Francis Walker

Ural’s Funeral in St. Ignatius, Montana

Walker, Francis Ray and Myrna (Kohl)

Francis was born on a July 25, 1926 to Ray and Gladys along with four sisters Iris, Elaine, Dorothy and Virginia (Betty). Mom later married Ural Walker and had a daughter Patsy. We resided in the Coriander District until the family moved three miles north of Val Marie in 1942 so Dorothy, Betty and Patsy could attend school.

I quit school in 1941 at 15 to stay home and help Pop on the farm. Pop bought me my first ½ section of land owned by Oscar Sims. In fall and winter I hunted coyotes and got about $5 a pelt. Life was good; we always had a lot of company. Mom and Dorothy did all the cooking while Betty and I did the outside chores – we were always together.

In 1938 Pop bought a brand new Chevy pickup truck from McNabb for $870, a lot of money in those days. We went to Wallard and bought 30 bushels of barley for 15 cents a bushel. Our farming was done with two sets of horses. We finished seeding in about a week. Later on in summer were summerfallowed using a six-foot One Way with eight horses.

In 1949 I took up the sport of ‘rodeoing’, only going to a few, but made enough money to pay for a hired man all summer. Plus I had a good time.
I bought my first bunch of Angus heifers in 1947 from Walt Larson and have been raising and promoting the Angus breed ever since.

In 1957 Mom and Pop moved to St. Ignatius, Montana. Pop was down in the area in 1933, fell in love with the country and always said he was going back there to retire. I took over the farming end and looked after my cattle. In 1961 I bought the ranch on the Frenchman River from James McNabb and have resided there ever since.

In summer 1962 I was returning home from Cypress Hills with a load of poles and picked up three girls hitch-hiking south of Kincaid. They had finished their last day of school and were returning to Mankota. Once of the girls was Myrna. Little did I know that we would marry four years later.

Myrna Khol: After I graduated in PSRNA Walker:
After I graduated in psychiatry in 1965, I returned home to Mankota and worked in the hospital for six months we married Feb. 28, 1966. I remember coming home from our honeychiatry in 1965, I returned home to Mankota and worked in the hospital for six months we married Feb. 28, 1966. I remember coming home from our honeymoon and entering the kitchen. You could definitely tell it was a bachelor’s camp. There was a narrow path to the living room, stepping over bridles, saddle and halters. The furnace had blown up and soot was hanging from the ceiling in all rooms. My God, I gave up nursing to clean and cook. I had never boiled water let alone cook for eight men. I was devastated! Francis was very helpful; he go up in the morning, made sourdough pancakes for the men and left me to sleep. This went on for a couple of weeks until he informed me that the honeymoon was over and it was my turn to start cooking. I haven’t stopped cooking since.

We have been gifted with three children Trevor, Tracey and Twila. Trevor and Rebecca have four children Megan, Zane and twins Amber and Quintin. Tracey has a daughter Dakota. Twila and Ryan Hayes have two boys Wyatt and Riley.
In July 2007 we celebrated Francis’ 81st birthday. He is doing well and is still actively involved with the day-to-day ranching but has traded his horse for an ATV.
In 1984 I challenged the Nursing Program and graduated in 1985 as a Registered Nurse and have been nursing ever since. However, after travelling Hwy. #4 for 15 years, I retired from Swift Current and have been working in Mankota for the past two and a half years. I have been very fortunate and blessed. I have the best of both worlds – nursing and ranching way of life. God bless.

Texas family focuses on producing best rodeo stock

By Lynn Montgomery, Set Texas Edition

March 10, 2005 – Growing up in a ranching and rodeo family in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, 38-year old Trevor Walker knew at an early age what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“Dad was a rancher and rode bulls and broncs. Growing up, there was not a whole lot of bucking bulls to draw to. I said I was going to do something about it, so I did,” Trevor, who also rode bulls, stated.

Today, Trevor with the help of wife Rebecca and children Megan, 11, Zane, 4, and 2-year old twins Amber and Quentin, raises bucking stock, including both cattle and horses on two places in Texas – Pittsburg and Stephen-ville – and at the family ranch in Canada.

Married 14 years, the couple met at, you guessed it, a rodeo. their lifestyle revolves around the bucking stock atmosphere and travel, spending much of their time on the road, between the ranches and attending bucking bull futurities and classics.

In Texas, the couple has over 70 cows, plus around 35 replacements and 50 or so bulls. In Canada there are 50-60 bulls, plus cows and around 120 head of bucking horses.”

With al these bucking animals, the Walkers have received some recognition for being the best.

In 2004, they won the AmericanBucking Bull Incorporated (ABBI) 2004 Breeder of the Year Award and their bull, #269, was ranked No. 1. their bull exceeded the No. 2 position by 15 points in the Top 100 ABBI Futurity bulls listing.

“We were surprise to wi the breeder award. It means a lot of what people think of me, and the respect of your peers in the industry,” Trevor said.

The couple knew they had won the top futurity bull award, but didn’t know about the breeder award, when they attended the awards ceremony during the Professional Bull Riders Finals in October, in Las Vegas.

Rebecca said Trevor was so excited, he took off for the stage when the awards were announced, and left her in her seat. Somebody said to Trevor, “Rebecca’s behind you,” and he stopped to wait for her.

“We were shock,” she added. The Walkers also had bull #279 to finish in the 18th position and bull #285 to finish 31st. Up and coming bulls to watch from the Walkers’ herd include #381, #35, and #387. The breeder attributed genetics to his success.

“Pay the price to make sure you are getting proven maternal genetics. Proven means the mother has an offspring that will buck.” Wa;ler said. With the Walkers’ busy schedule, how does one find time to do everything?

Trevor simply stated, “I couldn’t do it without the girls. Rebecca runs the outfit here in Pittsburg, and Megan is my right hand.”

“Just the two of them can get more done,” Rebecca added. Ask Megan to explain what she does and she simply replies, “I can’t explain. I just know hat to do.”

“What to do” could be all phases of working cattle, including working the catch gate, rounding up the cattle, feeding, etc. (Megan was one of three youth featured in the Feb. 17 Country World article “Building bucking businesses; Young eyes dead set on building herds.” Megan’s passion is the family’s horses, and according to Trevor, “She has a gift.”

Trevor is a “strong supporter of the ABBI” and is an ABBI shareholder. “I have no complaints with the ABBI I have been treated well.” he said.

The future is bucking stock for the Walkers, not only in the pasture, but for the family. Megan is following Dads footsteps and already owns some bucking stock.

“Zane will be the stock contractor. Quentin will be the bull rider. Amber will be tough,” Rebecca said. “But Megan is the rock,” Trevor added.

The family will continue to focus on raising and selling futurity bulls, and will eventually moved the Texas operations to one location in Stephenville.

Memories of Uncle Francis, prepared for his 75th birthday party

Written for Aunt Myrna about Uncle Francis on July 5, 2001, by Ken Larson

Uncle Francis played an important role in my life during the informative years, being more of a father than dad was. I don’t have any memory of Francis prior to moving to Val Marie when I was five and then as I grew older, living on the little piece of land with mom north of Val MarieI remember Francis being in and out of our lives a lot.

Of course it was Francis’s little house on that property that was the hub of activity with hired men coming and going. I remember mom cooking for Francis and his crew a lot when I was young. Especially during the summer I remember mom and her fried chicken and fresh corn that kept the hungry men fed during haying and fencing seasons.

A couple memories that still have me chuckling is when a couple tax guys showed up looking for Francis. Mom told us kids to get lost while she talked to them. There were a lot of kids around, with each of us boys having a couple friends visiting and I remember we were all sneaking around the buildings hiding behind the cars and making the tax guys very suspicious and nervous. I also remember one of Francis’s hired men was a skinny fellow with a very large, loud wife and she made the little guy carry all the furniture into Francis’s house and if I recall she made him rearrange a this heavy oak furniture on a regular basis. I remember one day this little guy trying to help his wife onto one of Francis’s horses. He had her standing on a chair trying to push her up into the saddle. Even at an early age I remember how funny this looked.

Of course it was Francis that took us places. Most traveling we took was either done with Francis or Aunt Betty. We didn’t have a vehicle during most of those years on the flat north of Val Marie. I would get really excited when Uncle Francis came to take us for a day or for a vacation, I remember many trips to Swift Current and also a couple trips to Calgary to visit Aunt Elaine and her family. In Calgary once they took us to wrestling matches. It was really exciting and I remember all the yelling and cheering from the fans, especially when the women were fighting.

After Grandma and Grandpa Walker moved to St. Ignatius, Montana in 1959 (I was eight years old) Francis took us down to Montana many times to visit and spend time in the beautiful Mission Valley. I remember him making mom really nervous with his driving, He was always tired and would dose off and mom would yell at him. II remember him taking the little no-dose pills to keep him awake while driving through the mountains.

I remember Francis and Myrna’s wedding dance and the fun I had. Going to dances was always a big deal growing up in Val Marie as a kids. I remember Myrna and her sister at the dance.

But I think the biggest impact during all those years was the year when mom, Wally and I went down to McNabe’s ranch in 1965 to live for a year. We took school by correspondence courses and I was in the 4th grade and Wally was in the 5th or maybe 6th grade. Francis was really good to our family and I loved living in that large home. Since we had always lived in a tiny shack and now we had three large bedrooms upstairs. It was like living in a hotel. I even numbered the rooms once, 1, 2, 3. I have fond memories of playing along the river, Francis helping me learn to drive the old pickups to Dixon’s Ranch and riding horses.  I would just bounce around the truck like a little ball as we roamed the hills, badlands and drove through the riverbeds. This was long before there were seatbelts and I remember hitting my head on the ceiling of the cab a lot. I remember the big garden, the cattle, the branding and the wonderful that we had. I kept the stuffed monkey Francis gave me for years after that year.

As I grew older the one think I remember is Francis always in court, talking to lawyers about the government. He seemed to always be dealing with something concerning land and the law. The last time I was around him I had him talk to a reporter in Havre, Montana when he was trying to move the Canadian/American border along his ranch.

Happy Birthday, you have been a great uncle and I sure am a better person because of you and your support.