Patrick “Pat” Bergan was born August 11, 1933, in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, the fifth of six children. He was raised in the basement of the County Jail, as his father was the County Sheriff for many years.

Pat always had a job during his years of schooling. For many summers, he and his buddies worked for Tony Gasper on Freeman Creek, just north of the privately owned 50,000-acre Lingshire Ranch. Riding every day, they learned the lay of the country and how to “cowboy.” Doing what boys without supervision do, they would venture off to rope wild horses, cattle, elk, and bears.

After marrying June Edwards in 1957, Pat settled down a bit, hauling lumber and cattle, before getting back to cowboying. He went to work for Bill Loney and then Bill Galt, maintaining a cow camp for nearly 50 years at the Lingshire Ranch. He engineered most of the ranch’s roads and was a whale of a cat-skinner with a D-6.

Whether it be roping a run- back steer through mounds of badger holes and over rock outcroppings, chasing wild horses full tilt down long ridges, or running through coulees just for the pure thrill of it, Pat was fearless and as Western as they come. He was a true cowboy’s idol to the ones that knew the difference.

Due to Pat’s courage, confidence, and determination, he found himself in quite a few wrecks. He had horses tip over on him, was bucked off countless times, broke his neck in a car accident, had a bullet lodged in his arm, and lived with a separated collar bone.

One time, he was chasing a coyote when he rolled his pickup down the side of a gulch, all the time fighting with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and a loose bottle of Jack. When the dust settled, he had nearly cut his nose off. After walking four miles back to Birch Creek, Pat remarked, “Good thing it was as cold as it was or I would have bled to death.”

After a wreck, Pat was known to say, “Comes with the territory,” or, “More experience.” Not once did he say, “I never should have done that.”

Being a cowboy was all Pat wanted. His loyalty, skills, and dedication to the job— as well as the cowboy way of life—are deeply appreciated by all who had the privilege to know and work with him. When he passed in 2019, the Lingshire Ranch honored him with his final resting place. Pat is buried on the land where he left a mighty big imprint.

MCHF District 9: 2022 Legacy Inductee (1933-2019)

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