Emery "Shorty" Riffe
Emery Shorty Riffe, Tucker Ranch on Bobby
"Shorty" Riffe (1864-1953)
(Shorty) Riffe was born July 26, 1884, in Elko County Nevada, to Oliver
and Sarah (White) Riffe, both of Lagan County, West Virginia. Oliver came
west to Elko County in 1872. He purchased 160 acres including a house
from John W. Williams. This property was known as Williamss station
located north and west of Jiggs, Nevada. It was here that Oliver began
his sheep operation. In 1881 he returned to Virginia for the winter, and
married Sarah E. White, on January 27, 1881. They both returned to the
Valley in Elko County where they made their home and had their children.
Rosa May born February 1882, Emery born July 1884, James Peter born March
1885, Gordon born April 1887 and Joseph James born November 1888.
Emerys mother died in March of 1889 leaving five young children
to be raised. A Mrs. Sangninet took the youngest to raise which left Oliver
with the other 4 children. Oliver with the help of his hired man managed
to care for the children and keep the ranch operating. Emery was even
mentioned in the newspaper reporting his progress in school.
father Oliver eventually sold the ranch and bought land near North Fork
in the same area. Then he retired in 1926 and moved to San Diego, California.
He died in 1928 from injuries sustained when hit by a car after stepping
off a trolley car.
In 1928 Emery (Shorty) then returned to Nevada. He came to Humboldt County,
Nevada, where he purchased the Rock Creek, Tucker Place, China Creek and
sheep ranch in Pumpernickle Valley south of Golconda, Nevada. He kept
these ranches 2-3 years, then sold them and went to work Buckarooing.
He was a Buckaroo Boss for the C S ranches in the late thirties, then
went to work for Able and Curtner in Paradise Valley, Nevada as their
Buckaroo Boss, and continued in that position for the McCleary Ranches.
Many colorful stories are told in the Buckaroo circle, and one told on
Shorty was when he was gathering cattle out on the Owyhee Desert. He was
riding in a rocky area, when he rode by this rock that stood pretty high
off the ground. A rattlesnake all coiled and ready to strike anything
that came by, nabbed Shorty. He rode his horse at a gallop and trot to
Golconda, Nevada, which was 35 to 40 miles, got on the train to Winnemucca
to a doctor.
Everyone that knew or worked with Shorty said, he was a good man
to take orders from, knew his work well and was an excellent horseman,
no matter which outfit he worked for, he was dedicated and treated the
stock like they were his own, very loyal to his boss. He had a lot of
patience and taught many young boys the art of being good hands when it
came to handling horses and cattle.
Shorty passed away May 7, 1953 in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Emery (Shorty) Riffe was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in 1990.