Fruita rancher known for his sheep business
Loran Lampshire dies at 70
Loran Lampshire parlayed a drive to succeed with risk- taking that made him one of the largest sheep distributors in the West.
Lampshire died Feb. 18. He was 70.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. today at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary. A lamb barbecue will follow the service at Enterprise Hall, 1477 19 Road.
Lampshire grew up on the Redlands, where he picked and crated peaches and said the only way he could improve his lot was to join the Navy, his son Billy Lampshire said. After his Navy experience and a stint working in the oil fields, Loran Lampshire found his niche: livestock.
Lampshire and members of the Beene family got a contract to take goats from San Clemente Island off the coast of California to clear the path for naval operations, said his longtime friend, Kenneth Beene of Douglas, Wyo.
Lampshire and the Beenes captured the goats by hand, calling it “the world’s largest goat-catching operation,” Billy Lampshire said.
They paid the Navy $2 a head for the goats and sold them for a profit.
One day, Lampshire on a whim decided to rope a sea lion on the coast, Beene said.
When the sea lion proved more powerful than Lampshire’s mare and began pulling the horse and Lampshire into the ocean, Lampshire stayed with the horse well into the water, until he could cut the rope, and horse and rider made their way back to the shore, Beene said.
“It was just his nature. He was adventurous,” Beene said.
Loran Lampshire learned that end of the livestock business well, Billy Lampshire said.
He would “go to Texas to buy goats and write checks that wouldn’t clear if they didn’t sell the goats within hours,” Billy Lampshire said. “Sometimes they’d have to drive 16 hours on end before they sold. But he never had a check bounce, and he never stiffed anyone.”
Loran Lampshire also had a striking appearance and was featured in advertisements for a big-game hunting ranch in Mesquite, Nev., Beene said. He used his looks to his advantage, Beene recalled, when they pulled into a restaurant in New Mexico on a bitterly cold day.
“He went into the restaurant, and when I got there, these two good-looking young waitresses had him wrapped up in three quilts,” Beene said. “He told me, ‘Well, I’m all right now.’ “
The Lampshires moved to Fruita in 1988 and started Lampshire Livestock in 1989.
Eventually, Loran Lampshire had sheep operations scattered across the West in Colorado, California, Utah and New Mexico. He sold mutton and lamb chops to restaurants and grocery stores across the same area.
“As far as the West goes, he was one of the biggest operators,” Billy Lampshire said.
Loran Lampshire is survived by his wife, Carolyn; three sons, Loran Glenn of Grand Junction; William “Billy” John of Fruita and Thomas “Tommy” James of Denver; one daughter, Moria Linda Lampshire of Mesquite; and four grandchildren.