• Richard “Dick” Klick

    February 7, 1934 – September 20, 2014

    K Bar L Ranch

    Richard Charles “Dick” Klick was born to Emil and Cecelia Klick in Great Falls in 1934. Dick’s parents began their family outfitting business in 1927 with Dick’s uncle, Leo “Sam” Klick, starting what would become three-generation ranching and outfitting legacy in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Back when the Klicks got their start—nine decades ago now—licenses weren’t yet required.

    When he was 20 years old, Dick enlisted in the Army and became a tank commander. He came home and packed mules, running several different camps in that wild stretch of country. He took great pride in his horses and mules and it showed through. He traveled the backcountry with a beautiful string of animals. Many men have been mentored with his knowledge of packing and working with a good mule, and much of what the Klicks accomplished on the K Bar L was carried out with the help of Dick’s pack strings. To turn the property into a guest ranch, the Klicks hauled in materials by boat and mule trains. They built a lodge, guest quarters, corrals, outbuildings and even a hot springs swimming pool.

    Despite a heap of work, Dick found time to court Nancy McLean and they were married in Augusta in 1956. Three children were born: Kathy, Todd and Kelly.

    Dick and Nancy raised black cattle in Simms while the kids went through school. They wore out the highway between Simms and the K Bar L keeping both places going. Dick and Nancy worked tirelessly, and with the help of their kids, nephews, and niece Jody, the K Bar L has become a legacy unequaled. Their son Todd is continuing the ranch in Simms.

    In 1989, with all the kids married off, Dick and Nancy moved up to Castle Reef, west of Augusta. This was the perfect place: close to the K Bar L and close to the mountains. Dick had promised Nancy a beautiful log home and he delivered. At Castle Reef, they raised a beautiful elk herd and many good horses. They also kept yak, highlander cattle, miniature donkeys, and a buffalo or two.

    Dick was a member of the Montana Outfitters & Guides Association, Montana Cowboys Association, Dude Rancher’s Association, Montana Angus Association, and American Quarter Horse Association.

    He was a conservationist and spearheaded the continued preservation of the Sun River Game Preserve, a vast and rugged 200,000-acre piece of land northwest of Augusta. “I know we are famous for breaking treaties, but let’s keep the one we made in 1913 with the wildlife,” he told the Senate Fish and Game Committee in the early 1970s while arguing for the area’s protection.

    If you were looking to visit with Dick, you could find him at rodeos, ranch rodeos, a good horse sale, watching his family at volleyball and basketball games, or at the bar having a glass of “Jack.” Most of the time, though, you would have to jump on your horse and you would find him at the ranch. He enjoyed a good visit, he loved a good joke, and he always had a nice shirt and a good-looking hat. He was very proud of his family and most of all, he loved his wife Nancy.

    Working at the K Bar L with his parents, uncle, and older brother Ted was all Dick had ever known as a way to make a living. He accumulated 80 years of stories many only dream about and outfitted right up to the time of his death.

    Dick passed away at his home on Castle Reef on September 20, 2014 and was buried on September 25, 2014 at the Augusta Cemetery.

    The family sold the ranch in December of 2014, two months after Dick’s death. He had been at the forefront of selling the business and property previous to his accident.

    His leadership, sense of humor and advice are greatly missed.

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