Craig Haythorn leads the fourth, fifth, and now sixth generations of the storied Haythorn Land and Cattle Company of Arthur, Nebraska. Harry Haythornwaite of Lancaster, England landed on the North American shore in 1876. The 16 year old stowaway who was discovered on board his American bound ship was forced to pay for his passage by caring for whitefaced bulls headed for Texas. After caring for those bulls all the way to Galveston, Texas he worked for the importer of the bulls for the next eight years. He then found his way to the sandhills of Nebraska on a Texas cattle drive headed north where he eventually opened a livery barn. He shortened his name to Haythorn and married a veterinarian’s daughter, Emma Gilpin. After selling the livery he became a wagon boss and took his wages in cattle. Emma cooked for the cowhands for free. Every penny pinched wage they drew went to pay for land. In 1884 they filed on a land grant section four miles east of Arthur, Nebraska. An American ranching dynasty had been born in the Nebraska Sandhills.
Fourth generation Haythorn Craig was born was put on a cattle drive at the age of four. Born in 1947 in Sutherland, Nebraska, Craig is the son of third generation Waldo and Beldora Haythorn. The Arthur and Keith Counties couple had two children, Sally, who is here today, and Craig. The Haythorns of today include Craig’s sister Sally and Craig and Craig and Jody’s children Shaley, Sage who is married to Kelley, and Cord who is married to Katie.
Craig and Jody were married in 1983 and now enjoy seeing the fifth and now sixth generation Haythorns carrying on with the old ways and traditions. All are involved in day to day operations with the exceptions of the two youngest sixth generation members.
Craig’s grandfather had the first registered AQHA stud in Nebraska. The Haythorns enjoy having the inaugural AQHA Remuda Award that was given in 1994. The first 500 Haythorn horses were trailed from Oregon to the Sandhills to fulfill a contract with the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The Robert Duval movie “Broken Trail” was taken from that trip.
The Haythorn family has been blessed with outstanding horses and Craig says he has had around 12 top horses to use on both the ranch and in performance arenas. Craig says his greatest pleasures come from cowboying and family. His biggest worries after weather include the current direction of our country and the questionable direction of American agriculture and the loss of the old cowboy ways. His concerns include high taxes, with Nebraska having the third highest in the country, and emerging technology such as laboratory created meat substitutes. But his hope is in his family and seeing them fulfill their dreams.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present tonight’s first Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman’s Award of Honor recipient, Mr. Craig Haythorn.