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Raymond ‘Butch’ Luger

North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee - 2005
Modern-era Ranching

Raymond ‘Butch’ Luger was born November 27, 1907, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His parents were both orphaned immigrants from Germany/Austria. The family moved to Raleigh, North Dakota, in 1912, establishing permanent roots on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Fort Yates in 1923.

Butch married Thelma Lucy Claymore, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, on October 8, 1941, in Fort Yates, they had nine children.

He was born to be an entrepreneur, starting with chickens his mother gave him at age 12 and other livestock. Even during the Depression, he grew his herd to around 1,500, shipping it to Chicago in the early 1940s. With his earnings, Butch purchased another 100 yearling heifers.

Butch was a rancher, with 30,000 acres on the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River reservations. He ran 1,500 head of cattle, 100 head of brood mares and 150 head of buffalo. The buffalo were intended to cross breed with the cattle. The ranch is still in operation today.

As a horseman, Butch started riding bareback horses in area rodeos in the early 1920s. He raised winning Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, traveling from Manitoba to New Mexico for racing; champion timed-event horses; outstanding working ranch horses; and champion chariot teams.

Butch was instrumental in producing and carrying on the Fort Yates Rodeo in the early 1940s. He also built a racetrack at the rodeo grounds for horse and chariot racing.

Butch owned and operated the Diamond Z Grocery Store (the White Buffalo Food Market), which is still family owned in Fort Yates. His wife owned and operated the Diamond Z Laundromat and Thelma’s Clothing Store.

Just a few of the awards Butch received included the 1969 AQHA All-American Futurity, NDSU Agriculturist of the Year, inductee of the North Dakota Boxing Hall of Fame (as a boxer and coach) and lifelong/honored member of the North Dakota Jaycees and the Royal Order of the Knights of Columbus.

Butch served on the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission for 10 years and as a Sioux County Commissioner for 12. He was a believer in conservation and one of the prime movers in the Cedar Soil District. Butch died October 30, 1993, in Mobridge, South Dakota.

Raymond ‘Butch’ Luger

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