Lynn Horace Kimball
Lynn & "Chico"
Horace Kimball (1909-1976)
Brainard, Minnesota was the birthplace of Lynn Horace Kimball on May 8,
1909. Lynn was one of 8 children in the Kimball family. In 1911 the family
moved to Montana and eked out a living farming and breaking draft horses.
One of Lynn’s earliest successes with breaking horses was hitching up
one of his Dad’s huge draft horses.
At the age of 14, Lynn left home and headed south from Montana. He worked
at various ranches though out the West and at one time ended up buckarooing
in Arizona. That stay didn’t last long for the Arizona “cowboys” made
fun of Lynn’s gear, his 60-foot reata and single fire cinch. Lynn, in
turn, thought that the “hard and fast” method of roping cattle used in
Arizona left much to be desired. He much preferred the “dally” method
used on the various Nevada ranches where he had worked.
After Lynn and Arizona parted company, Lynn became quite well known as
a saddle bronc rider in the various rodeos held around the West.
In the early 1930’s Lynn landed in Winnemucca, Nevada. Mention was made
of Lynn in an article published in “The West Magazine”. The article was
entitled “Cowboys I have known” and was written about another “Buckaroo
Hall of Famer” Tom Minor. In this article Tom was quoted as saying that
“in his opinion the leading old time bronc riders in 1936 ranked as follows,
First, Harry Brennan, second, Bob Ward of Oregon, third, Billie Bowman
of American Falls, Idaho, fourth a young Lem Kimball, of Winnemucca, Nevada,
fifth, Ross Dollarhide of Lakeview, Oregon and sixth Harry Holt of Paradise
World War II years found Lynn in the army stationed in Europe. He received
a medal for expert marksmanship and two bronze stars for heroism. He was
awarded a Purple Heart for suffering a broken back and spent many months
in a hospital in London, England. The only transportation available was
a bicycle which proved to be very difficult for Lynn to ride. A kind elderly
English woman offered to tow him if he could find a piece of rope. Using
“Buckaroo” ingenuity, Lynn rigged up a tow system by re-arranging the
bike pieces and attaching his back brace in such a manner that allowed
him to travel.
After the War, Lynn went to work for Frank McCleary as the Buckaroo Boss
for the Circle A ranches in Paradise Valley, Nevada. On July 1, 1950 he
married Martha Olds Meginness and acquired a daughter named Janie. In
1952 a fourth member, Jean Raker, joined Lynn, Martha and Janie (now Janie
McNinch). (Now Jean Mentaberry).
The memories of the various “buckaroo camps” still bring a smile and feeling
of nostalgia for a way of life that relatively few are privileged to have
experience. Lynn was in charge of managing approximately 25,000 head of
cattle during his years with McCleary Cattle Company. The “dry” camps
in the spring were 8 Mile and 12 Mile as the cattle were herded to the
spring range. Then came the “fun” camps, The Forks, Little Owyhee, Calico
and Quinn River. About 3 to 4 weeks were spent at each camp, depending
on the condition of the range. Lynn’s crew consisted at various times
of buckaroos numbering 3 to 8. The names were Archie Bonner, Jerry Roberts,
Lon Johnson, Woody Bell (for one summer) Jim Foster, cranky old Pat Herd
and cooks like Lawrence Murphy (better known as “Murph”) “Happy” Ralph
Sims, whose pies were only rivaled by Martha Kimball, just to name a few.
The cavieta that was used for the summer generally numbered from 80 to
90 head of horses. Lynn’s string of horses was ones he had broke himself
or finished after being started. They had to be good, stout, hard working
cow horses. For Lynn always rode the “outer circle” during the roundups.
Lynn was noted for being an excellent snaffle-bit man, the colts he broke
had “light” mouths and could turn on a dime. Every colt he broke also
learned to walk with long strides that ate away the many miles it would
During any slack time, Lynn learned to work with rawhide and became quite
adept at braiding reins, reatas, bosals and hackamores. He had also devised
a set of tools that made fleshing and sizing the rawhide easier.
After many years with the Circle A Outfit, Lynn retired from buckarooing
and became employed with the U.S. Forest Service, utilizing his many skills
as a horseman and received many a bonus for his innovative methods of
construction useful in his duties with the Forest Service.
One of Lynn’s greatest pleasures was to talk to youngsters, whether it
be his grandkids or some of the young people in Paradise Valley and many
a night found him playing cribbage, talking horses or telling stories
about the good “ole” days.
Lynn passed away on September 27, 1976 at the age of 67, and will always
be remembered as a really good Buckaroo.
Lynn was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 1999.
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