WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees

L.E. "LARRY" MOORE, JR. (100)

Larry Moore's family has been ranching in Rucker Canyon for over a century. His great grandfather arrived in 1893, his grandfather, Fred, was the second generation, his dad, Lawrence, was the third generation, and now today as a fourth generation rancher, Larry Moore Jr. carries on a ranching legacy that has been 116 years in the making.

It is not surprising to know that Larry has a love of the land, a thorough knowledge of animal husbandry and an understanding of herd management. He has spent a lifetime honing his skills. Larry has a simpler version of his life as a rancher. He said, "I enjoy and like the life; in debt and out of groceries all the time." He added, "I guess ignorance is bliss; I'm just happy all the time."

Larry was born November 10, 1944, in Douglas, Arizona and was raised on the Rafter X Ranch located in Rucker Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Larry has one sister and one brother. He attended Rucker Canyon Elementary School and graduated from Valley Union High School in Elfrida, Arizona.

In high school, Larry was active in the local FFA Chapter and played football and basketball. After high school, he attended the University of Arizona and studied Animal Science. While at the U of A, Larry was a member of the Livestock Judging Team and was an Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Brother.

In 1974, Larry added a partner to his life when he married Annie Accomazzo, the Home Economics teacher from Willcox High School. Annie was raised on a cotton and cattle farm in Laveen, Arizona and was attending Arizona State University. She and Larry had met one summer when she worked in Sunizona for Paul and Julia Riggs. That chance meeting was the beginning of a two-year courtship and only with a more detailed review does one begin to understand why a Laveen girl was seeking a job at Willcox High School. I dare say it was not the $6950 contract offered by the school. I say the real reason this farm girl from Laveen wanted a job in Willcox was Larry Moore Jr.

Larry and Annie's life has been full to the brim. They have been active in the Cattlegrowers and Cowbelles organizations at the local, state and national levels, while operating the ranch and welcoming their two children adopted from the Arizona Childrens' Home, Cassie Jo in 1983 and Jake in 1985. Larry was also active in the Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation District. He served on the Federal Land Bank Board of Directors for 5 years, served on the Cochise County Cooperative Extension Service Board and has received the Willcox FFA Honorary Chapter Degree. He served in the Army Reserves for 6 years and has served on the Rucker Elementary School District Board for 30 years.

Larry and his Dad had a cow/calf and a stocker operation. A stocker operation means they crossed lots of cattle out of Mexico through the stockyards in Douglas, Arizona. Back in those days of crossing cattle in Douglas, all of the business deals were done at the Gadsden Hotel. Larry said, "We did business and wrote sales/purchase agreements on match book covers and napkins from the Saddle and Spur Cafe located in the Gadsden."

The traders they worked with were the who's who in cattle trading. Names like Puyo, Phil Stadler, Pete Pasco, Tom Seliman and even one trader named "Lying Louie." Lying Louie may not have been on the who's who list, but what a name for a cow trader!

Think about it for a moment. Sales contracts worth 100's of thousands of dollars written on a napkin from the restaurant. You have heard the saying the more things change the more they stay the same. My example:

I made a visit to Larry and Annie's home for my interview for tonight's story. When I arrived Annie had used her ASU schoolteacher skills and presented me with a 4 page single spaced paper full of biographical information. Larry reverted back to his cattle trading stationary and wrote down a few thoughts for me on a paper towel.

Larry's ranch country has flat land to mountaintops, rolling ridges with brush and mesquite; it is a good strong country. With the cow/calf operation they were always looking at long-term herd improvements, and with the stocker side they were always worried about gain, rain and market conditions.

Larry loves his horses, Red Brangus cows and his Border Collies, but he also had a rather unique, but annoying pet crow. This crow lived off of grasshoppers and dog food. When Larry was riding horseback, the crow would land on his shoulder and pick the glasses off his nose or take the pen out of his pocket. If Larry was out on the ranch in the work truck the crow would fly in for a landing on the side mirror and go for a ride. He followed the school bus to get cookies from the kids. When Annie was doing her art work, the crow would steal the paint brush, take it up to the roof and drop it. The wet brush would slide down the roof leaving a freshly painted stripe behind. Annie would try to hide the brush under a newspaper, but the crow would be watching, and when she left the room the crow would look under the newspaper, find the brush and back to the rooftop it went. Larry said when he was "mechanic'n" on a pickup with wrenches scattered across the fender, the crow would steal a wrench and hop away. He said, "You couldn't catch him to take it away from him, so you had to trade him something to get your wrench back."

Larry has come up through the ranks. He first worked for his dad as a hired hand, he later became his partner and 28 years ago he became the owner of the Rafter X Ranch. Over time, Larry has expanded his operation taking in two neighboring ranches and thus creating the Bar M Bar Cattle Company.

Today, Larry has leased out the ranches in Rucker Canyon and bought a small ranch in the Dos Cabezas, hoping to slow down a little. In setting up the new Bar M Bar headquarters, Annie oversaw the building of a new hacienda. Larry, wishing to maintain a lifestyle he loves, brought along his Red Brangus cows, a few horses and his Border Collies, but no pet crow!

Twenty five years ago, in 1984, Larry's Dad, Lawrence, was inducted into the Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame. Tonight, L.E. "Larry" Moore Jr. is recognized for his lifelong work in the cattle industry and as one of the inductees for 2009. He takes his place in the Hall of Fame right beside his Dad. Please welcome Larry Moore Jr.

Written and Presented by Eddie Browning