WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees
BOB STRAUB (97)
2008 COWBOY HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Bob Straub was born July 7, 1927, in Stanton Martin, Texas. During his high school days, he worked in his dad's meat market, broke horses and worked summers for local ranchers. Bob became the first in his family to fancy horses over any other job. He played some sports, nothing big, as it was the Depression. The real emphasis was on survival and helping the family.
He served in the Navy during WWII, and when he was discharged in 1946, he was looking for places to make a living as a cowboy. He left west Texas and was soon working on ranches in Arizona and New Mexico. Sometimes those ranches were so remote that groceries were only delivered once a month. Bob really enjoyed working on those big ranches. Bob said, "Those were some good times. You had round ups with a wagon and lots of young horses to ride."
When you are that far out in the country your skills as a cowboy are put to the test. You are always building fence, working on windmills, breaking colts, and doing the normal everyday things. What do you do when a veterinarian is over 100 miles away and one of your horses comes into the corral with a snakebite to his nose? Or if a cow has trouble calving? Bob has saved many animals by administering his "ranch medicine" skills using tools like a pocketknife, kerosene, pine sol, a block and tackle, and a sewing needle.
Bob worked on a number of ranches in southern Arizona. He worked for the Kartchner family until 1966. The summer of 1966 found Bob relocating his family to the Davis Ranch near McNeal. While working for the Davis's, Bob had the job of rebuilding the corrals from wood to iron pipe, and when it came to building the new loading chute Bob had a plan, In the early days, many of the loading chutes found on ranches were made with two rail road ties set in the ground, 2" x 12" rough cut boards made the ramp, and wooden cleats were nailed across the planks to help the cattle climb the ramp. These loading chutes took a beating from the semi trucks when they were being spotted. When the semi drivers backed up to these rickety chutes, they seemed to forget which pedal was for the brakes. They banged into the chute making it creak and groan under the pressure. Sometimes the chutes even went down. Not Bob's, as he made a form out of plywood, filled it with boulders and then added yards and yards of concrete. Forty years later it is still standing.
Bob stayed on this ranch for twenty years until it sold in 1986. Then he, Karen, and son Trent moved to Turkey Creek to develop the Double Heart Ranch and to take care of Karen's ailing stepfather. Over the years, Bob has put thousands of miles on himself, his trucks, and his horses, in good weather or bad, tending to his cattle. It was Bob that introduced Beefmaster cattle to Southeastern Arizona, He raised registered Beefmaster bulls, and they were branded with the Double Heart brand. They are known as good bulls that can have a temper. Bob also raised and rode good horses. I was told Bob was "starchy" enough to make a good horse that might not have wanted to be a good horse.
Roping for Bob was always a passion, but Bob didn't have time to compete until 1973. But once he got in the arena, he didn't call it quits with roping until 2 years ago at age 79. He says his best friends and fondest memories are all the cowboy-in days and in the roping arena.
Bob has four daughters and one son. Debbie, Gayle, Tenne, Cindy, and Trent have all worked side-by-side with their Dad. One of the real joys of ranch life is the opportunity for your kids to be involved in a meaningful way. As a parent you never know what impact you have on your kids until much later in life. Listen to the words of Bob's children now as adults.
My Dad taught me the value of work at a very early age. Along with work ethic, he taught me basic moral values. These moral values have not only helped me achieve professional success, but to overcome many different personal challenges. You allowed each of us to be our own person, but knowing you were there if and when we needed you. On many different occasions, when I have felt like giving up and taking an easier road, recalling my Dad say, "Cowboy up!" has helped me pick myself up off the ground, brush off the dirt and the mud, and get back on that horse called "Life". We are proud to call you dad.
Bob was a hard working cowboy. He was and still is one tough man, but he does have a "soft spirit" about him. Karen made each of his daughters an Iron Quilt from Bob's Levi jeans. He wrote a poem to accompany each gift to make sure they knew how much he missed them.
You may or may not know that recently Bob has been in and out of the hospital, but he has not lost his sense of humor. Bob said, "I have waited for ten years for some good rains and now I've missed them."
Bob Straub is a quiet man, a man of few words. Those closest to him describe him as a man with a strong constitution. He is a man with a strong work ethic and proud of his cowboy heritage. Bob himself said, "I never did anything great. I never won any championships. I'm damn sure not musically inclined. I've just been a cowboy."
Bob was happy with his horses, happy with his cattle and he was happy with his outside work. He was dedicated and enjoyed being a true cowboy. The family shared this thought about the life of Bobby J. Straub. He has achieved something that money can't buy and that world travel can't replace. He has achieved a peace of heart, not peace of mind, but a peace of heart. I couldn't agree more.
Written and presented by Eddie Browning