Ranching: Modern-Era
Inducted 2024

Arnold Bendish

Born in 1940, Arnold Bendish lived his entire life in the Fort Rice vicinity, except for the time he attended high school in Bismarck. He broke horses at the Wachter Ranch at age 20 and ranched with his dad until the elder Bendish retired. Bendish then established his own spread by purchasing the Gwyther Place to add to his dad’s acreage. He acquired the T Bar brand and named his ranch for it. He and his bride and their growing family also managed the famous Cannonball Ranch from 1970 until it was sold in 1995.

Bendish was in the vanguard of ranchers who crossbred cattle, settling on the Gelbvieh breed. He took a short course in veterinary medicine which helped him be more self-sufficient in caring for his livestock. All hay and feed for his cattle and horses was homegrown. During the difficult drought of the 1980’s, Bendish removed his cattle to Wyoming until sufficient pasture resumed in North Dakota, rather than sell the quality herd he had worked so arduously to build up.

Ranch work, round ups and brandings were always done in the traditional manner–on horseback–with assistance from well-trained border collies and without any chutes, dart guns and trailers.

The T Bar Ranch hosted many social events that introduced greenhorns, city folk and foreign visitors to the rigors and rewards of ranch work. He sponsored rodeo and roping activities at his ranch for youth from all over the United States.

In the early 1970s, Bendish promoted saddle horse pulls and chariot racing at North Dakota horse events. He also began participating in team penning and team roping in earnest, winning championship saddles and plenty of buckles and ribbons.

Bendish died in 2006 and was eulogized as “the epitome of the traditional rancher who had what it took to be a real cowboy and who always wore a hat and a smile”. His widow and a son continue to operate the T Bar.