ima Irene Frink. He got his education in Sheridan except for a couple of years at the Wolf Creek School and ultimately graduated from Sheridan High School.

Charlie’s ranching career started on the Lodge Grass Creek Ranch then to Wolf Creek Ranch and spent three years wrangling dudes for the Eaton Ranch. The fall of 1952 he moved to southern Colorado and went to work at a cow camp for the Trinchera Ranch up in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains north of Alamosa, Colorado.

In February of 1953, Uncle Sam wiggled his finger at Charlie and said follow me. Follow he did to Okinawa and Japan for 18 months. In February of 1955 he was discharged from the service and returned to Sheridan where he spent the next 5 years on the Rapid Creek Ranch with summers up on the mountain. He got married, a union which lasted 24 years and produced one son, Matt, and raised 5 other boys.

After numerous other jobs, Charlie spent the next 17 years as the Ranch Manager for the Yellowbird Ranch and then retired. As part of his retirement, Charlie has taken up leatherwork, saddle making, and packing for Spear O Wigwam Guest Ranch. He has wrangled dudes, chariot raced, and driven and packed mules.

In 1982 Charlie and his wife divorced and for the next 20 years he was a bachelor. Then, as fate would have it (along with some careful planning) Charlie managed to capture the heart of a longtime friend and avid horsewoman Sue Sorenson from Arvada, Wyoming. The two were wed on November 15, 2001 and now take up residence in Buffalo, Wyoming. They still maintain Charlie’s ranch on Hwy 14 out of Sheridan and have enjoyed packing, hunting, ranching and walking in the mountains.

Charlie is also a published cowboy poet whose poems are inspired by his ranching and cowboy lifestyle. They are a collection of amusing and entertaining stories and rhymes that come straight from a man who has been there and done that. His cowboy poetry career started the winter of 1948/1949 when he was snowed in on Wolf Creek and he passed the time by reading and re-reading the Western Horseman. He soon had all the poems memorized.

While in the service of his country, Charlie wrote letters to his mother in which he penned several poems. His mother had some of his poems published in magazines. None of the letters were saved and only the published poems were kept. Among them was a poem titled “Homesick” which is included in his book “Good Dogs, Good Horses and Good Women,” his first (and hopefully not his last) cowboy poetry book.

Charlie still enjoys helping fellow ranchers when they gather, brand, sort, ship and any other ranching activities. He enjoys hunting and despite his macular degeneration he is still an accomplished marksman and hunter (if he has Sue to sight him in). He is also in high demand to recite his cowboy poetry and enjoys doing that whenever and wherever he is asked to do so.

He is horse and cow savvy, generous, kind, always a gentleman and has that dry cowboy sense of humor and the benefit of wisdom which comes from years of experience. Even though his ranching, riding and leather crafting activities are slowing down as he ages he still promotes the cowboy lifestyle through his cowboy poetry.