Every year, on the final Saturday of the Sheridan County Fair and Rodeo, the Tri-State Cowboys Museum inducts a new member into their Cowboy Hall of Fame. This year’s honoree was Wayne Livermont of Martin, S.D. The following was read during a breakfast at the museum in Gordon, followed by a presentation with Wayne’s family in attendance.
Wayne Livermont was born the youngest son of Charles and Rebecca Livermont. He grew up on the family’s cattle ranch in Eastern Bennett County, north of the community of Vetal. From an early age, Wayne was on a horse. By age eight, he was handling a scatter raking team in the hay field – not without a wreck or two. He’d ride a pony to grade school and back four miles south of the ranch. He was always around cattle and horses.
Wayne finished grade school in Martin and attended Bennett County High School, where he met his future wife, Marilyn (Micki) Olson. After high school, he started ranching with his two brothers and pop on the home place. In June of 1953, he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, but not before he and Micki were married in 1952. He was stationed in Ft. Benning, Ga. where Micki joined him. During this time, their oldest son, Larry, was born.
Shortly after induction into the Army, the Korean War came to an end. Wayne finished out his commitment, then returned home to Bennett County with his wife and son. Over the next decade and a half, the family grew by five more kids: Steve, Dean, Tammy, Tom, and Stuart.
Cattle ranching has never been the easiest way of life and it certainly wasn’t then for Wayne and Micki, but it was a good life. Through droughts, blizzards, low prices, and other risks, they managed to survive and thrive. As the kids grew up, they were all put to work in the hayfield or fixing fence, milking cows and pulling calves. He instilled a cowboy’s work ethic that became lifelong lessons.
In 1993, Wayne and Micki “retired” to Martin and eventually turned the ranch over to their oldest sons, Larry, Steve, and Dean. Micki enjoyed living in town. And that suited Wayne. The ranch was never far from his mind though – and it still isn’t today.
Wayne could train a good saddle horse. In his younger years, he competed in cattle cutting contests and rodeos. He won the cutting contest in Witten, S.D. on a horse he called Mike, thanks to neighbor Frankie Scharman who helped get his horse there in a pickup with a stock rack. He bred, trained, and sold registered quarter horses. Many a ranch rode well-broke saddle horses with the 4 L bar brand on their left hip. He calf roped and was involved with the Long Valley Rodeo Club in the 50’s. Ranching and family was always the priority.
Wayne is a lifetime member of American Legion Post 240 and served many roles with the Legion over the years. He was on the Bennett County Fair Board, District 8 School Board, Bennett County Commissioners for eight years, and Golden West Telecommunications Board of Directors for 21 years. He was Golden West’s representative on the North Central Data Center (NCDC) board for three years. Throughout his service, Micki was always by his side encouraging him. His involvement with Golden West and NCDC gave them a chance to see much of the country. They both enjoyed traveling together until Micki’s passing in 2004.
Wayne’s uncle, Jake Johnson, was an original member of the Old Time Cowboys Association. He is truly honored to be recognized this year.