Once upon a time in Kansas, the cradle of cowboy country, Dale Schmidt began his lifelong career as a working ranch cowboy.
He became accustomed to hard work at an early age on many of the well known ranches in Kansas and Oklahoma. In retrospect, Dale was a legend of his own.
Early on in 1965, he handled cow/calf and yearling cattle for A.H. Parks in Eureka. He was exposed to doctoring cattle at Crowfoot Feed Lot, Strong City; Lowder Ranch, Allen; Flinthills Feed Lot, Potwin; Buster Wheat Cattle Company, Allen, as a pen rider and cattle processor.
He continued in western Kansas, Texas and New Mexico; Bouziden Ranch, Cedar Vale; Drummond Ranch, Pawhuska, Okla.; Wakefield Ranch, Atlanta; Prairieland and Cattle (Shauver Ranch), Rock; Locke Grass and Cattle and El Dorado Livestock Auction, in El Dorado.
In Dale’s words, he never retired from his life as a cowboy until his accident in 2012. As a working ranch cowboy, it was a very rewarding life because of the men he met along the way and getting this hands-on training. “They would cut you out a horse … but from the swell of your saddle on, belongs to them. Behind that saddle belongs to you, and you can use it any way you want to as long as you don’t abuse the front end,” Dale said. “I never forgot that and learned that as long as you never abuse the front end of that horse, he’ll always perform for you.”
He said he’d never forget those old boys, as they taught him a lot. “It was a hard life. You sometimes thought that after a hard day’s work, you were ready to quit and do something else. But when daylight came, you couldn’t wait until you could get back in the saddle,” he said.
Dale’s journey ended as a cowboy on May 25, 2019, when he rode off into the sunset.
“Life will change without our permission; it’s our attitude that will determine the ride.”
Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Jane Schmidt, as a tribute to her deceased husband, Dale Schmidt, who worked as a cowboy in south-central Kansas. Jane worked at Graves in Winfield for more than 20 years. The couple moved to Tucson, Ariz., after Dale had an accident in 2012.