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Roundup was once the gathering point for huge herds of cattle which grazed throughout the valley. It remained a cowtown until 1903 when settlers arrived and homesteads were fenced closing off the land and inhibiting grazing. Roundup is located at the crossroads of Highways 12 and 87. Since Montana’s statehood centennial in 1989, the Roundup Cattle Drive has become an annual tradition.

Cow Country
Historical Marker near Roundup

In the 1880s, days of the open range, many a roundup outfit worked this country. The spring roundup gathered the cattle in order to brand and tally the calf crop. The fall roundup gathered beef critters for shipping.

An outfit consisted of the captain, the riders, the "reps" from neighboring ranges, the cavvy or horse herd in charge of the day herder and night hawk, the four horse chuck wagon piloted by the cook and the bed wagon driven by his flunkey. Camp moved each day.

The cowboys rode circle in the morning, combing the breaks and coulees for cattle and heading them toward the central point to form a herd. In the afternoons of spring roundup the guards kept the herd together, the cutters split out the cows with calves, the ropers dabbed their loops on the calves, took a couple of dally welts around the saddle horn and dragged ‘em to the fire. There the calf wrestlers flanked and flopped them and the brander decorated them with ear notches, or dew laps, and a hot iron. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

On This Date in Montana: January 20, 1954

Near Rogers Pass, about 20 miles northeast of Lincoln, H.M. Kleinschmidt was on duty as a volunteer weather observer. On the calm morning of January 20, 1954, the skies had cleared after a lengthy snowfall. Kleinschmidt reported he heard popping sounds in the cabin he occupied. He went outside to check the thermometer about 2 a.m. The thermometer he had only went as low as -65º F. The mercury had shrunk as far as it could go into the thermometer’s bulb. Kleinschmidt sent the thermometer to the Weather Service in Washington D.C. and described the event. They determined that the temperature had reached at least -69.7º F--a record low for the continental forty-eight states.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

Copyright © 2003 Michael Dougherty. Use of this material for radio and television programs, printed media, webcasting, and any other source of mass dissemination is prohibited without permission of the publisher.

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