“You know, there aren’t exactly classes in the country…” Andy in an interview with the Saturday Evening Post
Andrew “Andy” Olson was born near White City, Kansas on April 28, 1912 to Ole and Katharine Amthauer Olson. Helen Ebbutt Olson was born on January 19, 1914 to William and Margaret Ebbutt on the family farm north of Dwight, Kansas. Helen attended school at Ebbutt Grade School and graduated from Halfacre School after her parents purchased a ranch north of Skiddy. In 1932, she graduated from Xavier High School in Junction City. Helen had two sisters, Edith and Bessie with whom she helped her parents farm and ranch. Her and sister Bessie where especially adept at riding and handling horses. Helen married Andrew Olson, who grew up east of Skiddy on February 15, 1933. They rented a farm four miles north of Helen’s parents while Andy worked for the Geary County Extension-Farm Bureau office in Junction City. Andy was more of farmer than a rancher, but excelled in ranching after learning the ropes from Helen and his father-in-law, William Ebbutt. In May 1935, their daughter Lois “Elaine” was born. In 1938, they bought their ranch on Four-Mile Creek about seven miles southwest of Council Grove. Their nationally recognized herd originated from a highly bred Angus heifer which Helen won by guessing closest to her weight at Geary County Better Live-Stock Days. The Olson’s were instrumental in starting the 4-H program along Four-Mile Creek in 1945, which every eligible child joined. Their 4-H activities gave them national attention when an article in the November 30, 1946 Saturday Evening Post about 4-H in the U.S. featured Andy Olson. As the herd grew, the Olson’s purchased both farm and pasture which extended into Chase County. The Olson Ranch grew further when Elaine and husband, Norval Deschner, with twin daughters, Kim and Sue, returned from Japan in 1958 after the Korean Conflict. The Deschner’s bought 400 acres up the Creek, which made the ranch over 2,000 acres, most of it being pasture. A short bout of cancer took Helen’s life on August 10, 1962, when she was only 48. Andy died on March 23, 2004. Both are buried at Four Mile Cemetery near Council Grove.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame connection: Helen’s father William F. Ebbutt was inducted into the 2012 Hall of Fame as Rancher/Cattleman.
“Think outside the cow.”
Jane Koger was born into a ranching family in Emporia, Kansas on June 14, 1953, the daughter of Betty (Beedle) and Evan Koger. Raised in Cottonwood Falls, she is a fourth generation rancher on her mother’s side in Chase County. Today all five Koger siblings have ranching interests in Kansas. She grew up wanting to be a cowboy and Stoney Burke was her hero. At age six she wanted a black horse with a white blaze named Lightning. She got the horse, but his name was Billy. While in high school, her interest in ranching faded, and in the 1970’s she moved to Idaho. Her father urged her to read “Atlas Shrugged.” Knowing that running a ranch rather than owning a railroad was within reach, she was inspired to return to her father’s ranch in Kiowa County. She worked as a cowhand there before returning to Chase County in the late 1970’s. She and her youngest sister, Kay Lauer, bought land in Chase County near Matfield Green that they discovered had been originally homesteaded by their great-grandparents. Since 1983, Jane has operated the Homestead Ranch named in honor of this family history. Jane has been a cow calf producer her working life. Jane also offered a program called Prairie Woman Adventures Retreat that allowed women to participate in hands-on ranching including calving, branding and weaning. This program also gave her the chance to connect with the consumer and educate them about ranching and beef. Some of her management practices changed as she learned more about their issues of animal welfare and food safety. Over the years she has learned the key to successful ranching is good range management, and her focus shifted from cattle to grass. In 2004 she started the Homestead Ranch Renewal Initiative which involved experimenting with patch burn grazing. Several universities conduct research on her ranch in her never-ending quest to try new things and “think outside the cow.” Jane has been awarded the Society for Range Management’s Excellence in Grazing Management Award, Chase County Conservation District’s Grassland Award, and Water and Energy Project’s Model of Innovation Award. She was designated a “Friend of Flint Hills” by the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. In 1994, she hosted on her ranch an all-women’s orchestra, Symphony on the Prairie. Today she lives off the grid in a hay bale house. She believes the Code of the West is as relevant today as it was when it was written.
“We’re Burning Daylight!”
Olis (Oley) Glenn Goodnight was born at Ashland, Kansas to Olis Glenn Goodnight, Sr. and Iona Grace McKinney Goodnight on October 29, 1929. Oley was raised in Englewood, Kansas. Oley and Shirley Franks were united in marriage on October 5, 1952 at San Diego, CA where Oley was stationed. In April 1954, while stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, their first child, Sherre was born. After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1954, he, his wife and their daughter returned to Englewood. Oley worked for the Theis Ranch from 1954 to 1959. During this time they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Dana, in March of 1955 and daughter Gayle in August 1959. Oley left the Theis Ranch in 1959 and began leasing a small farm acreage as well as working the Goodnight parcels of land; some of these parcels have been in the Goodnight family for more than 100 years. This was the beginning of what is now the Goodnight Ranch. In December 1961, their son, Greg, was born. They started with a Hereford cow/calf herd and later expanded to a stocker feeder operation with large acreages of wheat and alfalfa. Later the Goodnights added a substantial neighboring ranch to theirs when they purchased part of the Claremont Ranch, which was established in the 1880’s by Englewood’s founder C.D. Perry, from Mrs. Locke Theis. Oley has always had a love for quarter horses. He and four of his cowboy-turned-seamen shipmates would anxiously await the newest Quarter Horse Journal magazine aboard the U.S.S. Pine Island AU-12 in the Pacific Ocean during the Korean War. The five mates were featured in the August 1952 issue in a picture that read, “We five boys, all good buddies, really like our Quarter Horses. … Since we can’t be at home and work with our own horses, The Journal kind of helps to take the place of our horses.” Oley stocks a number of AQHA quarter horses for ranch work, and breeds and trains and races thoroughbred horses. In 1995, the family bought a longhorn steer and named him Smoky. Smoky graced Dodge City with his presence for years residing in the Longhorn Park east of town. Oley was elected Trustee of the Sand Creek Township in Meade County in 2000 and continues to serve on that board. Oley served on the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service boards in Clark and Meade Counties. He also served on the USD 220 School Board from 1966 to 1976. Oley and Shirley are active in the Methodist Church in Ashland. Their second daughter, Dana, died in 2007. Son, Greg has taken over the Ranch. Oley and Shirley have 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren which keeps them active.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame connection: Olis is the younger brother of 2002 Historian Don Goodnight.
“It’s been a lot of fun, truly a great life,” Wayne Alexander.
“We were lucky that Dad was a cowboy and gave us the opportunity to follow in his line of work,” Bob Alexander.
The Alexander brothers were both born at the Alexander Ranch, Council Grove Kansas to O.E. “Bud” and Maude Alexander; Bob on September 17, 1920 and Wayne on September 1, 1923. Almost before they could walk, they and younger brother Jim were taught how to sit on a horse. As they grew up, Bob and Wayne helped their father, who was in the grazing business, drive cattle from Kamisky to the Missouri Pacific yards or to the Flint Hills pastures. They grew up in the ranching business, working on horseback often from before sunup to sundown keeping the cattle in line and doctoring them when needed. This work evolved into an interest in ranch rodeo where the brothers made a name for themselves as participants, pickup men and judges. During World War II, Bob served in the National Guard and Wayne in the Army Air Corps. When their father retired after the War, Bob took over his ranch. Wayne and his wife helped run a diary farm south of Council Grove where they birthed and raised many a calf and milked cows. In the early 1950’s, Wayne became a steel worker, but helped Bob at the ranch when he wasn’t competing in rodeos. Upon retirement in the late 1970’s, Wayne returned to the Council Grove area to work with Bob as a roper and he began raising Angus cattle. For decades Wayne’s Black Angus beef was very popular in the Council Grove and Topeka area. Bob competed in old timer events and rode horses until well into his 80’s. Bob was a charter member of the Council Grover Future Farmers of America Chapter and was active in Morris County 4-H and Fair. Both are members of the American Quarter Horse Association and numerous rodeo associations. Both Bob and Wayne are retired. Bob had been married to his wife, Georgina for 73 years at the time of his induction to the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame. They have four children, Barbara Lerner, Tom Alexander, Vicky Martin and Jeff Alexander. Bob’s grandson, Jimmy Lerner and great-grandsons have taken over his custom grazing pastures. Wayne died on Nov. 25, 2014. He had four children, Connie Alexander, Nancy Sharp, Sandy Cameron and Rick Alexander. There were times throughout their ranching career when Bob Alexander worked with his friend and fellow 2014 Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Working Cowboy, Dusty Anderson.
Year inducted: 2014
“I’d like to do something in my lifetime to help the people in the cattle industry.”
Raymond E. Adams, Jr. was born in Maple Hill, Kansas, on April 10, 1931, to Raymond E. Adams, Sr. and Jessie Stewart Adams. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1954 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Animal Science and Industry. He then received a commission in the U.S. Air Force in 1954 and was honorably discharged in May 1956. He later partnered with his father, operating the Adams Cattle Company, headquartered at Maple Hill, Kansas. The operation included a feedlot, an extensive farming operation, a back grounding program of calves raised and purchased, and a grazing program in the Flint Hills. He also owned and operated the XIT Ranch in Southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, where the company’s cow/calf program was maintained. Raymond took great pride in his involvement with the creation of U.S. Premium Beef. He was a founding member and served on the founding board. He also served on the board of directors of the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and Stormmont-Vail Hospital, Topeka. In 2004, he received a Kansas Livestock Association award for 50 years of membership. That same year, he was named Commercial Breeder of the Year by the Kansas Hereford Association. He was Livestock and Meat Industry Council Stockman of the Year in 2005. In 2006, Raymond received the outstanding Stockman Award for K-State’s Block and Bridle Club. Raymond E. Adams, Jr. dedicated his life to the production of quality cattle and horses. Adams passed away at the age of 78 on September 3, 2009, at his home in Maple Hill. He left behind his six children: Raymond E. Adams III, Marie Adams-Dolembo, Sally Bitar, John C. Adams, Clay S. Adams and Charles A. Adams, as well as eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Raymond Adams was a fourth generation cattleman. Three of his sons, Eddie, John and Clay, carry on the business as the fifth generation.
Year inducted: 2013
“He was a leader in all that he did,” son Bill Barby.
Alfred Barby was born September 3, 1915 to Louis and Edith Barby near Knowles, Oklahoma. He graduated high school in Laverne, Oklahoma and attended Dodge City Commercial Business College. After graduation he worked for Robbins Ranch Company of Belvidere, Kansas as a foreman and bookkeeper for 15 years. He made a home along the Cimarron River north of Knowles joining the family ranching operations. Alfred’s first wife, Dorothy Allen, passed away. In 1958 he married Gwenda Lea Wheeler. This union lasted 43 years. Alfred purchased the VV Long Ranch south of Meade, Kansas where he lived most of the rest of his life. In 1971 he bought part of the Harper Ranch near Ashland, Kansas. His total holdings exceeded 30,000 acres and he ran as many as 2,000 cattle. Alfred had two sons who still live in the area, Bill and Allen; and a daughter, Jean O’Brien who resides in Leawood, Missouri. He was a leader in all that he did and was a member of many organizations including the Kansas Livestock Association, the Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, The Meade County Fair Board, and both the American and Kansas Hereford Associations. Alfred served on the Kansas Livestock Association board of directors. He received the Meade County Western Heritage Award in 1999 and The KLA Cattleman of the Century Award. Gwenda died on December 4, 2001 in Meade. Alfred passed away in Laverne, Oklahoma on October 2, 2005 at the age of 90 leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered by many.
Year inducted 2008