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Buckaroo Museum, Winnemucca Nevada


Sharkey Hunt
photo by Mary Hyde
Harry H. (Sharkey) Hunt (189?-1977)

Harry “Sharkey” Hunt was born and raised in Southwestern Idaho in the Weiser and Midvale area, according to Earl Clelland. Sharkey was a veteran of World War I. He came to Nevada and worked as a buckaroo for most of his working days. He was a medium sized, stocky fellow with a deep voice. He wore kakhi work shirts, levis rolled up on the bottom and sported suspenders, laced boots and a fedora hat. He rolled his own cigarettes from Bull Durhum tobacco. In the early 1960’s he buckarooed for Hammond Ranches Inc. in eastern Humboldt county and western Elko county. At that time he rode a newer custom built Visalia Stock Saddle Co. slick fork saddle with a high back cantle, basket stamping, a nice 3 1/2 inch roping horn and had 5inch wide Visalia stirrups. Instead of tailor made buck rolls, Sharkey fashioned his own by tightly rolling a burlap “gunny” sack and tying it across the fork using his saddle strings on each side. He used a 65 foot sea grass rope. Sharkey was an excellent roper whether he was roping calves at branding or roping horses.

One time Sharkey was working for Hammond Ranches Inc., near Golconda, Nev. around 1963 at Jake Creek Ranch. The saddle horses were running out on the range up on Jake’s Creek Mt. They were gathered in to the ranch so the crew could use them to roundup some wild horses and later gather the cattle and brand the calves. Sharkey was given a sorrel horse to ride called Yogi, he was a nice looking horse with a white blaze and four stocking legs. Sharkey was then in his sixties. He caught Yogi out of the bunch and led him outside the corral near the barn to saddle. All the horses came in off the mountain rolling fat. The bunch grass and green “bronco” grass or cheat grass put a lot of shine to them and they were snorty too. Sharkey hobbled ol’ Yogi to saddle him, bridled him up with a snaffle bit with a blind attached at the top near the brow band on the headstall. He used a long set of 3/4 inch leather split reins. He slipped the soft leather blind fold down over Yogi’s eyes, then tied his stirrups to the cinch with two thin straps. All the young Hammond kids were there and watching with anticipation. Sharkey undone the hobbles and stepped on, then slowly reached up and raised the blind up Yogi’s forehead. About then the horse felt the weight on his back and was a little cranky about the whole deal. He made a big jump straight up and he came down on the ditch bank that took water into the corrals. Yogi and Sharkey went up and down several times and the horse never slipped or fell while bucking on that slick ditch bank. All the while, the horse was bawling and breaking wind, there was Sharkey in the middle of him with a rein in each hand leaning back in the saddle hollering Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Finally, Yogi stopped jumping and Sharkey rode him off down the road a ways. That horse gave it his best shot to unload ol’ Sharkey, but couldn’t get rid of him. The hobbled stirrup trick helped keep the stirrups in place on his feet and not flying away. Many times even later when things would get in a bind for any reason ol’ Sharkey would just start hollering Whoa. It was said he took shrapnel to the head in the war and others say his hollering Whoa started after one time he rode a horse on slick ground and the horse fell and slammed Sharkey head first onto the frozen ground.

While working for the Hammond’s, Sharkey went as a representative on the Ellison ranching Co. roundup wagon which headquartered out of Squaw Valley Ranch near Midas, Nevada. He had ten head of saddle horses which he trailed to Squaw Valley about 25 miles from Hammond Ranches.

Sharkey was a good hand around cattle and was not afraid to ride most any horse, cranky or not. He could harness and drive a team of horses to buck hay to the stack or feed cattle in the winter .In his later years he worked on the hay crew ran by Jack Hammond, (Buckaroo Hall of Fame inductee 2013) stacking loose grass hay shocks to feed the cattle in the winter. In the 1970’s he slowed down from buckarooing , he stayed in a cabin that he rented from Erv and Tippy Walthers in Winnemucca. Sharkey passed away March 24, 1977 at Winnemucca, NV

Harry H. (Sharkey) Hunt was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in August 2013.

We cannot find any photos of Sharkey. The photo at the top of this page was provided courtesy of © "Buckaroo Country" photographer, Mary Williams Hyde.


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