By Bill Anderson
Well, if Spring hasn’t sprung, it’s sure getting froggy. From below zero temperatures a week ago to highs in the 40’s and 50’s above Zero this week, the weather turnabout has improved outlooks and lifted spirits throughout the community. Cameron Gulleson says that it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Gulleson Ranch has about 100 new Black Angus calves on the ground, with another 600 soon to arrive, and new calves do a lot better at 50 degrees above zero than they do at 10 or 20 below. The Vernal Equinox occurs this Sunday, March 20, and that is the First Day of Spring, according to the Sun. History tells us that there will still be plenty of opportunities for blizzards and freezing weather between now and the First of June, but at least the end of Winter is near. Although weather historians tell us that we have endured tougher winters than the one just ending, this one, with its biting cold and fierce winds, seemed to be about as tough as we would want to have it. We North Dakotans will hang on to bragging rights for enduring Winter’s icy blasts, but there’s no sense in overdoing it. Enough is enough!
Twenty-one volunteer firemen, 16 from the Rutland-Cayuga Fire Protection District and 5 from the Forman-Havana Fire Protection District, gathered at the Rutland Fire Hall on Friday and Saturday, March 11 & 12, for vehicle extraction training. The Rutland-Cayuga Department had recently acquired the tools, including: the Jaws of Life; hydraulic powered cutting tools; a hydraulic ram; and a hydraulic power unit; and Rutland Fire Chief Jesse Maly had arranged for Rick Jorgenson from Lidgerwood, a North Dakota Certified Trainer, to lead the training exercises. During the course of the 2-day training session, the firemen cut apart 4 wrecked automobiles while learning how to handle the new tools. The new equipment was obtained from a dealer in central Minnesota who spends a lot of time hunting in the Rutland area each Fall, according to Cam Gulleson, a member of the Rutland Fire Department. All 21 of those who attended the training sessions are now certified to operate the Jaws of Life equipment, when and if necessary. The Rutland-Cayuga Fire Protection District will be holding its annual meeting this Thursday, March 17, at the Rutland Fire Hall. Bryce Carlson & Chris Jochim currently serve as the District’s board chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, and Kaia Mahrer serves as the District’s Clerk. Jesse Maly is Fire Chief and Travis Peterson is Assistant Fire Chief of the Rutland Department. Kurt Breker is Fire Chief of the Cayuga Department. Sargent County Emergency Manager Wendy Willprecht has commended those firefighters who completed the Jaws of Life training, increasing their ability to provide potentially life-saving services to the people of the community.
A large group of friends and family members gathered at the Jesse Brakke home in Ransom Township on Saturday, March 12, to present Jesse with a surprise 60th birthday party. Among those who came from a distance were: James & Sydney Brakke of Somerset WI; Claire Brakke & Alex Markovic of Madison WI; and Doug & Nancy Glarum from Detroit Lakes MN. Those in attendance report that a rollicking good time was enjoyed by all. Jesse’s birthday was actually on Sunday, the 13th, but, as long as everyone was there on Saturday, might as well party on.
Speaking of rollicking good times, Rutland Community Club President Katie McLaen reports that one was enjoyed by those attending Fun Night in Rutland on Sunday, March 13. More than 180 were present and having a good time in the Rutland Town Hall, according to Community Club board member Morgan Peterson. Twenty community volunteers manned the 12 game booths, the cakewalk, the BINGO game, and the lunch counter. Pizza & hot dogs were on the menu, as well as popcorn, cotton candy and Shirley Temples. You can’t beat that for a balanced diet! Sixty door prizes were awarded, and so many cakes had been donated for the cakewalk that, despite 2 hours of continuous action, there were still 15 cakes left at the end of the evening that also were awarded as door prizes. Congratulations to the Rutland Community Club and its officers on another great event in Rutland. The next Community Club event coming up in Rutland is the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Rutland Town Hall.
The Rooster Crows column of March 4, 2022, contained a story about the wild stallion, Golden Sovereign, that was based on a recent article written by Merry Helm for Dakota Datebook. Neil M. Herman, who lived on a farm south of Rutland at the time the great horse was captured, sent the following message to complement and correct information in the original article. Here is Neil’s message:
“…your coverage of the wild stallion, Golden Sovereign, brought up many old memories of the beautiful wild stallion running free across my dad’s (Meredith Herman’s) fields, later the Joe Malstrom farm, and now the Joe Brecker property. I saw several failed chases, and my dad coming home with only a tired sweaty horse and rider, and sore bottoms on both. I thought it was exciting hearing the adventures of the ways of the wild stallion as he escaped each time, jumping fences, heading up into the ravines and gulches in the foothills north of the Windy Mound area. One of his main escape routes was, as I knew it then,” The Gap” (now the ravine leading up into the hills viewed to the west of the Coteau des Prairies Lodge, near Frenier Dam, and into the area many Rutland deer hunters know when hunting with Jim Huckell each fall.) Golden Sovereign ranged from east of Percy Pherson’s farm to west of County Highway #10, where Bill Erickson had a pasture with some of his trading horses when I knew and saw him.
The big problem was Golden Sovereign was running free over newly risen wheat fields and eating from haystacks. To add to the spring problem was the fact that the stallion would have a few mares with him, causing farmers to seek a way to catch him. Percy Pherson and even more so Dennis, wanted to catch that horse, not just to stop the damage it was doing, but they wanted that beautiful palomino stallion. So the “verbal” agreement was made, if Percy could catch the horse he could have him, and the farmers would be happy and not seek damages caused by Bill’s horses running loose. The chases spread over more than 2 years and, try as they may, they couldn’t get Golden Sovereign chased along the foothills to Percy’s farm without him escaping up the ravines and into the hills.
I knew Gary Thornberg was on that chase when they caught Golden Sovereign, so I called him, and we two 82-year-olds compared our memories of that time. Of course we were viewing it through our 9 or 10 year old’s eyes. But our memories were the same. Before the final chase the farmers had released some mares as bait, and this time the mares were placed closer to Bill Erickson’s farm. The Stallion came out of the hills after a time and went to claim the mares. The time was set for the roundup, and many riders gathered far away from the mares and stallion, circling them, and with the help of the tame mares they were able to herd them into Bill Erickson’s corral, and Golden Sovereign stayed with the mares. He tried to escape through the only opening, the east barn door, when he entered the door it was quickly closed. The end of his running wild and free but not the end of his wildness. Golden Sovereign was at least a 5-year-old wild palomino stallion. How they got him to Percy’s I don’t know, but it must have been a challenge. When at Percy’s you couldn’t get close to him, his kicking, stomping and his fear of man made you stay your distance. Percy decided to get the best trainer around, Fred Ward. Allen Peterson of Milnor talked to Fred when Fred was 90 years old and Fred told how it was still icy outside so he was not able to go out there on the ice and break a horse so he had to start in the alley of the barn. He said the horse was very smart but was dragging him around in the barn until they could get outside.
Fred not only trained Golden Sovereign to ride but also to do tricks. The most famous was “The end of the Trail” depicting a rider on a horse crossing a waterless plain, now out of water, the last drops given to his horse. The horse staggering, rider just able to stay in the saddle, then Fred drops from the saddle to the ground. The weary horse nudges the downed rider who is too weak to reach the stirrup, so the horse kneels down by the rider who then grabs the stirrup, and the horse drags him onward ending at the center of the grandstand. Golden Sovereign goes down on his knees, forehead flat to the ground in a performance ending bow. It was an absolute showstopper. A wild horse two+ years before to a horse saving his rider. This show was performed at the Sargent County Fair and at many other locations.
To my memory Fred did not end up keeping that horse. Fred and Percy had “verbal agreements” with a horse trader, and he (the horse trader) had his bill of sale from the auction barn. When presented to a judge the paper sale ticket won that day. Bill got the horse back, and I don’t think Golden Sovereign ever performed tricks before the public again.”
Thanks to Neil, and to Gary Thornberg, for combining their memories to keep the record straight and fill out the legend of a magnificent horse, Golden Sovereign, and a great trainer, Fred Ward.
We know that Spring has arrived, or at least has nearly arrived, when the snowbirds begin their northward migration, and the migration has begun. Rutland native Judie Seavert reports that she and her husband, Steve Grohs, departed their winter haven in Port Aransas TX on March 1, and drove to Oklahoma for a 5-day visit with friends. Then they drove over to Branson MO for a visit with 2 more friends they had made during their winters in Texas. As of Tuesday, March 15, they were on the road again, heading for their summer residence on the shore of Lake Traverse, near Rosholt SD. They expect to be safely home by Noon on Wednesday, March 16, according to Judie. Not many snowbirds have returned home, yet, but it is expected that the migration routes will be getting crowded in the next couple of weeks.
On the Postal Service front, the news is still the same: no information; no action; no service; and no Post Office. Rutland folks are urged to contact their U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to find out what’s going on in the Land of Oz.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, on Tuesday, March 15, with the Russian Army violating Ukraine and the world teetering on the edge of World War III, the U.S. Senate devoted itself to addressing a very serious issue, the problem of having to turn our clocks and watches ahead an hour and back an hour every time the nation transitions from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time and back again. To address this serious national problem the Senate, by a unanimous, bipartisan vote, approved a bill they called “The Sunshine Protection Act,” that would adjust the time one hour ahead in the Spring of 2023 and leave it there, permanently, making Daylight Savings Time the new Standard time. We have to wonder just what kind of a world they live in. What’s next? Will we get a “Sunshine Fair Distribution Act that, like a Republican tax cut, gives 99% of the available sunshine to the wealthiest 1% of Americans? Will we get a Sunshine Production Act that will divert billions of taxpayer dollars to big business to produce more Sunshine? Let’s get real! If the Senators really wanted to protect sunshine, they would have done something about the coal-fired industrial and electricity generating plants that puke tons of pollution into the air every minute, preventing sunshine from reaching the Earth. They would have done something about the oil companies that flare gas at their well heads, covering the sky with a gray haze. They would have done more to increase automobile emission standards to reduce the production of smog in cities across the nation. Let’s call the new Act what it is, the Standard Time Adjustment Act. Calling it the Sunshine Protection Act is basically just trying to pump sunshine up…well, up to a place in the anatomy where the sun never shines. The Sunshine Protection Act has not yet been acted upon by the U. S. House of Representatives. What might we expect if both chambers of the Congress agree and the President signs the bill? Well, if the past is any prediction of the future, the most likely result of Congress passing the Sunshine Protection Act and spreading its protective cloak over the nation’s supply of sunshine will be…eternal darkness.
That’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com and take a look at the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office and remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.