2019 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Inductee
Alex Nixon “Alec” Ogilvie was born October 1, 1924 in a tarpaper shack in Cohagen, Montana. It was a hardscrabble existence, and Alec was raised under tough circumstances. Alec graduated in 1942, just as World War II was looming. He joined the United States Marine Corps, where he trained as a paratrooper and sharpshooter, seeing extreme action in the South Pacific. He was heavily involved in the fighting at Bougainville and Iwo Jima, which created such horrific memories that he never recounted. The only good military story he told was of building an oven on the beach and creating a pie out of military rations, which he and his buddies baked and enjoyed. After the war, he served as Military Police (MP) in Japan and was honorably discharged in 1945.
Alec moved back to eastern Montana, where he was hired to teach school in Spring Creek, in a one-room schoolhouse with less than ten pupils. Alec said he quit teaching when the kids got smarter than he was.
After that, Alec went to work rounding up wild horses. He was a good hand with horses and commanded respect because of his abilities.
One time at a Niarada, Montana rodeo, a young cowboy got hung up in his bareback rigging with his hand completely turned over. The horse was bucking and kicking him mercilessly, and the pick-up men missed their loop. Alec was sitting on the fence, when the horse came by, so he leapt out, caught the horse by the neck, and eared him down to a standstill.
Alec trained barrel horses for his wife, Ethel, and daughters to compete on. In 1963, Ethel won the Montana State Barrel Racing title on “Blackie,” a black stud horse Alec had trained. She won the state title again in 1972 and 1973, this time riding “Wright Bar,” also trained by Alec.
Alec and Ethel divorced in 1974, and Alec married Claudia Whiting in 1976. He fathered six daughters and no sons, once remarking, “I sure was one heck of a filly sire.”
Alec dabbled in Senior Pro Rodeo for a time, riding his last saddle bronc when he was 53 years old.
Alec passed away March 23, 2008. His marker tells the world: “He was a Cowboy.”