Stub Farlow’s life story is best told by him, his widow Netta, and by the people in Lander who knew him well. Remember, these were times before modern transportation or communication. Stub was well known in Wyoming and some surrounding rodeo grounds in Montana, Idaho, and Colorado – but not well known nationally. Also, there was no mention in the available literature of his prowess in bull riding and bulldogging.” Historically, steer wrestling was not a part of ranch life; this event originated in the 1930’s.” (Wikipedia, 2017)
The following information is from his widow, Netta Farlow, taken from the Pioneer Days Parade booklet, 1973. “Stub was born in Lander, February 2, 1886 and practically grew up on a horse. He got the nickname of Stub because he started riding [at the age of 5] while his legs were so short that stirrups could not be shortened enough to fit his legs. At age 15 , he began riding in the rodeos and nearly always was in the prize money.”
Stub responded to a letter from Opal Sprout McCoy, dated June 24, 1952. She was doing research for a school paper and asked him “about my life and ancestors.” One year before his death he wrote a letter in long hand and in it he states “… it was all cattle and freighting for a number of years, then some sheep, good horses, and more cattle came into the valley. In 1900 dad bought some sheep, and I got my first experience with them. Didn’t like that too much at first.
I was quite fortunate in riding and racing. I was riding relay and flat races when I was 16, also trying to ride broncs. I got this kind of sport quickly and was more fortunate in winning purses than many of the boys. I was with the Cheyenne Frontier Days Show for seven summers with C.D. Irvine, and one year with Eddie McCarty’s Cheyenne Frontier Days.”
The License Plate Cowboy
Mrs. Netta Farlow also confirmed several newspaper clippings that were included in this narrative. Basically, the information says that in “1935 Lester C. Hunt (Secretary of State for Wyoming) had two photos to choose from to depict a cowboy on the 1936 vehicle license plate and going forward, as a model of a typical cowboy; he chose the photo of Stub Farlow on Dead Man.”
Again, from Netta, “In 1913, while Stub was riding on a bronc named Dead Man, he was photographed, and it was this photo given to the artist Allen T. True who used it to make his print of the bucking horse and rider. Mr. True was paid $75.00 for his work, and the original hung in Lester Hunt’s office, a Wyoming Secretary of State and is now in the State Archives.”
The following two paragraphs are from a Wyoming State Journal of July 8, 1987, Stub Farlow Has a Valid Claim to Fame, by Jean A. Mathisen,
“By checking the 1935 and 1936 papers, proof of this claim could be verified. The December 26, 1935 issue of the Wyoming State Journal, headlined in an article on page 3, Lander Cowboy Is Rider on License Plates.”
The article went on to say: “The bronc rider on your 1936 license plates represents A. J. (Stub) Farlow of Lander, ‘The most typical cowboy I know’ Secretary of State L.C. Hunt said. Farlow, the son of E.J. Farlow, a member of the house of representatives of the Wyoming legislature, represents all that is typical and symbolic of the west.” He said, “Farlow in his heyday was everything a cowboy should be. He and his parents are old timers here. His mother was born in 1864 North of Fort Laramie. The photo chosen comes from one taken of Stub on a bronc in Idaho, Dead Man. Stub won All Around Cowboy at that rodeo.”
Stub also broke all the horses for the 4J Ranch plus government Calvary horses at Fort Keough, near Miles City, Montana. Stub as a young man, would trail 600-650 head of cattle from Lander to Casper. There, the cattle were boarded on the train for the trip to market in Omaha, Nebraska. They would herd the cattle slowly, up to a month’s time to gain some weight along the trail. The 4J ranch was named for Edward J. Farlow, Jule Farlow Sr. (Stub’s brother) and Albert Jerome (Stub), and we assume Jules Lamoureaux, the 4th J. Later Stub raised 2500 head of ewes that he wintered in the Worland area, and then would trail them back to the 4J Ranch. Stub also worked with his dad to freight supplies from Casper to Lander for several years before the train was brought to Lander.
Years before, when Stub wrote a pleasant letter to young Opal, a high school student, for her research paper, he stated, “Doc Hunt put the bucking emblem on the Wyoming license plates and published that he had selected me as the best All Around Cowboy in the State. It was a very nice gesture on his part and I am grateful for it. I never did go for publicity. I just like to be plain Stub to everyone. My folks were real pioneers in Wyoming.” He added, “Perhaps in the long run, what really matters is that a cowboy rides forever on a bucking bronc, symbolizing the spirit of Wyoming.” [the underlines are by Stub Farlow].
Bill Marion writes, “Farlow did more than just ride a hot bronc to bring renown to the state. In late days of the silent movie motion pictures, he and his father, working with the movie star, Tim McCoy, furnished the Indians and picked the locations for such celluloid epics ‘The Covered Wagon, The Iron Horse, and Thundering Herd,’ all of which have been inscribed in the history of the industry as outstanding and realistic works.
He was a man to see the fading of the pioneer period and the coming of the age of steel, science, and mechanical development, [which was] an era that touched the old and the new and struggled to weld them together without losing human values.