Learning from the past.
“Every time a generation passes on, if those facts are not documented, it loses something. Pretty soon nobody even remembers The Olson Ranch, for example,” says Jim Chamley, President of ND Cowboy Hall of Fame.
The Olson Ranch began in 1897 when Ole Olson squatted on 160 acres in the Badlands.
“He rode in and had found the ranch he wanted with springs, hay and grass, and good coulees for protection for the cows for livestock. He found that in Dunn County,” says Hazel Jorgenson, Olson’s Granddaughter & Current Ranch Manager.
Olson cut trees from the Little Missouri River and hauled the logs back to his ranch 5 miles away with a wagon and team of horses.
“That’s how it began,” says Jorgenson.
By 1912, he had began raising 3 to 4 year old steers to ship both to St. Paul and Chicago by railroad. A few years later, the markets changed and he switched yearlings and 2 year olds. His children have continued that process into present day.
“It’s been a very productive, very successful ranch. We’ve had excellent neighbors to work with ever since my grandparents came there,” says Jorgenson.
The Ranching Division honors ranches that have made significant contributions to the development and promotion of the livestock industry, ranching, or western lifestyle. Although many ranches were nominated to the Cowboy Hall of Fame, only two -including the Olson Ranch- made it to this point. Over 200 trustees will be voting for the 2018 inductees.
The results will be announced on April 28th, and the Induction Ceremony will be in Medora on June 15th and 16th.