Eugene “Gene” Ulrich, age 100

Eugene “Gene” Ulrich

Mass of Christian Burial for Eugene “Gene” Ulrich, age 100, longtime Ziebach County rancher, were held Monday, November 28, 2016 at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Faith, SD. Fr. Jim Hoerter officiated with burial to follow in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery.

Eugene L. “Gene” Ulrich was born at the Ulrich homestead attended by a neighbor, Mrs. Menzel, midwife, on November 6, 1916 to George and Laura (Bakewell) Ulrich on Flintrock Creek, Ziebach County, 5 miles northeast of Faith, SD. He attended the one room Ridgeview School a mile southeast of their home through the 8th grade. He walked or rode horseback to school, and as the oldest of five children, drove a one-horse buggy bringing his younger siblings to school as well. He grew to young manhood in that area and began working at a young age with his family and area ranchers around the communities along Flintrock Creek and the Moreau River.

Gene acquired an early love for livestock, especially horses; breaking a number for himself and neighbors. He rode many different horses through the years, but his favorite saddlehorse was a pinto mare he named “Streak.” Gene was one of the first people to register his Appaloosa horses in the Moscow, Idaho Appaloosa Registry book.

He worked for a short time as a linotype operator for the Faith Independent newspaper. He couldn’t get used to the four walls that closed in around him, so he went back to the outdoor life. He spent much of his life traveling around the United States trailing, shipping, or caring for horses. He always enjoyed the wildness of a good rodeo and for many years he helped Eddie Bachman with his rodeo shows. In 1951 he rode in the Faith 40 Mile Horse Race. He later wrote the story “Forty Miles to the Finish” telling of the event and a book, “The Nature of Horses” in 1995.

Gene was an avid promoter of the Faith Stock Show and Rodeo and he never missed a “work day” at the grounds for many years. Gene served as President of the Faith Stock Show and Rodeo during 1956-57.

He began an interest in knot tying, learning from Jens “Rattlesnake” Petersen and years later saw a note in the Western Horseman which led to an acquaintance and trip to New Zealand in December of 1986 to learn more about the art. There he traveled the country and learned from his friend about using mathematics in knot tying.

He will be remembered by family and friends as a gentle man and gentle cowboy and local historian.

Gene passed away on Sunday evening, November 20, 2016 on the ranch, in Ziebach Co., SD.

Gene is survived by his brother, Dan (Doris) Ulrich, Faith, SD and their children, Colleen Gustafson, Rapid City, SD, Leonard (Louise) Ulrich and Robert (Amy) Ulrich, Faith, SD; one sister, Grace Chamness, Faith, SD, and her children, Michele McCain, Faith, SD, Melanie Eads, Albuquerque, NM; and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Rita and Dorothy; one brother-in-law, Earl Chamness; two nieces; one nephew and one great-niece.

Condolences may be sent through our website at

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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