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Ira Moore
Ira Moore
Ira Moore (1914-1997)

Great Basin Buckaroo Hall of Fame Ira Moore was a small framed, tough buckaroo that knew cattle and horses. His character and skills led to him being depended upon by many ranches throughout his lifetime.

Ira was born on July 29, 1914 in Lakeview, Oregon to Charles A. and Mildred Irma Moore. He had four brothers, Harry, Claude, Arthur, and Floyd as well as two sisters, Ella (Cox) and Joy (Bradley).

The Moore family moved to Catlow Valley when Ira was one month old and homesteaded just south of the Rock Creek Ranch headquarters. This now desolate valley was at one time full of homesteaders hoping for better times. Ira remembered his father telling him of the morning that he stood on a knoll and counted 144 homesteaders tents strewn around the valley. Gradually, the homesteaders gave up hope and left, in some cases leaving everything behind. The table may be set, ready for supper but no one was around. They'd gone for good. The Moore family stayed longer than most.

In about 1922 the Moore's moved to the town of Blitzen, still within Catlow Valley. Ira and his siblings walked or rode to school at Beckley, about three miles from Blitzen. In the summer, he and his father and brothers hayed on the Roaring Springs, Home Creek and Three Miles ranches. There was no stock water in Catlow Valley in those day, so every day they drove their thirsty horses seven or eight miles round trip to the Roaring Springs.

Ira Moore went to work for Taft Miller on the Rock Creek Ranch when he was 13 and stayed there for about eight years. He felt like part of the family. Ira and the Miller boys worked long, hard days in the saddle but enjoyed it ever so much. They'd stay in camps around Beatty's Butte and Hawks Valley south and west of Catlow Valley. Ira told of when he was about 14 years old and Don Miller was about eight years old they were moving cattle around Beatty's Butte (a long ways from the headquarters by today's modern standards). When they finished late in the afternoon and headed home to Rock Creek, they looked up and saw wild horses on the Butte. Ira and Don were not too tired to have a 'little adventure', so they rode up the mountain, circled the horses and drove them all the way home that day.

Ira was in his late teens or early 20's when he traveled far enough out of the Catlow Valley to see his first pine tree. Ira eventually moved to Ashland, Oregon where he ran a ranch. There, he met his wife Kate. In the 1940's Ira, Kate and Kate's son, Sonny, moved to Hayward, California to ride colts in the mild winter weather. There they became lifetime friends with master rawhiders, Louis and Rose Ortega. It didn't take long for the Great Basin country of Lake and Harney counties to beckon them back.

At one point in time, the Moore's were looking for work around Plush, Oregon. Ira told how they came to Con Lynch's place where Con was shoeing a horse. Ira could see that Lynch was having a difficult time with the task at hand and Ira offered to help. As Ira tells the story, he had a job with Lynches from there on. Many years later the writer of this story was visiting about this with Mary Lynch, Con's wife. She made it clear that if the truth be known, it was Kate's legendary good cooking that got them the job. Whatever the reason, Ira and Kate were a great team and asset to the Lynch Ranch for many years.

Upon Ira's retirement in about 1981, Con Lynch's son, Phil, in appreciation of Ira's dedication to the Lynch Ranch, gave Ira the ranch pickup that he had driven. For another decade or so, Ira would be seen driving that pickup with racks, and his big horse, Tico, loaded in the back, going down the road to help a neighbor or friend. In his 'retirement years' Ira Moore continued to help many ranches in Lake County including the Taylors, Flynns, Lanes, Leehmans, Fizgeralds, Garrets, and the Drews Valley Ranch, to name just a few.

Ira Moore pictured in "White Horses" Lee Raine photo

In the 1980's Ira was awarded the Lake County Stockgrowers Association 'Cattleman of the Year' for his many years of 'dragging calves to the fire' for many of the ranches in Lake County, in spite of the fact that he did not own a single cow. Another honor bestowed on Ira was Grand Marshall of the Lake County Fair and Roundup.

Ira Moore was a small man but with a huge heart. He was a hard worker, he knew cattle, and he loved to rope. In later years, Ira's had shook like leaves due to age and years of wear and tear. It was hard to hold a cup of coffee, but when Ira got a rope in his hand and a cow in front of him, there was no stopping him. He could and would rope with the best. From his early years while working for the Millers, to all the years he worked for the Lynches, and finally his retirement years of helping the Drews Valley Ranch, it can be said that Ira Moore was a buckaroo that was depended upon.

Along with his quick wit and sense of humor, Ira Moore also had a very kind heart. This is evident by all the young people that he had an influence upon. There were nieces and nephews that he helped raise. There were neighbor kids that he took a shining to and helped in any way he could. There were ranch kids that he took under his wings. Even though Ira never had any kids of his own, he helped raise a lot of them.

Ira Moore passed away on October 21, 1997. He was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 2009.