Leaders of Ranching & Rodeo
For 50 years, William ‘Bill’ Hamann was a familiar figure in western North Dakota’s cattle industry. Born near Richardton on March 26, 1904, he began his livestock career in that area in the late 1920s buying cattle through auctions and over local scales throughout western North Dakota and eastern Montana. During the 1930s, he established many accounts in the Corn Belt and southern cattle areas.
Bill and his family moved to Dickinson around 1940. He and other associates established Western Livestock Company in October 1948, developing it into the largest auction in North Dakota. Bill traveled extensively throughout the area, gaining many loyal customers over the next 30 years. He saw the evolution of today’s marketing options.
Dozens of people remember Bill for his trust and honesty in dealing with fellow ranchers and businessmen. When the market was hot, there were many willing livestock buyers, but when the prices took a dive, Bill was always there–sometimes standing alone–to put a floor under the livestock market, whether at his market or at other auctions he attended. Livestock marketing was not Bill’s only interest. He owned several farms, ranches and feedlots across several counties. He was a well-known source of cattle for numerous ranchers just starting in the business and was an excellent judge of cattle and people.
Though he never relished publicity, he received numerous awards from state and regional livestock organizations.
Bill and his wife, Viola, married in 1936 and raised 10 children. Bill never really retired but a stroke slowed him down the last six months of his life. He died July 27, 1979, at age 75.