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Harold Lewis ©Eric Grant
Harold Lewis
Olney Springs, Colorado
Words & photo by Eric Grant

For 72 years, the hands of Harold Lewis have felt the sting of the lariat, the chill of December and the heat of July. Yet Lewis still spends his days the way he always has: on
horseback, pushing cows across the dry range near Olney Springs, Colo.
In the 1940s, Lewis cowboyed for the Appelt Ranch, a 400,000-acre, 10,000-head operation. He made $180 a month. He married and raised four children.
The world is changing fast, Lewis says, and the days of the old-time cowboy are numbered. Pastures are smaller than they used to be, and mechanization has altered the way ranchers see their world. “When I was at the Appelt, why we thought nothing of loping a horse 10 miles,” he says. “We had no trucks or trailers to haul them in.”
Today, Lewis teaches what he’s learned to a half dozen young men who live nearby. He shows them how to properly cowboy, how to anticipate the actions of
yearlings, how to work cattle the quiet way. “These boys today can’t cowboy like I did because they can’t afford it,” says Lewis, who’s seen his share of economic upheaval in the ranching business. “They have to have another job to support it.”


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