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Robbers Roost Days


Me and AC at Robbers Roost


I had the opportunity to work for a man named A. C. Ekker, for four years in the early nineties. I was living in Hanksville, Utah, a small town in southern Utah. Hanksville was quite isolated from the rest of the world. There was small grocery store, one service station, one restaurant, and a post office at the time. Population was about 200 and decreasing. I had moved there in 1983 to work for another ranch that ran their cattle on the desert near Hanksville in the winter.

Around 1988 due to complications with the BLM and drought, the ranch I worked for was unable to take any cattle to the desert that winter, so I quit. I didn’t want to work around a feedlot all winter, and live in a camp trailer. I began starting colts to make a living. It was difficult to get very many horses because the town was so small and isolated, it was 60 miles to the next town.

Someone in town told me to go talk to A. C. Ekker, because he had lots of horses, and could probably use some help riding them all. I had met A. C. on a few occasions, but was a little intimidated to go talk to him. He had a reputation of being hot headed and hard to work for. He owned a ranch out on the desert at what they call robbers roost. It was where Butch Cassidy and the wild bunch used to hide out. A. C. also had a small farm, a house, and a roping arena in Hanksville.

After thinking about it for a few days, I finally went and talked to him. I told him I had quit my job and was looking for some colts to ride. He said right now he had about 20 horses that needed riding, and I could start right now, but he wanted me to ride them at his place. That was perfect because I didn’t have much of a facility at the time. I had 4 other outside colts at my place that I would ride in the morning, then I would go to his place and spend the afternoon, and ride as many as I could. I thought I had hit the jackpot.

A. C. was a rancher, a rodeo cowboy, and was in the dude business. Most of his horses were ex-race horses. A. C. wanted them all to be ranch horses. Some he would use for his dude business, and the best ones were going to be rope horses.

I seemed to get along real good with A. C. and he had a pretty good bunch of horses. Even the ex-race horses did well because they had a job to do. After I had ridden for him for a while, one day he called me into his office to tell me about a Ray Hunt clinic he wanted me to go to. It was a private clinic, I needed 2 horses, one for colt starting, and one for horsemanship. I had been to a Ray Hunt clinic before but just as a spectator, because I couldn’t afford to ride in one. AC told me if I rode his horses he would pay.

That next fall A. C. asked me to “day work” for him part of the time to help gather his cattle. This was great fun for a cowboy. Big country, wild cattle, and lots of good horses. A. C. taught me a lot about roping and handling wild cattle. I spent a lot of time in the saddle roping cattle. We would catch them and tie them to a tree. If there weren’t any trees around we would tie them down and come back and get them later with a trailer.

The 4 years I spent working for A. C. turned out to be very beneficial to my progression as a horseman, and also some of the best times I ever had. Now that I’ve given some background on this part of my life, I’ll probably come up with more cowboy stories about this later. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!


  1. Suzie Day says:

    Don–my aunt, Gaye Ekker, shared your articles with me. I am AC’s niece, my mother, Tissey, is his oldest sister. I worked for AC in his office in the late 70s when he was running Outlaw Trails, and helped him a bit with clerical work mostly correspondence with the BLM etc., through the 80s-90s. I sure do miss him. Your articles brought his laugh and words to my mind and I enjoyed so much your stories. Thank you for sharing them and for keeping his memory alive. Life hasn’t been the same for any of us without him here to share it. You made me smile. Much appreciated!–looking forward to more stories from you down the road.–Suzie

    • Hi Suzie,
      I appreciate your response. I’ll be writing more stories as they come to mind.
      The time I spent working for A.C. was some of the greatest.
      Thank You,
      Don Lindsay