WY Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee: William (Bill) Greer

© 2017-Lusk Herald

William (Bill) Greer was born on July 9, 1935 to Olen & Clara Greer, in Gillette, Wyo. Bill was raised on a small farm/ranch 16 miles SE of Gillette. The ranch was very diversified raising cattle, sheep, horses, hogs and the customary chickens and milk cow. The cattle were the main emphasis and they took pride in their horses. His Dad liked to trade horses so there was always several around.

During highschool, Bill worked at the local saddle shop and with Ed Stok, becoming a leather craftsman. He made a lot of belts, purses, etc. and tack, even making his own saddles. He welcomed the opportunity to help young people with their 4-H leather work projects.

At the age od 16 Bill began working at the Gillette Livestock Exchange and eventually became the scale man. In the 20 plus years he worked there, he not only enjoyed doing the weighing, but all the work of sorting and yarding back, checking in the livestock, loading R.R. cars, etc.

Bill graduated with the highschool class of 1954 as an honor student and was class president for 3 years. On Jan 1, 1957 he married Glenis Smelser. To this union was born Andy in 1958 and Janet in 1959. After their marriage they worked for Don & Bonnie Marquiss on their ranch south of Gillette and later for Dutch Tanner on the American Ranch NE of Gillette. He would recall the days on the American ranch, including feeding cows in the winter with a pack horse and feeding the cows where ever he found them on his 15 mile circle. He would refill the panniers at various stops along the way. One summer he broke a leg and “rigged” up a sling type thing so he could get on and off the horse.

In 1962 Bill & Glenis (and kids) moved back to the family ranch, which they later purchased and leased land also.

Bill was a natural cow man and had a keen eye for good cattle. He spent many hours and miles horseback with the cattle, especially each spring, range calving the cows. He roped 100’s of newborn calves out in the pasture to paste (dehorn) and castrate the bull calves. Needless to say, he ran into a few unhappy mamas who didn’t appreciate him messing with her baby. Even though the cattle was the main focus for income, Bill loved the horses. He liked to work with them and spend time in the saddle, occasionally doing day-work in the neighborhood. Bill took pride in raising their horses and training them. He liked making the young colts into good cow horses. He broke his first horse at age 14. He was hired at age 16 by Ed Wolff and Allen Breen to help trail a herd of cows & calves from Gillette to Douglas. In his younger days he would always take some horses to town to race them at the Campbell Co. fair. With his small stature he made a pretty good jockey.

In 1982 Bill & Glenis sold their Campbell Co. ranch and purchased a ranch near Lance Creek in Niobrara County. They loaded up their cattle and horses and headed South. They were welcomed into the new community and Bill still enjoys helping the neighbors with what ever cowboy work he can do. They operate the ranch with their son Andy & family. Even at age 82 he remains active on the ranch helping with riding, fencing and what ever needs done.

And even with the popularity of the 4-wheelers, Bill is adamant that you handle cattle on horse back. That is just the way it was meant to be.


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