Ralph Francis Murray was born October 3, 1911 at his family’s Beulah, ND homestead. He spent his lifetime in Mercer County, ND.
Murray owned and operated the Ralph Murray Ranch, 12 miles southwest of Beulah, ND, from 1948 until 1971. The ranch consisted of about 3600 acres of deeded land. He also leased roughly 1500 acres on ND state school trust land.
He participated in local rodeos from the 1930’s through 50’s in wild horse races, Pack-up and Go races, Cowboy’s Quadrille and bareback riding. Murray also worked as a pickup man for bronc riding events. Murray was a good neighbor and one of the “old school” cowboys who preferred working on horseback. He kept a herd of roughly a dozen horses, many of which he himself broke.
Murray maintained and improved one of Mercer County’s first ranches, started by family friend Tom Keogh in 1896. He grew his operation to a herd of about 300 cows, careful not to overburden his pastures. He built a quality herd, with bulls purchased from the Miles City, MT Experiment Station.
He was Rodeo Arena Director for the Beulah, ND Cowboy’s Reunion Rodeo from 1939 – 1954, and was elected first vice-president of the newly formed North Dakota Rodeo Association in 1952. He was a 50-year member of the ND Stockmen’s Association (1937-1987), a Charter member and Director of the Mercer County Farm Bureau and ND Brand Inspector. Murray’s volunteer positions included that of Charter member and Director of the Beulah Chamber of Commerce, leader in the Knife River 4-H Club, president of the Mercer County 4-H Club Council, board member of the Beulah Congregational Church and board member of Beulah County Nursing Home.
Murray died May 9, 2004 in Beulah, ND.