Moran adds new cowboy hat to collection
By JOE KUSEK
August 15, 2023
Shane Moran has worn a lot of cowboy hats during his lifetime.
He’s been a rodeo competitor, winning the Northern Rodeo Association year-end saddle bronc title in 1998.
Moran then turned pro, riding at the highest level for almost 20 years and coming agonizingly close to qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo a handful of times.
Toward the end of his pro career, he also worked the arena as a pickup man, helping bareback and saddle bronc riders dismount safely.
Now 45 and a married father of two daughters, he is changing cowboy hats once again.
Moran has bought into Jacobs Livestock Rodeo. The well-respected stock contracting outfit for the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour has been part of the Lyman family for six decades. Current owner Dick Lyman, now 69, is easing away from the operation.
Moran is now the point man for Jacobs Livestock Rodeo.
“The days are longer,” joked Moran with a big laugh about his expanding role. “I’m the face right now, whether I want to be or not.”
Instead of just dealing with the bucking stock, Moran’s responsibilities include overseeing the rodeo from start to finish: from when the trucks arrive, making sure the arena is set up properly and everybody is in the right place until the last bull is bucked and the trucks are back on the road headed home again.
“I have such a passion for all of it,” he said. “The bucking horses, the bulls … for all of it. Now I’m being more involved dealing with people. I deal with the committees, the contestants. We deal with excellent committees. I’m the face right now, whether I want to be or not.
“And we have a lot of other people out there trying to help us too.”
Moran has been the de facto son in the Lyman family – Lyman and his wife Terrie Jo have four daughters – for more than 30 years.
“I started with Dick when I was around 10 cleaning out trailers, mucking out stalls,” he said. “They’ve been pretty much like family to me ever since.”
In exchange for work around the ranch, “Mucking out semitrailers was not complete fun,” Moran said with another laugh, Lyman allowed Moran and his high school friends to ride bareback horses.
“Dick made us build an arena so we could ride. They made us work,” he continued. “And when Dick was busy, we’d be our own pickup men. We had access to his pickup horses. We had ourselves a few wrecks.”
Lyman’s approached Moran and his wife Betsy last year about taking the reins of the organization. Lyman’s family will remain involved.
“I’m now a little more financially stable,” said Moran. “We want to see this continue. It’s a fourth-generation deal. I’ll learn the business from Dick. He is like a father to me. I still take orders from him.
“I have no plans on changing the name. I don’t know in the future. The upside down F brand, it’s special. I want to keep that going as long as I can.”
Moran and his wife also keep busy in the winter as owners of the Great Divide Ski Hill. Moran also purchased Lyman’s outfitting business.
“We don’t get many days to sit around. What are we going to do next,” he said.
There are two big reasons Moran and his wife jumped into this boots first: Daughters Macy (7) and Mardi (5).
“I’ve got two daughters who are horse crazy as hell,” said the father. “You want to bring your kids up in the sport. It’s family.”
The Mountain Health Co-op Tour heads to Deer Lodge and Livingston this weekend.
The Tri-County Fair in Deer Lodge is August 18 and 19. The August 18 performance will begin at 8 p.m., while the action starts at 7 p.m. on August 19.
The Calamity Rough Stock Classic and Rodeo makes its debut on August 19 with a 7 p.m. show. The August 20 performance will start at 6 p.m.
It is the first year for the Livingston rodeo on the NRA schedule.