Cattle Drives in Montana- About Us

Our History

Ranching is a heritage.  It is handed down through parents and grandparents, taught by example, and learned through hard work. Joe and Iris were married in 1949 and looking forward to their first child they each worked hard to saved enough money to buy their first 6 mother cows. Over the next 15 years they grew their herd as well as their family, leasing pasture on the Dryhead Ranch and in Red Lodge, Montana always looking and working toward owning their own ranch.

In 1967 Joe and Iris jumped at the opportunity to purchase the Schively Ranch and centered their cow herd on their own ranch. Tucked on the eastern slopes of the Pryor Mountains, deep in the heart of the Crow Indian Reservation, the Schively was lush, secluded, and most importantly theirs.  For the next 20 years Joe and Iris raised cattle, children, leased more land, expanded and brought their dream to fruition. In 1983 they hosted their first guests on a cattle drive holiday which began a tradition and enterprise that is still strong 35 years later. Cattle drives from Wyoming into beautiful Montana pastures were the main attraction where we met many wonderful people.  Sitting in a cook tent during a three day snow storm Joe and a guest from California created a partnership to buy a ranch and about a year later in 1989 Joe received word from a realtor friend that the Dryhead Ranch was coming up for sale.  A few phone calls later the ranch was owned by the new partnership and it completed a childhood dream Joe had always wished for.  The Dryhead Ranch let Joe and Iris expand their cow herd and grow their guest business while including their children in the operation of both of these ranches.  

Joe began growing his Quarter Horse breeding program during these years.  He was running 80 head of guest horses and he wanted to breed his own cow horses that the guests could ride.  So Joe began reading up on blood lines and buying studs that would work well with cattle.  The opportunity came to sell the Schively Ranch in 2001 and make the ranching operation smaller and more manageable and closer to Wyoming where our winter pastures and homestead roots were based.  Joe passed away in 2005 leaving his wife of 56 years, 6 married children, 28 grand children, and 56 great-grandchildren.  With Joe and Iris’s legacy firmly established the ranching and farming operation is the same today with three of his children working in the ranching business together with Iris and owning farming businesses separately in Wyoming.  Four generations have lived and worked on the Dryhead Ranch. The guest business operates each year as cows move into and out of the Dryhead Ranch and have grown from 6 cows to 1000 cows and calves, bulls, and heifers.  The horse program has produced money earners, competitive athletes, valuable brood mares and solid ranch horses.  Joe and Iris’s sons and daughters and grandchildren and now great-grandchildren are working to pass on this legacy.  YOU, too can experience the Dryhead Ranch legacy when you visit us for a cattle drive vacation.

Cattle Drives in Montana

In 2005, Joe lost his life in a tragic machinery accident. But he left behind his wife of 56 years, six children, 28 grandchildren, and 56 great-grandchildren. His legacy has been firmly established.

Today, four generations live and work the Dryhead Ranch. The guest business has flourished, and each summer the family hosts between 250 and 350 guests for cattle drive vacations. The 17 cattle purchased in 1949 have multiplied to include over 800 head. The horse program has produced money-earners, competitive athletes, valuable brood mares, and solid ranch horses. Joe and Iris’s sons, daughters, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren are working to pass on the legacy. You, too can experience the Dryhead Ranch legacy when you visit us for a cattle drive holiday!

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I just came home from a week at the Dryhead Ranch and wanted to thank Iris, Jennifer, Jackie, and Jake for the greatest vacation I have ever had! I have always wanted to see Montana and this experience was more than I ever hoped for. The bunkhouse, food, horses, scenery and hospitality shown by this wonderful family is something I will always fondly remember. I came home with answers and this really did change my life in a…Read More

Third time and keeps getting better! A big thanks to Jake, Sky, Jennifer, Jackie, Cannon, Suzie, and everyone else at the Dryhead for making my third trip to the ranch so much fun. We really got to experience a little bit of everything last week! The other guests and I really got along and seemed like had I had known them for years instead of just a few days. The warm family atmosphere at the…Read More

For many of you, the Dryhead Ranch experience is a once in a life time event. For me, it was a twice in a lifetime event, 1995 and 1997. Last night, I was excited to hear from my wife that she would LOVE to experience the Dryhead-Shivley world!!! So for me, it will be a three time experience and to be able to share it wife my wife Cindy, just makes it even more special.…Read More