In 1884 as the world rushed to the American West for the prospect of “free” land, John J. Sullivan, a young Irish immigrant, filed a homestead in central Wyoming’s Shirley Basin.
Q Creek Ranch is a combination of the original Sullivan Homestead along with the Shamrock Ranch, Qualey Ranch, Schmale Ranch, Palm Ranch, Dana Meadows Ranch, Meer Ranch, Jerrard Ranch, McKee Ranch, Difficulty Creek Ranch, and the Leo Sheep Company.
For decades, Q Creek was a typical Old West ranch. Horses were the only mode of transportation and power source for farming. At one point, draft horse teams on the ranch numbered more than 20. But teamsters soon became scarce, and technology marched on. In 1945 Q Creek bought its first tractor. In 1988 it purchased a small airplane. Technology has come a long way, but the iconic cowboy working alongside his dog is as apparent today as it was at the turn of the century.
In 1980 Q Creek became a permanent cattle ranch following many years as a sheep ranch. Years ago, ranch hands lived in 30 or more sheep wagons scattered around the ranch. Today, cowboys live in a bunkhouse located at the main headquarters below Shirley Mountain. For a ranch the size of Q Creek, housing, feeding and coordinating activities for cowboys and ranch hands becomes a big part of the operation.
Although times have changed, Q Creek’s current operational methods and values are the same ideals that once carried a young Irish immigrant to success on a 160-acre homestead.