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Posted on Jul 30, 2020
Empty Saddles

George Hix Ray III “Dusty” 1950-2020

Our Canyon Cowboy, George Hix Ray III “Dusty” passed away on May 8, 2020. A lifelong rancher from Roy, New Mexico, Dusty epitomized the American Cowboy. His youth was spent on the back of a horse trailing cattle on the ranch his family homesteaded, absorbing the essence of the cowboy life. Hard days and sweaty cinches led the canyon trails to web their rough net over his soul. As if his horse had wings, Dusty often flew across the canyon side hills in breath-catching fashion to head off a group of wild cattle. Horse wrecks were aplenty and as tough as he was, his hard, calloused hands would just as easily cradle a sick calf or stroke a newborn foal. With a classroom of cattle drives, wet saddle pads and dirt fogged corrals, Dusty and his wife Sandy instilled in their kids a strong work ethic and that same intense love for the land.

It is safe to say that Dusty worked hard and played harder. He was an avid team roper winning a National Championship at the USTRC National Finals in the 90’s. He is well known as one of the founders of the North American Corriente Association. His friends were family and together they would share their great exploits of chasing lions and Barbary sheep. Tales of the big buck and black bear were shared over a campfire with guitars strumming cowboy ballads in the background. Smoky, Dutch oven meals would be washed down with cervezas and few swigs of whiskey before they all bedded down in their teepees.

Dusty loved to have a good time and was a hard-working steward of the land. His excitement over a good rain was infectious. If the cattle had water and the grass was green, all was right in the world. He loved his family, he loved his friends and he loved this ranch. We love you and will miss you dearly.

Dusty is survived by his wife, Sandy, daughter Wendy Ray Miller and husband Trey and their five sons, Jayden, Brenden, Talen, Quinn, and Riggen, son Rocky Ray, and wife Cathleen and their children Liam, Katherine and Elizabeth, sister Donna Ray, her daughter Senesa Ray Stinebaugh and her daughter Sarianna, brother Joe Roy Ray and wife Jeannine, Aunt Virginia Cates, Uncle John Cates, and wife Janet, and numerous cousins.

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