Olis Goodnight is the 2015 Rancher Cattleman.
“We’re Burning Daylight!”
Olis (Oley) Glenn Goodnight was born at Ashland, Kansas to Olis Glenn Goodnight, Sr. and Iona Grace McKinney Goodnight on October 29, 1929. Oley was raised in Englewood, Kansas. Oley and Shirley Franks were united in marriage on October 5, 1952 at San Diego, CA where Oley was stationed. In April 1954, while stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, their first child, Sherre was born. After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1954, he, his wife and their daughter returned to Englewood. Oley worked for the Theis Ranch from 1954 to 1959. During this time they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Dana, in March of 1955 and daughter Gayle in August 1959. Oley left the Theis Ranch in 1959 and began leasing a small farm acreage as well as working the Goodnight parcels of land; some of these parcels have been in the Goodnight family for more than 100 years. This was the beginning of what is now the Goodnight Ranch. In December 1961, their son, Greg, was born. They started with a Hereford cow/calf herd and later expanded to a stocker feeder operation with large acreages of wheat and alfalfa. Later the Goodnights added a substantial neighboring ranch to theirs when they purchased part of the Claremont Ranch, which was established in the 1880’s by Englewood’s founder C.D. Perry, from Mrs. Locke Theis. Oley has always had a love for quarter horses. He and four of his cowboy-turned-seamen shipmates would anxiously await the newest Quarter Horse Journal magazine aboard the U.S.S. Pine Island AU-12 in the Pacific Ocean during the Korean War. The five mates were featured in the August 1952 issue in a picture that read, “We five boys, all good buddies, really like our Quarter Horses. … Since we can’t be at home and work with our own horses, The Journal kind of helps to take the place of our horses.” Oley stocks a number of AQHA quarter horses for ranch work, and breeds and trains and races thoroughbred horses. In 1995, the family bought a longhorn steer and named him Smoky. Smoky graced Dodge City with his presence for years residing in the Longhorn Park east of town. Oley was elected Trustee of the Sand Creek Township in Meade County in 2000 and continues to serve on that board. Oley served on the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service boards in Clark and Meade Counties. He also served on the USD 220 School Board from 1966 to 1976. Oley and Shirley are active in the Methodist Church in Ashland. Their second daughter, Dana, died in 2007. Son, Greg has taken over the Ranch. Oley and Shirley have 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren which keeps them active.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame connection: Olis is the younger brother of 2002 Historian Don Goodnight.
Year inducted: 2015
Learn about other Cowboy Hall of Fame Rancher Cattlemen