Saddle Up With Tom

Saddle Up with Tom


The Pedro Mountains

I want to tell you about my friend Tom.  Actually, he’s not just a friend.



Tom’s Grandpa and my Grandpa were friends.


James Miles and Bob Cardwell

Tom’s Dad and my Dad are the best of friends. Oh the stories they tell!


Jim Price and Bob Cardwell
I’m pretty sure they were studying for finals in this picture.

Tom’s Mom and my Mom are the very best of friends.  When I was 7 or 8 years old I decided one night, that if anything ever happened to my Mom and Dad, I would go and live with Bob and Sharon.  They were my back up plan.  I’m not sure that they knew that but it sure helped me fall asleep.


Peg Price and Sharon Cardwell

So, you see Tom isn’t just a friend.  Tom is family.


Tom and Casey


Tom playing Mom’s keyboard

Tom grew up, with his big sister Brenda, in the Pedro Mountains, one of the prettiest spots you’ll ever find.  They were ranch kids and grew up doing what ranch kids do, riding, roping, gathering cattle, feeding cattle, playing in the dirt and the mud, raising bum calves and having so much fun doing it.


Cardwell Ranch in the Pedro Mountains


Tom and Brenda


Tom feeding a bum calf

One day they came home from school to find a bear in the tree right in front of their house.  So they jump out of the car and wrestled it to the ground with their bare hands.  Actually, Sharon wouldn’t let them out of the car until help arrived with more firepower but if she had only let them, I know they could have done it.


Tom and Brenda wrestling the bear

Some boys grow up to be cowboys because they grew up on a ranch and it’s all they know.  They might have, just as easily, grown up to be teachers, bankers or scientists if they had been born somewhere else.


Some boys grow up to be Cowboys because it’s who they were born to be.  It’s in their DNA.  It’s not just what they do, it’s who they are, and they couldn’t be anything else.  Tom could have been born on the east coast, the west coast or anywhere in between and he would have still grown up to be a Cowboy.  It’s just who he is, a Cowboy and a Cattleman.


A Cowboy, a Cattleman and Tough Enough to Wear Pink

Tom has worked on his family’s fifth generation cattle ranch, rode saddle broncs and barebacks and worked on other ranches in other places.  Then he came home and married a beautiful girl named Heidi.  Then they had a beautiful baby girl named Bristol.  They started up their own cow calf operation and began preparing to welcome a new baby this summer.


Tom riding broncs


Tom and Heidi


Tom and Bristol on their way out to feed


Tom and Bristol gathering cattle


Teaching Bristol how to feed baby calves


Tom, Heidi and Bristol

Six weeks ago life was humming along just as it should.  Tom was taking care of his cattle and his family.  And then life turned upside down…..upside down and inside out.


Working Cattle


Feeding Hay

Now he’s recovering from surgery and getting ready for chemo.  This was definitely not on the spring round up schedule.

But here’s the thing with Cowboys, they don’t back down, ever.  Trust me, I’ve known a few and it can be a very frustrating quality.  But in this situation it will serve him well.

The other thing about Cowboys is, they’ve got grit.  Webster defines grit as a firmness of mind and spirit, an unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.

And the thing about Cowboys friends is, that when they know he’s got a long, hard ride ahead of him, they saddle up.  They saddle up and ride, right along side.  They ride right along side no matter how long, how hard, how cold or windy it gets.


Branding Crew at the Cardwell Ranch 2011

True Cowboys, true friends and true grit.  That’s what will help Tom kick Cancer down the road and out of town, for good. So that he can get back to what he does best, riding, roping and taking care of his family.  Cancer is about to figure out that it’s messing with the wrong Cowboy.

If you’d like to saddle up with the Cardwell Family check out their Facebook page, Saddle Up with the Cardwells and Help Tom Kick Cancer.  You can find out more about upcoming fundraisers planned for May 11th in Lusk WY and May 24th in Casper WY and leave Tom, Heidi and their family some words of encouragement.


Cardwell Family
Brenda, Clayton, Zade and Hannah Williams, Bob and Sharon Cardwell, Bristol, Heidi and Tom Cardwell

Let’s Saddle Up!

Do get the latest updates on fundraisers for Tom go to www.saddleupwithtom.wordpress .com

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11 Responses to Saddle Up With Tom

  1. I am a descendant of the Irene’s and remember hearing of the Cardwell’s my whole life. I know I met the Price’s, Mile’s & Cardwell’s during the few months living out in the Leo area before we moved to Thermopolis. My grandparents were Ab & Alice Irene, parents Bud & Alberta Robertson. I am so sorry to hear of this set back in your lives. Time to “Cowboy Up” like never before. Cancer can be defeated with attitude, humor and pure stubbornness. God bless you all!

  2. Bev Talkington says:

    Tom came into our life when my husband Dallas was the Rodeo Coach at NCTA. Dallas and Tom hit it off from the beginning, that winning smile and great attitude was something that always gave the team the support they needed. Many young people come into your life and when they leave school you never hear from them again, Tom has always stayed in touch, and it has meant so much to us. We pray for a full recovery and that soon Tom will be back in the saddle. Hugs and Prays to you Cowboy……Dallas and Bev

    • prettywork says:

      Thank You Bev and Dallas for your thoughts and prayers. I know they mean a lot to Tom and Heidi. We are all looking forward to Tom being a horseback again soon.

  3. Luke Christensen says:

    Hey Tom. I haven’t seen you since high school rodeo. There are a few of us out here with the big C. Push through and youll come out just fine. My son was only 3 months old when I got the bad news and 3 years latter I’m in remission and still chasen horses. You can make it.

    Luke Christensen

  4. Jen says:

    I found this blog though a friend who works with Tom at FSA. My sister was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma about 4 years ago. She is recently cancer free for 2.5 years. Tom sounds alot like her, tough as nails and will not be brought down by this. Please know my prayers are with Tom, his family and the entire community. He will be back with the cows full time before long!

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  7. Guy Hall says:

    Tom, you befrended me when we were in Texas. As a matter of fact, you taught me how to make belts of a kind and quality so as to make it possible for me to make a living in the world of Hollywood! A teacher you are. As a friend, you were there for me and a lot of the other guys who came into association with you. I’ve attempted to contact you several times before, but had only a reference to Lone Pine. I’m sorry to hear that you are having to fight this fight, however, you are one of the strongest willed persons I’ve ever met and I call myself fortunate to have known you. If you have the oppertunity to give me a call, I’d love to hear from you. I can only be reached by phone, so here’s the number: (480) 430-7530. I’m about 19 miles north of the Mexican border in Sierra Vista, Arizona. You hang in there Tom. The word quit isn’t in you.

    Your friend,

    Guy Hall

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