Delbert Warren Hibbert Life Sketch

Delbert Hibbert was born on Feb 14, 1920, in Olden, Texas to Glen Warren and Lillie Lynn.

Delbert soon had a brother who was his little buddy. Eldon was a cowboy and rodeo bulldogger. Eldon went to NFR in the ’50s. Eldon died when he fell off of an oil derrik in 1961.

Eldon Leon Aug 11, 1924, Mamie Evelyn, Aug 13, 1925, Glenn Wilburn Jan 31, 1927, William Thomas, Feb 24, 1929.

The year 1920 was nicknamed, “the year that made the decade roar.” Many world events happened that year that would have an impact on Delbert!

  • The League of Nations was created.
  • After President Wilson had a stroke, the First Lady controlled policy for 1 1/2 years.
  • Women gained the right to vote.
  • Prohibition of alcohol was enacted to the 18th amendment to the constitution.
  • American literature began to be transformed by the “lost generation.”
  • The KKK which was created during the reconstruction period after the civil war reemerged
  • . A guy named Charles Ponzi came up with a sales scheme.
  • 1920 brought the advent of the very first radio. Within 36 months, 500,000 radios had been brought and 700 commercial radio stations were broadcasting.

Delbert met and married Annie on Jan 6, 1946.

Delbert and Annie had two children. James Wayne and Carol Jean.

Once upon a time, Delbert shoed horses, for Alzo Willet. This happened while Delbert was working at the racetrack, La Mesa Park in Raton, New Mexico. Delbert and Alzo became friends because of their associations at the racetrack.

Delbert was a horseshoer at the track. On race day Delbert would make rounds at the track and check all the shoes on the horses before they raced. One day after working with the horses, Alzo saw Delbert and ask him what he was doing? Delbert told him he was probably going home. He told Delbert “you are coming home with me,” Delbert said “oh yeah?” Alzo said, “Hell ya, if you can’t use your friends who can you use?

Carol married Kent on Dec 18, 1971, and they had three children.

Delbert loved his grandkids! He spent a lot of time with them!

In the year 2020, Carol his daughter wrote his life story as she knows it. Delbert had an amazing life and was a happy person. It is included here, and titled:

Tales from Delbert’s Hat……by Carol Jean Hibbert Welch

This is a collection of many of the old cowboy hats through the years, who have donated their hats and their stories!

Solano’s Boot & Western Wear is a shining star in the downtown Raton business district. Founded in 1956 as Solano Shoe Shop, patriarch Andy Solano still works daily on boots and shoes in his workshop at the back of the store.

I have been hanging here on Solano’s wall for the past fifteen years or so. Now Ralph is putting pictures of all of us into a book and he asked me to tell you all about the man who used to wear me, Delbert Hibbert.

I’m a brown hat. That won’t surprise the people that knew Delbert. It’s the only color hat he wore. I’m kind of a sorry-looking sight because Delbert probably wore me hard for about ten years.

I started out as his good hat. He wore me to work as the outrider at the race track, and when he went somewhere that he had to look good. When I got a little worse for wear he wore me for every day. That meant for doing chores and such.

This paint you see on my crown, it got there when he and Annie were painting the kitchen ceiling. I reckon he figured it would be better to get paint on me than in his hair. As sloppy as he painted, I’m sure that was so.

I figure I came to be here because Delbert ordered me right here at Solano’s, probably in the mid ‘70’s. You see he never could go in and buy a hat off the rack. He had a little bitty head and his hats had to be custom made. Most places don’t carry a size 6 3/8 hat. But that’s what he wore. Delbert wasn’t a big man. He stood about five foot six and had a slim build.

I came here because of Delbert Hibbert’s grandson, Jim Welch. [Insert Picture of Jim] Here’s how that story goes. Ralph had been after Delbert for a long time to bring an old hat in to hang on the wall. Delbert thought it was silly, so he never gave it too much thought, and Ralph never got a hat. Ralph really wanted one of Delbert’s hats so he took a different approach. He decided to see if the next time Delbert brought his grandkids in he could get them to talk their grandpa into bringing in a hat. He knew Delbert’s grandkids could talk him into just about anything. The next time he and Jim came in Ralph told Jim that he would trade him one of grandpa’s old hats for two of the hatpins Jim collected. Jim talked grandpa into giving Ralph one of his old hats and he went home with the hat pins. Just for your information, Jim told me he still has them.

Ralph said he wanted me to tell you about Delbert and his life. I ain’t very good at this but I’ll give her a try.

I’ve been told that Delbert Warren Hibbert was born February 16, 1920 in Olden, Eastland County, Texas. Now I know this is a place none of you folks have heard of before. Delbert was born into a ranching and horse tradition. His grandfather Hiram Hibbert brought the first Steel Dust horses to Stephens County Texas from Arkansas.

His great-grandfather, John Hibbert ranched in Dallas county Texas in the 1850s and his livestock carried the HIB brand. This is where the nickname that all of the future Hibbert boys went by would come from. None of the Hibbert brothers was not called Hib at one time or another. In fact, that’s what most of the older cowboys in these parts knew Delbert himself by.

Delbert’s folks were Glenn Warren and Lillie Lynn Hibbert. At the age of two, he moved with his parents to Stephens County Texas, and the land homesteaded by Delbert’s grandfather Hiram. They didn’t do it like we do now with a rental truck. Delbert and his folks moved probably fifty miles in a wagon pulled by a team of horses. He often told his kids and grandkids that he remembered riding in that wagon when they moved.

Once on the home place, Glenn and Lillie added three brothers and one sister for Delbert. They were Eldon, Evelyn, Glenn, and W.T. (Tee as he became known.). Here the legacy of ranching and horses continued. Glenn ranched, raised, and broke horses, and hauled freight using a wagon and team. He taught his boys to work with stock too and they earned extra money breaking horses.

The Hibbert kids rode their horses to the Ivan schoolhouse about three or four miles from the homeplace.

Delbert loved telling the kids and grandkids about getting off their horses to open gates and messing around until it was too late to go to school.

He also told stories playing tricks on each other on the way to school.

On a trip to Texas in 1957, Delbert took Annie and his kids to see where he went to school. The old school had been closed for some time, but a neighbor had the key and let them in. The caretaker gave his daughter Carol Jean a primer that was used when Delbert learned to read and she has it to this day.

Delbert lived in Stephens County until the early ‘30’s when he left home to do ranch work. He worked on ranches around West Texas as a cowboy and broke horses. In his spare time, Delbert rode broncs at local rodeos. He lived this life until he came to Colfax County with Gerald Hill in 1939. For the rest of 1939, he made his living breaking horses for various ranchers. While both were breaking horses for Kelly Moore of Moore Ranch, he became friends with Edward “Buddy” Moore who still lives in Raton.

In 1940 he went to work for the Box Cattle Company southeast of Raton. It was here that he met Jim and Cleo Dunn. Jim was the foreman at the Box and he later became the Chief of Police in Raton. Jim and Cleo took young Delbert under their wing and became the parents he had not had for some time. The family feeling stayed for the rest of their lives.

When Delbert came back from World War II the Dunns took him in until he found a job at Moore Ranch.

When Jim retired and he and Cleo moved to Tucumcari, Delbert and his family stayed in touch. These people would be like grandparents to Carol Jean and Jimmy and be called Uncle Jim and Aunt Cleo until their deaths in the 1970’s.

In 1941 he met Annie Sproule, when he went to her father’s ranch with Jim Dunn. They had come to check on cattle that were pastured on land Box had leased from Sam Sproule. Delbert and Annie fell in love and began courting, but World War II would put a halt to any marriage plans. He left Raton and served in the army in the South Pacific.

When the war was over he came back to Raton and married Annie on January 6, 1946. Now the young couple was ready to start the life both loved, raising cattle.

They got a brand and bought twenty-five head. Their brand was the seven upside down A slash . They branded their cattle and ran them on the Sproule Ranch.

Delbert ranched and broke horses in the Raton area until 1948. At this time, he and Annie went to Kansas City, Missouri and he attended National Trade School where he studied boot making. He graduated in 1949 with high honors They returned to Raton and Delbert and Annie opened Hibbert’s Boot and Shoe Shop. They owned and operated it until 1953, when the outdoors called Delbert back.

Delbert returned to the ranching life he loved. They took the equipment and stored it in the basement of their home until Delbert sold it to Andy Solano, Ralph’s dad, to use in Solano’s Boot and Shoe Repair.

During that time they added two children to their family. They were Carol Jean, born in 1950 and James Wayne born in 1953. They had waited almost five years to start their family and these children brought joy to both their lives.

Also in the early ‘50’s, Annie and Delbert decided they were going to seriously go into the quarter horse business and acquired a horse brand. This brand was the Y cross . From 1953 until 1975, Delbert would raise horses, work for Fort Union Cattle Company, Moore Ranch Company, Van Buskirk Ranch, and Raton Ranch Company.

About 1960, he began his horseshoeing business. He shod horses at ranches and La Mesa Park until May of 1971 when he was kicked by a horse and broke his leg. After his leg mended he did ranch work, ponied horses, and worked as the backup rider at La Mesa Park. In 1960,

Delbert and Annie were to realize another dream. It had been Delbert’s lifelong dream to have a place of his own and raise horses on it. The Hibberts bought the seven acres that was George Mackey place east of Raton. Delbert set about building barns and corrals for his horses and Annie insisted there had to be work done on the house. In October 1962 the Hibbert family took up residence on what Delbert always lovingly called Shoe String Horse Ranch.

Delbert and Annie were the founders of the Trailblazer’s 4-H Club, which was organized in 1962. They remained its leaders until 1966. This was the first 4-H Horse Club in Colfax County. Delbert was in his element. He was working with the two things he loved most, horses and kids. He set about teaching his members to show at halter, run barrels, poles, rein, etc. Soon the Trailblazer kids were winning ribbons wherever they went. It wasn’t all work though. The club rode in parades and took a yearly overnight trail ride. This was one place where Delbert sometimes showed his teasing side. In 1962, after they had pitched camp on the Van Buskirk place on Barela Mesa, Delbert told the kids they had to keep a sharp look out for bears and that bears wouldn’t come near the fire. David Owen took him very seriously and stayed up almost all night keeping the fire going. The next day Delbert laughed and told him there were no bears.

In May 1963, the greatest tragedy of Delbert’s life fell on him. His son Jimmy was killed in a horse accident, at the family ranch, while he was practicing for a horse show. This was a blow that took Delbert years to even remotely recover from.

The grief was eased somewhat in 1969 when his daughter started dating Kent Welch. He and Kent became good friends and Delbert had a young man to do things with again. In 1971 he gave his daughter to this young man. In 1974, they gave him his first grandchild James Kent. This was more salve for Delbert’s pain. Then the two little girls came along, Samantha Carol in1977 and Victoria Leann in 1979. These three kids would be the light of his life until his death.

In 1975, Delbert was hired as the outrider at La Mesa Park. This was a job he would hold until his retirement in 1987.

The people in the stands soon would look for the man, in the white shirt with the brown hat riding the good looking gray, sorrel, or roan horse, leading the horses onto the track. Delbert also knew that his job was much more important than that. He caught many a jockey that couldn’t pull up his horse and saved him from going over the rail. George Jamison, long time track maintenance supervisor liked to tell this story.

At the end of a race, George was sitting on his tractor waiting for the horses to leave the track. A horse got away from a jockey and he wasn’t able to get him pulled up. George said it was a real runaway. The jockey was headed right for the tractor and harrow. George said he knew that they were going to hit the machinery before he had a chance of moving it. He said he knew that the jockey and the horse would both be killed. He didn’t figure there was any way around it. Then there was Delbert and old Blue. He caught the horse and pulled him up before he hit that machinery. George swore Delbert saved the horse and the jockey both.

At the end of the day, if his grandkids were there, you could see all three of them piled on that old horse with grandpa. They would ride with him to his trailer and they would all head for home. The race track folks would all chuckle. They knew this was what Delbert’s true love was.

After Delbert’s retirement in 1987, he and Annie spent their time visiting the grandkids and fishing. They enjoyed that time until Delbert was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1990. It seemed his health deteriorated quickly from there. Annie and Delbert were forced to get rid of what was left of their horses because he couldn’t take care of them any more.

It was at this point that two other important people came into their lives. Paul and LindaGrant had bought Pat Chavez’s place behind Delbert and Annie. They were warm people who also raised quarter horses and felt the need to have these two older people in their lives. Paul and Delbert became fast friends. Delbert would tell him stories and Paul would listen for hours.

As Paul and Linda’s horse herd grew they leased pasture from Delbert and Annie. If the weather was warm they would walk outside and he would look at the horses over the fence. Then even walking became a chore. He had to be satisfied with the pictures and videos Linda brought.

In the fall of 1993, the Grant’s bought a quarter horse stud named The Fame Game. They were proud of him and told Delbert all about him. He told Annie he sure would like to see that stud, but he figured he never would since Grants had taken him to their other place in Kansas. When Paul and Linda brought him back to New Mexico, they surprised Delbert by bringing him over. Delbert went to the back door and was able to see this fine piece of horse flesh.

Delbert passed on on March 27, 1994. Annie, Carol Jean, Kent, and the kids were mighty grateful that he was able to be at home because of the wonderful people at Caring Unlimited Hospice. He was able to spend the last days of his life right where he wanted to be, with his family. Whether it was riding broncs, breaking horses to team, ranching, breeding and raising quality quarter horses, being a husband, father, grandpa, or friend Delbert was always a man who was loved, liked, and respected.

Mr. Alan Worm once said to Annie after Delbert passed on, “He was the last of the real cowboys.” I’m here to tell you I sure was proud to be his hat.