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Carbon County author publishes book relating memories of working as cowboy in Nine Mile

Staff writer

Tom McCourt explains the unique Nine Mile rock art he managed to record on film. The longtime Carbon County resident has written a book relating his experiences as a cowboy on a ranch in the canyon. The local author will be on-hand to sign copies of the book Nov. 9 at the Walton outlet in Price.

Throughout the course of a lifetime, many memories are made and experiences lived.

For Tom McCourt, however, the adventures are captured in a book which he wrote detailing his experience as a young rancher in Nine Mile Canyon.

At age 16, McCourt felt that it was time to find a job which he could work during the summer to earn some spending money.

Since he had experience riding horses, he felt that employment which allowed him to be a cowboy would be the best job for him.

McCourt had always dreamed of being a cowboy. After all, most of his heroes were cowboys.

So when the Carbon County resident was offered a job to work on a large farm which covered four miles, McCourt jumped at the chance to rope and ride.

After arriving at the Nine Mile ranch, McCourt encountered several obstacles including the other ranch hands. Because he was small, McCourt was handed the dirtiest chores to do and was constantly picked on. Despite the torment, he stuck with the job and finished out his summer experience.

While working on the ranch, McCourt learned a lot about the world. As he put it, this is where he grew up. The growing experience is what McCourt focused on in his book The Split Sky.

"It was the summer of 1963 and I had just barely turned 16. I thought that I knew a lot about being a cowboy, but once I got there, I found I had a lot to learn," explained McCourt.

In The Split Sky, McCourt shares several adventures that occurred while he was working on the ranch.

While there, he had the opportunity to explore the canyon and discover the pictographs and other ancient ruins found in Nine Mile.

"Because this occurred in the '60s, most people didn't know that this stuff was there. I was one of the first people to view most of the art in Nine Mile. In fact, some of the stuff I found is now in the CEU museum," explained McCourt.

Because the experience had such an impact on McCourt, he has become interested in archeology and wants to pursue a career in this field.

For over 20 years however, McCourt worked in the coal mines in Carbon County. After the Willow Creek Mine closed down, McCourt retired and decided to devote his time to writing books.

"I have a lot of stories to tell. I am already writing a second book and hopefully it will be out next year," commented the Carbon County author.

"I have the support of a loving wife who has agreed to allow me to follow this dream and complete this chapter in my life," explained McCourt.

The experiences McCourt lived that summer had an impact on his life and he shares his story in his new book which is on sale now at several Castle Country locations.

McCourt will introduce The Split Sky at Nov. 9 at Walton Books in Price.

The author will be on hand at 2 p.m to sign copies of the recently published book.

The Split Sky will be sold at the Walton location as well as the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Musuem, the CEU bookstore and the San Rafael Museum in Ferron.

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