Monday, 16 August 2010 10:37

25 Years Ago Late Summer/Early Autumn 1984

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From general news sources of the day and the summer 1984 issue of The Draft Horse Journal)

That summer issue had a very strong western flavor, and introduced a young couple named Mike and Dixie Myhre from Custer, Montana, to our readership. The cover shot was of five of their Belgian mares and a foal on a beautiful Montana pasture. Our subscription roles tell me that they still reside at Custer, Montana, just in case you are interested in buying some of the progeny from those cover girls of 25 years ago.

When the Myhres submitted these photos they wrote the following: "Four of the mares on the cover were raised here and the fifth was bought from McGrew's Greentop Farm in Illinois." Miles McGrew, who was no doubt in charge when they bought that cornbelt mare, has long since been succeeded by sons Bill and Ken and you will find them on the back outside cover of most every issue we've ever published. And my guess is that they are still willing to sell a Belgian or two to a young couple from Montana or anyplace else. Here is what Dixie said when she sent those pictures to us."

"In 1962 when we were young and out to conquer the world, we moved to Montana to buy a ranch. That had been my husband's dream since he was two years old. That same year we discovered our little ranch snuggled in the foothills and at the end of the road. It took another ten years and having three sons before we were able to buy our dream ranch."

"So we have now been ranching here on 'Trail's End' for twelve years and have found the only way to feed our Angus cattle, every day and on time, is with a team." They were also busy building a log cabin down along the creek in their mountain pasture as a rental. They sounded like an enterprising young couple and we were proud to have them on the cover.

They sent in some interesting snapshots of their Belgians at work on their "Trails End" ranch and we will rerun some of those down-home photos that were used in that 25-year-old issue.  I'll close this commentary with the closing paragraph of their letter: "The way our country's economy is now, ranching and farming are two of the worst possible ways to make a living … but the best way to live a life." Does that sound familiar?

The rest of that issue included a feature on the Haythorn Land & Cattle Company near Arthur, Nebraska. Their spread was a little bigger, amounting to about 63,000 acres. So we will run a few pictures from the Haythorn story as well. The one thing that is constant is that we still hold that WORKING DRAFT HORSES was and is important to the farms of America.

Then just down the road in that issue came "Farming with Draft Horses in North Carolina" with Dean Beaver of Bear Creek, North Carolina.

And as if that weren't enough we also ran a story of a commercial thinning operation in California using horses to skid the logs that was conducted on the Latour Demonstration State Forest. Three men and five horses worked 64 days removing 400,780 board feet. The author was Dave McNamara, the forest manager of the Latour Demonstration State Forest at that time, from Redding, California.

It was a 172-pager and in retrospect I'm mighty proud of it. And now for the so-called "Big News" from 1984:

In June of 1984, the average price of an American home had reached the magic number of $100,000. I guess that was proof positive that the land of the free and home of the brave had done what nobody else ever had–so the Republicans renominated Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. for another go at it … with Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona as the party cheerleader.

The Democrats had already nominated Walter Mondale, a Minnesota senator. Mondale picked Representative Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. She was (obviously) a female, and from the east … Queens to be exact. She was also a Catholic … thereby breaking another rule.

It was a longshot at best. In November it proved to be a disaster for the Democrats as the Reagan-Bush ticket carried 49 of the 50 states. The lone exception was Minnesota, which proved that Swedes will and can, even under extenuating circumstances, vote for Democrats. It has nothing to do with stubbornness. I know, I'm a Swede.

In July of 1984, the federal government bailed out a major Chicago bank by providing a 4.5 million dollar loan to the Continental Illinois Bank & Trust Co. as part of the largest package of federal support ever given to any private enterprise. So the federal bailouts for private enterprises isn't exactly as brand new as some would have you believe. That was a million–not a trillion–and done by a "Conservative" Republican Congress. Maybe it is true that there is really nothing brand new under the sun.

In July of that summer the Olympics opened in Los Angeles, California. I think that was a first for the United States. Despite the boycott of the event by the Soviet Union it attracted more than 7,000 athletes from 140 nations … the largest number in the history of the games. The American hero was Carl Lewis, a black man, who set an Olympic record in the 200 meter final for his third gold metal.

And with that I will close this column for you to enjoy some of the many fine pictures from 25 Years Ago.


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