While the world was in the second World War, in a small canyon enveloped in red rock and sandstone cliffs there was a young pretty lady Lila with her firstborn son, Sherman Zwicker. He was born on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1943. Eldon Emil Zwicker, his father, said the only thing he ever wanted to be was a cowboy, Sherm would follow in his footsteps. Lila, his mother was known for her practical jokes, he would follow in her footsteps also.
Sherm attended Battle Rock, a local one room school house. His teacher Audrey Allmon also taught his kids years later, she still resides at the head of McElmo Canyon. He graduated from Cortez. He was part of FFA and 4-H.
When Sherm was 18 he finally got his driver’s license because his parents were tired of coming to pick him up after he would ride his horse to places like Norwood, CO and then call for a ride. He told a story of helping Japp Redd to Paradox, UT when he was around 18. He was sitting around joking with the kids after the trail drive and at some point slapped his knee and exclaimed “You bet!” He said the little kids got real serious and solemnly informed him, “Good Mormons don’t bet.” He rode back to South Mountain, he said it was raining cats and dogs and he had 1 match. He got a fire going and got warmed up. He could build a fire in a rainstorm better than anyone I know.
He also tried to ride a mule to TX, he ended up hitch hiking. He brought some longhorn cattle back from that excursion. The genetics could be seen years and years later. He met a young singer who was a ranch hand at the ranch Sherm worked at for a while. The young man’s name was Hartyman Smyer’s he went on to become Johnny Horton.
Also, at 18 he met a lady who was a missionary to the Navajo tribe. Her name was Pat, she led him to the Lord. This was pivotal in his life. There are many stories of him riding up to hunters, cowboys, etc and asking if they knew the Lord. One hunter said he was holed up under a spruce tree in the middle of a vicious lightning and thunder storm. The hunter said he was about scared to death of the lightning anyway and then all the sudden he heard a voice say, “Boy, do know Jesus?” The hunter said he about jumped out of his skin, and he turned around to see a barefoot cowboy in iron ox-bows behind him.
Sherman married a nice young girl, Janice Lee king. Her family ran cattle on Boggy Draw north of Dolores and Pea’s point just south of the Nipple allotment where Zwicker’s ran their cattle. Their first date they went to Lost Canyon and built and campfire and sat around and talked.
Sherm and Janice were married for 22 years, in this time they had their shares of up and downs. Sherm was the restless sort and when their youngest was just a baby they went to Argentina, Sherm loved the culture and the country. Janice was a little less impressed. They returned home. They ran cattle on the Twin Springs allotment near Stoner and later went to work for Eldon, Sherm tended the cattle for the rest of his days with the help of his wife and kids.
Sherm always kept a little herd of goats and sheep around for meat. Sherm liked the culture of the Navajo and Ute, and had acquired a taste for mutton while in their company. He spoke a little Navajo also.
One fine spring day, Sherm and his brother and some cowboys decided to get a stud horse off Ute Mountain. So, they did. A little dark brown stud horse with a large, white, off-center blaze. The stud horse was probably about 8 at the time. After the cowboys got him corralled roped and foot tied in every direction, along with being hobbled and scotch hobbled he was contained enough to start taming. Janice would spend hours talking to that horse through the fence and Sherman finally got him broke to ride. The little horse named Goat, ended up being one of the best cowponies and would hold a rope till the saddle slid over his withers. After spending his life as a cowpony, he became and a trusted kid horse.
Sherm loved rank horses as well as rank mules, it wasn’t uncommon to see him riding something that had to be blindfolded just to keep it from killing him. Sherm also loved to camp out with the cattle. He watched the grass and the range and did his best to take care of both.
They raised three kids; Shalla-marie Zwicker Pannell who resides in Kimball, NB with her husband Allen, Norman Dwight Zwicker and Sheldonna Zwicker. Sherman and Janice have 9 grandchildren.
Sherm passed away September 20, 2022 at the Vista Grande Nursing home in Cortez Colorado.