Introducing 2011 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee…
Mildred “Mickey” Styer (1917... )
Mildred “Mickey” Evelyn Ellis Styer was born May 19, 1917, in Roy, MT, to parents Pearl Lee and Jennie Ellen Ellis. In 1921, the family moved back to Missouri and Mildred grew up in Rutledge, Missouri, where she completed her education. In 1934, at age 17, Mildred and her parents moved back to Roy, MT. where they operated the Nick Nickolson Cafe and Hotel. This is where she met her future husband, Ed Styer.
On June 29, 1935, Mildred and Ed were married in Lewistown, MT. They had $50.00 to start married life north of Roy. They broke horses for $5.00/head, and Mildred rode a “form fitting” saddle that Ed had made. In 1936, and 1937, their two children, Alta Mae and Jack were born. In 1938, they bought an old log house that had to be taken apart and reassembled and moved it to Armell’s Creek and moved in while it was only half finished.
In the mid-1940’s, Ed went back East to rodeo, so Mildred moved to the Holland Ranch with some milk cows, 35 cows, and 15 yearlings, but the deal didn’t work out, so she leased a place at Heath, MT, from Joe Finley and put the kids in school at the Piper School. In 1947, Mildred and Ed also leased the Galloway Ranch and Ed spent part of his time there and part time with Mildred and the kids.
In 1947, Mildred started working at the Lewistown Livestock Sale Yard yarding cattle horseback, which was a good job for colts, and it paid 50 cents/hour and 25 cents for the horse. She worked there for 44 years under several owners and clerked the sales for most of those years. In 44 years of working at the Yards, Mickey missed about 12 sale days. She was very dependable and accurate and was considered one of the best clerks in the business. Mickey always had milk cows and would take cream to the Lewistown Creamery when she went to town to work the sale. Part of this time the family lived in Roy, then moved to a leased place at Fergus, MT.
In 1947, Mildred was the only woman to compete in the endurance race from Hell Creek to Miles City. To prepare for this race, she rode her horse from the ranch at Heath to Gilt Edge and back (30 miles). She was in 7th place when her horse went lame at Angela, MT. She had ridden 100 miles in 10 hours. There was only about 20 miles left, but she didn’t want to hurt the horse, so she quit the race.
In 1953, Mildred and Ed bought the Galloway ranch and the family moved there for good. For the first several years they ran their cattle on open range so there was a lot of riding to do, which made for good horses, and Mickey, being a good horse hand, had lots of them. Later the range was fenced and there wasn’t as much riding. Over the years, they seeded most of the farm ground to alfalfa and crested wheat and raised cattle and hay. For almost 20 years, they put up the hay on the Neil & Hicks ranch near Lewistown. They would finish the work at the home place and move to town to hay that place. Mickey continued to always have milk cows, chickens and a good garden.
Mildred helped build the rodeo arena at Roy about 1953, and was a timer at the rodeo from the beginning until 1989, nearly 40 years.
Mildred “Mickey” Styer could do any job on anybody’s ranch and was considered to be a good horse hand and a good hand with all livestock.
TIME AND WIND AND RAIN
by Mildred Styer
The passing of time, the wind and the rain For Mother Nature they toil They work night and day to return things man made To their natural place in the soil The Farmer came with shining plow To till the fertile soil But every year disaster struck Their efforts all to foil The crude built shacks and sagging fences are all that now remain They came from earth They shall return through time and wind and rain. Time and wind and rain will heal the scars upon the sod And then there’ll be just grass again A land returned to God The shining plow, the wire fence, the rain will cause to rust And with the time the shack will fall The wind will spread the dust That man was made from earth tis said He shall return again And with his death his struggle ends With time and wind and rain.