WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees
LARRY MOORE (31)
1984 COWBOY HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
The following biography was written at the time of Mr. Moore's induction.
Larry Moore is 71 years old and through more than six decades, his life has been made up of one thing, being a working cowboy. "I guess I couldn't pick out one special event in my life," More said. "There haven't been any 'special' memories. It's all been made up of the ranch, my family and the work. I guess I've been lucky. Through the years it's just all come together."
Born in Douglas in 1917 to a longtime ranching family, Moore remained active in the business until he retired in 1980. He turned the ranch, the Rafter X in Sucker Canyon, over to his son, Larry Jr., and moved into Willcox.
But ranching, the only work he has known throughout his life, is still in his blood. "My family's life was ranching," Moore said. "It's all I've ever known." Moore's grandparents, Peter and Martha Moore, bought the Firehook Ranch on Rucker Creek in 1893 and operated it until 1899. When the elder Moore settled in that area he couldn't have known that it was the beginning of ranch life to be carried on for four generations after him.
The family's tradition has gone from the Firehook to the Rafter X, located about four miles away, and has survived through good and bad times. Moore's Uncle Frank began operation of the Rafter X and in 1928 his brother Fred, Moore's father, entered into partnership with him. After Frank's death, Fred ran the ranch until 1945 when Moore took it over. He stayed until 1980.
Talking about the ranch life, homesteading and the generations before him, Moore marvels at his parents and how his mother, Lucy, adapted to frontier life and the hard work of a rancher's wife. He speaks of how she was born in New York and graduated from Cornell University. She came to this area to teach school, moving from a New York lifestyle to one of living in a, house with dirt floors.
Before too many years had passed she learned to live on the ranch, raise her family and have meals on the table for five or six hungry hands. "She was successful at whatever she did," Moore said.
Moore's father also had some ranches in the Sulphur Springs Valley but Moore said the Rafter X in Rucker Canyon was his favorite. That was the one he knew. "It's always been an independent life and I liked that," Moore said. "I never have worked for anybody else and I just don't know if I'd like it or not." He was only away from the Rafter X for one year, in the early 1950's when he leased a ranch in Arkansas. "I guess that's about the only time I worked outside of the state of Arizona."
He remembers being in school and just sitting there, looking out the window, thinking of the ranch and dreaming about being a cowboy. "Sometimes looking out the window and dreaming got me in hot water," he said.
Moore credits his success in ranching to determination and hard work. "Every day is made up of hard work and long hours," Moore said, "and you have to have devotion to the occupation."
Moore says that ranch life has changed since he first started out, but he says it hasn't changed that much on day-to-day needs. "There had to be changes just to survive," he said. "For example, we used to ride everywhere on horses. Now we have horse trailers and haul them to where we want to go and then get them out and ride."
The head count of Moore's cattle varied through the years but he usually had around 500 head on the ranch. His father was a strong Hereford man, but when he began running the ranch, he went into a cross-breed.
Moore said he was kind of looking forward to his retirement, when he moved into town in 1980, but he knew that he'd miss the ranch. However, shortly after retiring, he suffered an injury while bringing some cattle through a gate. He was knocked down and trampled and the recovery process was a lengthy one. "That was the only serious injury I've had through all the years on the ranch," he said. "And it's strange because a very similar injury occurred with my father right after he retired."
Moore spends most of this time in town now. "I just don't get out to the ranch much anymore," he said. But he keeps on top of what's going on through his son, Larry, Jr. He also has a daughter, Michelle, who is a stewardess with American Airlines and a son, Pete, who works for a television cable company.
Moore said that he and his wife, Susie, enjoy living in Willcox, and that he hasn't found the town life to be so bad. "I look at Willcox as a real cowboy town," he said, "and that's one reason I decided to move here from the ranch. I knew the people and this particular change of lifestyle made me comfortable." Moore took up golf after leaving the ranch and says it's something he does mostly for relaxation and enjoyment. "But I'll bet my father would turn over in his grave if he could see me playing golf," he said.
Moore says he believes there are fewer and fewer cowboys all the time, mainly because life in the city is so much easier. "But I think the cowboys today have the same qualities that made them what they were a long time ago," he said. "Times may have changed and the methods of today may be more modern, but I believe today's young cowboys have the same integrity and honesty as the ones who first laid claim to the title. That's something they've got to have or they could never make it."
Larry Moore died August 24,1992 at the age of 75.