A Look Back into the Past of Sheep Ranching in Idaho
By Tess Lightner, Trailing of the Sheep Festival Archives Intern
The image of these sheep in the beautiful field surrounded by hills and snow-covered peaks serves as the best example of the sheepherding life in Idaho. These sheep are grazing on what was the Busterback Ranch, in the Stanley Basin of the Sawtooth Valley and next to U.S. Forest Service land.
Beginning around 1930, this ranch has been passionately owned and operated by the Breckenridge Family, and more recently by longtime Idahoan sheep rancher, Katie Breckenridge.
After graduating college, Breckenridge decided to work for the U.S. Forest Service here in Idaho, and soon after became the manager of the Sun Valley Horsemen’s Center in the late 1960s. A little while later, Breckenridge went on to work with her family on Busterback Ranch, deciding to continue the legacy of the sheep ranch.
What Katie Breckenridge and the whole Breckenridge family has accomplished on this range represents the history and importance to the culture of sheep ranching in the Valley today.
To learn more about sheep ranching in the Wood River Valley, make sure to check the program of events for The Trailing of the Sheep Festival.