There was a popular song some years ago that asked, “where have all the cowboys gone?”. Well the fact is, cowboys are very much still alive and well in the Sandhills of Nebraska, and just two weeks ago eight of them were inducted into the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Two of those eight are area cowboys - Roland “Rolly” W. Glause of Broken Bow, and Glen Gier of Mullen.
Roland W. Glause, aka Rolly, was born Nov. 1, 1930, to Paul and Gennieve Glause of Halsey. He was brought into this world at the family’s home by Dr. Williams from Dunning, and is the third oldest child of nine.
At a young age, Rolly’s interest for horses began. His dad had many workhorses and mules that they used doing numerous daily ranch activities. Rolly had a lot of nice saddle horses growing up and he was always fascinated by calf roping.
During his adolescent years, he would spend many hours roping the family's hogs. When roping the hog, it was easier to handle them if a front leg was caught in the loop. The real challenge was tying the hog's legs after catching him. Needless to say, the hogs would make quite a racket and this activity provided many hours of entertainment for Rolly. However, roping the hogs needed to be kept strictly confidential. If his dad found out he was roping the hogs he knew he would receive a good licking.
Rolly attended school at Halsey until he was 16, when he developed other interests and thought school wasn't that important. One day his sisters told on him that he was not attending school regularly. When his dad found out he gave Rolly two options; he could either go to school or go to work. Rolly chose the later and set out to find himself a job, and has been working ever since.
Rolly's first job was working for Glen Nutter. Glen was a very accomplished cowboy in the rodeo arena and this is where Rolly learned many lessons about competing at rodeos.
Glen would affectionately call Rolly “the boy” and referred to Rolly as being one of his best students.
Glen and Rolly would spend countless hours practicing their calf roping skills. Rolly recollects their practicing routine to involve many hours of ground work.
Another skill that needed to be perfected was dismounting off the right side of the horse. Rolly was one of the first competitors in Nebraska to make this successfully work in competition. He practiced this technique in the pasture many hours before he would attempt it at the rodeo.
The first calf roping competition Rolly entered was at a rodeo in Seneca. At that time the amateur rodeo association in Nebraska was called Nebraska Amateur Cowboy Association. In those days every little Sandhill town had a rodeo.
Dunning was considered Rolly's hometown rodeo. Rolly's fondest memory of the Dunning Rodeo was when he was working for Glen Nutter. He rode to Dunning, which was 20 miles from Glen's ranch, to compete in the calf roping and saddle bronc riding. He was victorious in winning the all around and was awarded $60 for his efforts.
Rolly continued to compete at the Dunning Rodeo for many years thereafter. When folks talk about the Dunning rodeo, a lot of times you will hear a story about Rolly.
When Rolly was competing at the rodeos, he rode a horse that was owned by Don Baxter.
This horse was part Thoroughbred and was quick in the arena and Rolly won many calf ropings on him. Rolly would pay Don one-fourth of the winnings and then the real contest would begin after the rodeo with matched horse racing. Many did not know Spud was a Thoroughbred so he was hard to beat.
One time during a match horse race after the rodeo in Taylor, some hounds jumped out during the race and caused the prized Thoroughbred to lose his concentration. Rolly was pretty sure his winnings from the rodeo that he wagered as a bet on the Thoroughbred would be lost. But, luckily the horse regained his composure and won.
In 1951, Rolly was drafted for the Korean War. He was sent to Germany where he remained for two years. He did not have to go to war but was a PFC and was involved in training sessions where he prepared to go to combat at any time. He was discharged from the army in 1953.
Once he was discharged he returned to Blaine County and went to work for Bill Huffman at the McAdams Ranch for the next 25 years. During these years, Rolly continued to compete in the rodeo arena. In 1955 and 1956, he won the NACA (Nebraska Amateur Cowboy Association) calf roping title. The other events he competed in during his rodeo career were saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and team roping.
In 1973 and 1974, he exhibited the Nebraska Hi Point Appaloosa Horse Club calf roping horse. Also in 1973, Rolly exhibited the Nebraska Appaloosa Horse Club Hi-Point halter gelding. This award earned the horse the right to compete in Oklahoma City at the World Appaloosa Show. The hi-point gelding went on to win the best halter gelding at the World Show. Throughout those years Rolly won many other trophies and awards exhibiting show horses.
Rolly was one of the first competitors to compete in the Old Timer's Rodeo at Hyannis. The first year they held the rodeo they were giving away a saddle for the all around and he decided to enter up. His luck that day was not as good as he had hoped for. The only event that he had any luck at was the saddle bronc riding which he did win at the age of 45. To this day, one of his most cherished rodeo photos is the picture of him riding his saddle bronc at the Old Timer's Rodeo.
Throughout the years, Rolly has developed a reputation for selling some fine using horses. Many of these horses have went on to compete in the rodeo arena, while others have made nice ranch horses.
Rolly's interest for trading horses began at the age of 12. His first horse trade involved a 1/2 draft, 1/2 Shetland cross, white horse that he bought from his uncle. One day he was riding him to town and a Mr. Beardsley took an interest in his horse. The fast walk was the characteristic Mr. Beardsley was intrigued by.
He asked Rolly if he wanted to sell him and Rolly did. The lesson that Rolly learned from selling the horse was that every good horse needs to know how to walk. To this day, Rolly is admired for the fast walk he can put on a horse.
After Rolly finished working for McAdams, he went to work for the next seven years at
the DeGroff Ranch in Brewster. In 1988, Rolly married Lorraine Saner Downing and moved to Broken Bow. Rolly continued to work and gained employment at Adams Land and Cattle Company as a pen rider where he was employed for 22 years.
In 1995, Rolly's picture appeared in a beef magazine where he was referred to as a most valuable player. In the caption under Rolly's picture appeared a quote by Lawrence Adams saying "Rolly is one of the most dependable and hardworking employees that we have. He is an exceptional horseman when it comes to cattle movement and he is very careful and conscientious with the cattle."
These qualities became highly respected by fellow employees and Rolly was a mentor for many pen riders who came to work for the feedlot. To this day. Rolly still puts in a few hours working at the feedlot. His philosophy is to keep working so that you have a reason to live.
These days you will find Rolly still living in Broken Bow with his wife Lorraine. Rolly's hobbies, besides horses, are working with leather and admiring his Siamese cats. Many times you will find him down at the old house repairing a saddle, and if you are lucky he might share a good story or two with you.
If you were to ask Rolly what his best advice about calf roping would be, he would say there are many secrets to being a competitive calf roper, but the most important is making a good tie. You should learn to tie a calf in a number of different situations. One of those situations is learning how to tie a calf involving the two front legs and a hind leg.
He says one of his best students to perfect this challenge is Rick Gracey. His best advice to calf roping hopefuls is that you always want to be quick on the ground and be prepared for any situation. Also it never hurts to be riding a good horse.
Rolly was nominated for the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame by Renee Ferguson of Broken Bow.
“I have always admired Rolly’s cowboy attributes,” says Renee in her nomination. “He is humble about his accomplishments in the rodeo arena. However, he has paved the way for many calf ropers who have competed in the amateur rodeo division in Nebraska. Rolly is a true cowboy that so many have come to respect as he preserves the cowboy lifestyle by living it every day.”
The induction ceremony, during which Rolly received a plaque, is held each year in conjunction with the Sandhills Day of the Cowboy celebration in Johnstown, held this year July 16.