About the Author
In 1894, when Val was eight, the family temporarily moved from the homestead to a ranch that was near the postoffice for the tiny community of Lay, Colorado (originally called Lay Over, as it was the crossroads of the government road from Wyoming and the wagon road west towards Utah, and was a handy place to stop for the night). Val writes, We were right in the mainstream of whatever traffic there might be in the region. Hardly a day passed but there came ranchers, cowpunchers, an occasional prospector or trapper, a few Indians, and now and then an outlaw. In this same year, 1894, the outlaw Teton Jackson died in a jail break in Idaho. Although Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch had not yet attracted much attention, they occasionally stopped for food and shelter.
At the ripe old age of 13, Val got a job at the K Diamond Cattle Company, and at 14 he went to work for the prestigious Two-Bar Ranch, the goal of nearly every young man in the area. Thus began Vals career as a cowpuncher. Vals other careers over the years included geologist, civil engineer, and newspaperman. Twice he was made Grand Marshall of the Craig Ride n Tie Days Rodeo, once at age 98, and again at age 100. Val died on July 3, 1988, at the age of 102.