Some might say Harry (Pete) Peterson is a self-made man. He’s ranched in the Gunnison Valley since 1962, but he tread a few miles before that.
His grandfather shaped Pete’s story after coming to America from Sweden in the 1850s. He and his family first landed in Utah and eventually homesteaded in Colorado’s San Luis Valley 20 years later. Pete attended classes in a one-room schoolhouse before graduating in Moffat and going to work for an area ranch.
“Then I got an invitation from Uncle Sam,” Pete recalls. It sent him to the U.S. Army for two years as a combat engineer, along with an 18-month stint in Austria. When he returned, he headed for Denver and worked for a gas station, buying it soon after. Opportunity knocked seven years later when he bought a small ranch in Kremmling, CO. By this time, he and his bride, Bertha (Mae), had two small boys. Flashback: Pete married Mae in 1956 in a church with a leaky roof, and the wedding party and guests had to step around buckets during a rainstorm.
In 1962, he and Mae bought the ranch where he currently resides, east of Gunnison. Since then, Pete added three other ranches to his cow/calf operation, where he also grows about 3,000 tons of hay a year. He’s been active in many agricultural organizations, including Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association (past president) and the Gunnison Watershed School District Board. He continues to serve as a member of the Gunnison Conservation District and Farm Bureau.
He has three sons and four grandchildren, and these days gets a little help from his family to keep things running smoothly. He decided to give up his spurs a few years ago, but anyone can still see him out and about the ranch still working.
“The older I get, the younger I am.”
Glen Sammons, Parade Marshal
The words “Powderhorn” and “Sammons” are pretty much synonymous with ranching in the southern leg of Gunnison County. Glen worked a cow/calf operation there for 66 years, continuing a family tradition that his grandfather started in 1876.
In his early years, Glen attended a country school with other kids in the area, a place that also hosted such community events as Christmas programs, Easter egg hunts and Fourth of July picnics. It offered “a chance for the neighbors to get together,” Glen recalls. Of course, any activities beyond that involved working the family ranch – much by horseback.
“We moved cattle with horses,” Glen says, spending the falls in cow camps for 10 days or more with the whole family and neighbors. Some of the work is still done by horseback, but machinery has largely taken over.
Glen graduated from high school and attended Western Colorado University (then Western State College) before spending several years in the U.S. Army, including 13 months in Korea. He married, had two children and was back in the business of ranching.
He’s also served his time in agricultural organizations, including the Iola/Powderhorn Stockgrowers Association (past president), Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association, the Gunnison Conservation District and the Cattlemen’s Days board. But now, after six and a half decades of calving, branding, haying and dealing with ornery bulls (he’s had his fair share of run-ins) Glen has retired and lives in Gunnison with his wife, Judy. He has four grandchildren.
Glen’s daughter and her husband continue to keep the Powderhorn operation running smoothly. They no longer live in the original homestead, but that structure still stands today as a reminder of the Sammons’ ranching roots.