From humble beginnings

Today, five generations bear the Moody name. (Standing left to right) Wayne’s son Doug Moody and grandson Shawn Moody, (seated left to right) great-grandson Danny Moody and patriarch Wayne Moody holding his great-great-granddaughter Amberlyn Moody.
Today, five generations bear the Moody name. (Standing left to right) Wayne’s son Doug Moody and grandson Shawn Moody, (seated left to right) great-grandson Danny Moody and patriarch Wayne Moody holding his great-great-granddaughter Amberlyn Moody.

MEEKER I Imagine if everyone’s story began, “I came here with nothing,” continued with striving, “I had a goal to give my kids a start,” and finally the realization of, “I made it.” It describes the American dream and sums up Wayne Moody’s hard-working life.
Moody came to Meeker in 1938, from Chanute, Kan. His parents had spent some time on the Eastern Slope of Colorado. Moody thought the grass had to be greener on the other side of the mountain, so he came to Meeker to make a life for himself. When he told his parents he was coming, they came along, too, leasing property on Flag Creek.
Moody started irrigating for Bruce Baker and feeding cows in the winter near the Mesa School House. He married his wife Julia on Dec. 28, 1944, and the two herded sheep for Dick and Duane Merriam in Scenery Gulch.
The Moody’s first home was a sheep camp. Then they moved into a house located where Rio Blanco Lake is now. He worked hard to acquire a herd of about 250 head of breeding cows and 100 heifers. He ran his cattle on two ranches downriver with Rube Ivery, his partner at the time, on the Fritzlan place, and Oldland Dugway, as well as three ranches up Strawberry Creek, the Christmas Tree Ranch now owned by Sheltons, and the Dilly place.
In the early 1970s he decided to sell his herd and start a new business. He bought some equipment and began cleaning ditches and building roads in the area. In fact, he started cleaning ditches down in Piceance Creek and went clear up the White River to South Fork where he recalls doing a great deal of work for Sam Kinnamon. He remembers Sam saying, “Anybody that cleans ditches ought to irrigate out of the ditch first.” Profound wisdom that certainly holds true today. He built a road to Dick Moyer’s cabin that seemed nearly impossible to create. One Forest Service employee said it couldn’t be done, and Moody said, “I can’t build it with your stakes.” When she asked if he needed a new stake he said, “No I have one, my radiator cap.” This is a tribute to how skilled he was at his work, needing only the land and his equipment to build a road so impressive people came to see the finished product. Moody started small, but was so willing to work and savvy about upsizing that he created a very successful business to be handed down to his son.
His wife Julia went with him every day, on every job, for more than 30 years. The two enjoyed each others’ company and during their marriage made plenty of great friends. Some were the hunters they hosted while ranching down river. Between 20 and 30 hunters came every year from California, and some came back every year for 20 years. One hunting friend, Joe, stayed in contact throughout the year and was a close family friend.
Julia Moody was a skilled hunter, killing a 38-inch buck one year and a mountain lion another. When Julia would go along with Moody on his construction jobs she spent a great deal of time shooting small game like squirrels and whistle pigs. She was a great shot, to which Moody added, “She should have been, she fired enough shells.” The couple had three children: Judy (Eskelson), Doug (Shannon) Moody, and Sandy Wambolt. The siblings also had a half-sister, Hazel, who was the eldest of the children. Wayne has 12 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.
Born in 1919, Moody has seen a great deal of change over the years. He said the thing that has changed the most is politics, and said “You can’t do stuff on a handshake anymore.” He recalls how hard his wife had to work when the children were small, canning fruit, milking the cows and working with him. They would come home from work and share the household chores and the children’s homework.
Moody was an avid horse trader and took horses people couldn’t ride. He broke the horses and resold them. His wife had never ridden prior to their marriage but became so comfortable with it, she even entered a 100-mile horse race in Utah.
Moody said, “The two things I miss the most are riding and dancing.”
Julia passed away in 1981 and Wayne decided it was time to hand his business down to his son. He is very proud to have taught his son, grandsons, and even great-grandsons how to operate equipment. Clearly he handed down more than this skill. He taught them the business, honesty and love for their families. As he spoke about the days with his wife, his eyes lit up talking and admiration filled the room when he spoke of his daughter taking great care of him. That admiration went both ways, and humor found its way into nearly every story. His outlook on life and work seems to be a great formula for longevity. He is 92 now and recalls history with ease. He is proud of what he created from his humble start. His business is continuing into the third generation and his name is now held by five living generations, quite a feat by any standard.