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Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame

 Class Of 2013

By Nick Shrauger

 

October 2013 issue  

      The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame Class of 2013 is honoring Adam “Addie” Funk (1912-1990) of Kalispell, and the McIntosh Ranch north of Avon , Montana .

      Thousands of farms, ranches, and individuals in the United States once depended on draft animals such as horses, mules, and oxen for the power necessary to provide for their living. Draft animals also were needed to make connections and commerce between communities as they were used to pull canal boats, build roads, grade railroad beds, and haul settlers.

      Today, in many parts of the world, draft animals are still the only power for many people. But in the United States , only a very few people remember the use of draft animals for primary power needs. Other than the Amish and some small, market farmers, primary dependence on draft animals is mostly gone.

      The good news is, however, that many are returning to use of draft power as indicated by the increasing number of new machines and vehicles being manufactured for the draft horse industry as well as the restoration of old draft equipment.

      Those today that use draft power, either for pleasure or for work, are in the debt of past teamsters. Those teamster skills, honed by the hard necessity of making a living, have been passed down through generations. Members of the Montana Hall of Fame are those that have kept teamster skills alive and the class of 2013 honors that continuing heritage.

 

“Addie” Funk

Adam “Addie” Funk (1912-1990)—Kalispell

      The late Adam Funk was one of draft teamsters whose skills with draft animals were so exceptional that he can be classified as a “mentor’s mentor.”

      Montana Teamster Hall of Fame member Doug Hammill says of Adam: “I’ve never known anyone who had more knowledge, ability, skill, and attention to detail and safety with horses than Addie Funk, nor have I ever known a better teamster.”

      Addie started driving and farming with horses with his father as a very young boy. By age nine, he was sent by himself to harrow a field with four head of horses on a tandem disk.

      Addie also told the story that one time he was sent to harrow a field for a neighbor. While walking in the dust behind the harrow, a loose horse that had been grazing in the field began to steadily walk along side Addie.

      Without any halter or rope, Addie decided to climb on the horse. He placed the team lines on each side of the horse, and continued to harrow. It worked well, and everyday thereafter Addie rode the horse until the field was finished.

      Addie stated: “That was the last time I ever walked behind a harrow down in the dust.” This story illustrates that Addie was one of those teamsters with seemingly magical skill and understanding.

 

      Addie Funk worked for 31 years as a seasonal packer with the U.S. Forest service. His teamster skills were also used to drive two- and four-mule teams to grade, harrow, and roll backcountry air strips; to haul firewood; and to skid logs for lookout towers and bridges.

      During the off-season he either farmed or worked horses. Winter activities included feeding cattle, logging, hauling hay, and harvesting lake ice for Great Northern refrigeration cars. If Addie was faced with a task that required more manpower, he would figure how to do it with draft horses.

      Yes, there were many skilled teamsters in the past, but many were unable to teach others. Fortunately, Addie was also a good teacher and was willing to help others.

      In later years he lived in town and did not have a team. Instead he seemed to know who was working horses, and make timely visits. He was able to continue being with horses and was able to help when needed. Addie also helped with formal courses at Flathead Valley Community College . Teaching teamsters, as well as horses, were also skills he possessed in abundance.

      It is a pleasure to have Montana native Adam Funk inducted to the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.

 

McIntosh Ranch, Avon

      How is it that a cattle ranch which still stacks loose hay can survive for more than a century while many others that use the latest technology to bale and feed hay do not?

         This is not a trivial question, and there is not a simple answer. Part of the answer, according to William “Bill” McIntosh III, is based on a family that has “respected and admired tradition of which draft horses have a big part.” 

 

W.L. McIntosh in early 1900s.

 

         W.L. and Harriet ( Davis ) McIntosh moved on to the ranch on Three Mile Creek north of Avon in 1910. Brothers Jefferson (Harriet’s father) and Jim Davis also homesteaded on Three Mile Creek and these homesteads are also part of the ranch.

          For more than 30 years, they raised sheep, cattle, and horses. Area ranchers imported a Percheron stallion named Tonkin . W.L. used Tonkin to breed to grade mares to obtain plenty of half-bred Percherons for haying, hauling, feeding, timber skidding, and riding.

      The ranch was expanded during these years with the addition of mining claims, railroad land, and neighboring properties.

      Just as the ranch enlarged, so did the McIntosh Family. W.L. and Harriet had two girls, Olive and Ida, and one son, William L. Jr., who stayed on the ranch. William Jr. married Alice Cunliffe who was teaching at the Three Mile Creek School .

      Over the years, the ranch continued to raise horses and used a Belgian stallion named Harry, followed by a Shire stallion named Rex. In 1977, William Jr. purchased a Percheron colt stallion and two mares in Saskatchewan . Once again the ranch was raising Percherons.

      In the early 1940s, World War II made it impossible to hire enough help to continue with sheep. In 1948, the first mowing tractor was purchased. Prior to that time, all haying was done with horses.

 

Bill McIntosh III haying.

      Mechanized haying slowly occurred over time as horse–drawn bull rakes were used until the mid-1960s, and horse drawn dump rakes until the late 1980s. By then it had finally become too difficult to find enough people who were willing or capable of driving horses.

      The present-day McIntosh ranch is operated by William III, (son of William Jr. and Alice), and wife Jill (Stucky) and their three children. (Sons Gib and wife Haven, William L., IV, “Lou” and wife Bobbi, and daughter Heather).

      They operate it much the same as their predecessors. This cow/calf yearling operation runs 800+ head of livestock. Only a portion of the haying cycle is mechanized. All hay is still put up loose, using a beaver slide. Feeding still uses horse drawn sleds and wagons, and cow work is on horseback.

 

Hattie (Mrs. W.L.) McIntosh delivering milk and eggs to miners. Photo courtesy Jill McIntosh.

        In addition to feeding, horses are used for timbering,  and manure spreading. Wedding parties, parades, and sleigh rides have been added to the list of uses.

        Bill notes that “just going for a ride behind a good team” is still part of the McIntosh Ranch family tradition, one that has lasted more than a century.

        The McIntosh Ranch epitomizes the values celebrated by the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.

 

      The Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by the Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association, and the Big Sky Draft Horse Expo.

      The formal presentation of membership to the Hall of Fame was made during the Big Sky Draft Horse Expo, September 14-15, 2013 in Deer Lodge, Montana .

            For questions about the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame including nominations, please contact Nick Shrauger, 406-586-5113; mtnick54@gmail.com; or visit www.drafthorseexpo.com.

 

Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

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