|Irish Sheepherders of Lake County Oregon
This web site will show the descendants of the original Irish sheepherders, as they work and ride on the same lands their ancestors trailed sheep and how they are indeed
"Gods Guardians of the Range"
|Irish Ranchers Today
|Flynn, and Son's
|1912 Irish News
|Irish in the News
|Contact Jim Deely
|Taylor Barry & John
Michael J. O'Sullivan, 65, of Adel was killed Friday night when his truck left the pavement of highway 140 and overturned.
The accident occurred 27 miles east of here near Drake's Creek as he, his wife and one son were returning from the Lake county Fair where the son had shown a horse. The horse was injured and had to be destroyed. Mrs. O'Sullivan slight injuries. Mr O'Sullivan was born June 1, 1903, in County Cork Ireland, the son of Dan and Julia O'Sullivan.He ame to Lake county in the 1920's and had been in the sheep business for many years.
He was married at Reno on October 19, 1949, To Anna Patricia Cahill, who survives, as to five sons at home, Daniel, Patrick, Michael, Timmy, and Jerry. Also surviving is one brother, Tim O'Sullivan, of County Cork, one sister, Albina O'Keeffe of county Cork.
Active Pall bearers were Gary Gooch, Glen Cleland, Jack Hickey, Mike Collins, Dan Collins, and John Lane. Honorary pallbearerswere Gerry O'Leary, Sr., Pat allinan, Simon O'Keeffe,Con 'Keeffe, Mike O'Keeffe, and Dave O' Conner.
Lake County Examiner
November 28, 2002
Ranchers's and owners of a construction equipment rental business, O'Sullivan Construction, Mike O'Sullivan has always dreamed of gathering wild horses cowboy-style, his wife explains.
"Catching wild Horses on horseback is a lost art," Mike O'Sullivan says. "Very few people have attempted and been successful at gathering large numbers of the wild horses."
One notable exception is John Rattray, a wheat and cattle rancher outside of Condon Oregon. Rattray is nationally known for catching the most horses by horseback.
When the bid was awarded Mike, he contacted Rattray and elicited his help and experience with the gather.
Rattray worked for the Fish and Wildlife from 1978 to 1995 and spent years managing wild horse herds. He's a proponent of the old fashioned way of gathering Horses.
"I don't care for choppers because of how many horses they cripple and stress it causes," Rattray says the mechanical method,. "They're plumb goofy acting."
"It rattles them, " Mike O'Sullivan adds. Takes a hard toll on their minds and sometimes, they stay that way forever."
Project Manager of the Sheldon-hart Refuges, Mike Nunn, echoes those statements, "Once they're caught on horseback, Nunn Agrees, "they calm down pretty quick."
While it recently became legal for horses to be gathered by Helicopter on fish and wildlife property, a horseback gather is less traumatic and therefore more advantageous, Nunn says. Unfortunate disadvantages are that gathers by horseback take longer to accomplish- up to a year in comparison to a couple of weeks by helicopter-and are more expensive as a result.
The wild herds, Nunn ackowledges, have to be managed. Competing with wildlife for space and forage the horses do extensive damage to the range. While nationally wild horse management doesn't have it's own budget, after the Badger wilfire three years ago, $440,00 to restore the range land was allocated over a three year period. A portionn of this was used to decrease herd numbers within five miles of the burn.
The Sheldon Refuge horses, Nunn stressed, are feral, not "wild" . Indeed, they are domesticated animals- released at the the end of World War 1. For this reason, they do not have the appearance of typical wild horse, but are "elegant ooking, quality standard and thoroughbreds, said Marla Bennett, the Sheldon's operation specialist.
Of the completed job, Nunn says, Mike and Mary O'Sullivan and Rattray, did a really good job for us. "With," he adds with a smile, "very little effort on our part,"Still the work wasn't easy.
In order to corral the horses, the location of traps and wings must first be determined, then built. Once the cowboys found a herd, they had to gather and transport the traps by hand, portable Powder River corral panels.
Wings sometimes up to two miles long built out of baling twine with colored strings attached were uses to funnel the horses into the traps.
Then they drove the dusty roads that criss cross the refuge in their pickup pulling a horse traler. Using binoculars, Mike O'Sullivan and Rattray , searched for a band of horses.
Once spotted, Mike O'Sullivan removed his own horse from the trailer, and followed them, herding gently in the direction of the wings and trap. Rattray followed as he could, keeping track of mike by radio. Ten hours days in the saddle were not uncommon, Mike O'Sullivan says.
They learned by experience that patience is important. "You never" Mary O'Sullivan emphasizes, "run a horse." If the horses bolted, she says "Mike would continue to walk his horses in their direction following slowly." When they'd settled he'd gradually redirect them towards the traps.
After moving the herd into the trap, Mike O'Sullivan would dismount to close the gate. This was a stressful part of the job, Mary O'Sullivan says, for often the horses circle back on themselves and would charge the gate looking for a way out. He stayed out of sight as much as possible not wanting to spook the horses anymore than they already were.
Then they let the horses settle overnight before loading them in trailers and taking them to the refuge Headquarters for inspection by brand inspector Buster Duffurena. After inspection, the horses were fed certified hay purchased from ranches in Plush and Adel, tested for virues, and quarantied for seven to ten days awaiting test results.