Harold Lee Isaacs, born in 1935, grew up doing cowboy work. He remembers being horseback as soon as he was big enough to sit up, hang on, and rein a horse. He was hired out from a very young age to herd sheep and cattle for neighbors, sometimes alone in camp for a couple weeks.

In 1952, Harold came to Montana to work the first of a few lambing seasons for his uncle and mentor, Boyd Isaac. He worked one spring with Bill Sensiba, night lambing a few thousand ewes. He learned to hook ewes from a horse, pitch a sheep teepee shelter for them and their lambs, and bank the teepees until morning when they would turn them loose and gather teepees for the next night’s drop.

In 1957, Harold moved to Montana permanently, purchasing the Benny Vandenberg place on Haxby Point in Garfield County. He bought the Vandenberg’s cattle with the ranch and brought in 40 head of his registered Herefords from South Dakota.

Since the Herefords, Harold has run many crossed breeds of cattle, including Black Baldies, Shorthorn, and Simmental. Harold and his eldest daughter, Jo Dee, started a registered Red Angus herd in 1979. They have built it up to about 125 head of purebreds by purchasing a few heifers and keeping their top heifer calves. The ranch now runs these in addition to a commercial herd of full-blood Red Angus cattle.

Being a proponent of education, Harold spent many years on his district’s school board. He has supported numerous community projects and activities over the years, and continues to do so. Harold served as a 4-H leader and sat on various boards over the years, including the Fort Peck Game Range Committee (before it became the C. M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge), The Garfield County Bank (1976-present), and 1st Security Bank of Roundup (1971-present).

Harold and his wife, Jean, still live on the ranch in the Vandenburg house, which has been updated and added onto a few times. He still rises before the sun, continuing to follow his Uncle Boyd’s advice, “Do a little something for the ranch every day.”

Harold believes every man will only have one or two really good horses, and that they only become good if you ride them often, and long enough to get the saddle blanket wet; and always take your dog with you to work.

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