Cowboyin’ With Cody and Kody
- December 15, 2020
- Tiffany Schwenke
I recently asked Kody Walter to tell us about her and her fiancé Cody Wheeler’s backstory and how they came to be cowboyin’ together all across the west.
Cody Wheeler grew up in a sale barn that his grandpa had started in Osceola, MO. I, Kody Walter, grew up helping my dad, Pinky Walter, on the ranches he’d manage or lease. With a lot of help from my dad and Bruce Laird, I started riding colts when I was about 13. Later, I went to Weatherford, TX and rode cutting horses with Wayne Robinson.
Cody graduated high school early and was a mechanic in the oil field in Tioga, ND before he got a job working for auctioneer Lynn Weishaar. After a couple years, Cody wanted to see more country and he started traveling doing seasonal cowboying jobs. I started day working on ranches and continued riding colts. I really enjoyed selling horses, which is how Cody and I met! Cody tried to talk me down on the price of a really nice gelding I had. After that, I guess, they say “the rest is history.”
At first, we became good friends. A couple years later, we started dating and then we started traveling together.
The summers of 2019 and 2018, we were on a cow camp in the White River National Forest outside Meeker, CO. We were living in a wall tent and moving camp with the cows, kind of like herding sheep. We went down to the ranch once a week. When we’d get back to camp we would have to pack in 14 miles, and a lot of times that was in the dark. We couldn’t be gone more than a day or the cows would get away. So we would take one week’s worth of horses and groceries. With a couple good coolers we could keep ice for over a week. It was all open range with no pens or corrals, so our horses lived on hobbles every night. A couple of our horses wore a ram bell so we could find them in the morning. It was normal to ride 30-50 miles a day. We really enjoy the camp jobs. They’re a challenge because you never know what each day will bring and the plans always change. Its great for making good dogs and horses. The country we’ve gotten to ride through is incredible!
2020 started with getting the finishing touches on helping a ranch we were overseeing sell out in South Dakota. Then to get us through the early spring, we went to Red Cloud, NE to Gottsch Feeders, a 63,000 head capacity yard south of Hastings, NE.
Then this summer we had a cow camp job lined up in the Ruby Valley of Montana through fall. We just finished with that. Cody was our lead cowboy and we hired a guy a little younger than us that we met in Red Cloud. We were taking care of 2,000 pairs and about 700 yearlings on a forest allotment between the Snowcrest and the Gravelly mountain ranges for a grazing association. There were 7 different ranches that sent cattle to us. The summer went smooth and was a lot of fun. We met a lot of good people there, just like we do everywhere we go.
We really love to travel to different states and different areas and see and learn the different styles and ways ranches across the country do things. It’s interesting to see what works for them and learn why they do it their way instead of another way. It’s cool to say that we’ve lived and worked there not just passed through on a trip. We choose to not stay in one spot full time yet because we want continue to explore and work in different areas. We want people to know that cowboys are still out there and working ranches are still working. They’re all so different, but in the end, they’re all after the same goal of running as efficient as they can and raising as nice of cattle or horses as they can.
Cowboy traditions mean a lot to us. Cody and I are really big on cowboy etiquette. We do try to stay a horseback as often as possible. However, that’s not all we have going for us or all we know how to do. To us, it’s a way to live in a world with so much instant gratification and so many people’s values changing. We strive to always appreciate the little things and keep tradition going.
We really enjoy making horses and dogs and being able to say we truly use them. Between Cody and I, we’ve worked everywhere from Nevada to Missouri, Montana to Louisiana. I’m in the middle of trying to plan a wedding around our crazy schedule. Someday we’ll decide to find a place and stick there, but right now we’re taking everyone’s advice to do it while we’re young. So far it’s really paid off with the experiences and lessons we’ve gotten.
We’re picking up knowledge from all the different regions, different ranches, cowboys, friends, climates, and country to someday put it into play running our own outfit or in management positions. Having seen so many situations and we have been lucky to experience some things that a lot of people dream of and some don’t even know about. We love what we do. It takes a lot of sacrifices and it’s not for everybody, but it is for us. After all we have been through, we now have a finer appreciation for the little things in life like… a hot shower and electricity!
If you would like to, you can check out their links and follow Kody and Cody on Facebook-
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...