Delane Nixon

Delane Robert Nixon was born September 25, 1948 in Philip, SD to Robert and Maxine (Fortune) Nixon.

Delane Nixon

Posted on August 15, 2012

Delane Robert Nixon was born September 25, 1948 in Philip, SD to Robert and Maxine (Fortune) Nixon. In 1949, the family moved to a ranch near Ridge, MT. He attended grade school in the area at different country schools taught by his mother.

Delane attended high school in Belle Fourche and graduated in 1966. During his high school years he participated in track, basketball, rodeo and played the tuba in the band. Delane was a natural in the arena. Though he competed in all events, his favorite was saddle bronc riding. He won three All-Around Cowboy titles at the South Dakota State High School Rodeo—a record that still stands today. He won his first title in 1963, despite a broken ankle, and won again in 1965 and 1966. He also earned individual state championships in the calf roping, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. In 1965, Delane was the champion saddle bronc rider at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Ogallala, NE.

While attending college in Sheridan, WY, his professional rodeo career began. He filled his RCA permit at a rodeo in Grover, CO on his way to compete at the College National Finals in Sacramento, CA. His traveling partners included several members of the Sheridan College team, who became life-long friends—one of the biggest perks of time spent on the road. He competed in all three roughstock events in the PRCA and enjoyed much success.

On April 26, 1975, Delane married Maura Jo Hanify in Alzada, MT. Together the couple made their home on a ranch in the Jump-off, west of Buffalo, where they raised three daughters, Kerry, Robyn and Molly. He had a passion for his cattle breeding program. With careful herd sire selection and artificial insemination (AI), he was able to develop a herd of Angus cattle of which he was very proud.

Being a pilot from the age of 19, he used his airplane to check livestock on the ranch. Delane was also an aerial predator hunter for the state. The plane proved useful in transporting kids to town and to the bus. In 1986, he painstakingly restored his 1966 Piper Super Cub.

In 1998, Delane and Maura sold their ranch in Harding County and moved west of Belle Fourche. Delane began to do custom AI-ing, which took the family to the Red Lodge, MT area for several summers. He enjoyed being asked to preg test, freeze brand and AI for local ranchers. Because of his many talents and ability for his end product to be “nearly perfect,” he was often called to help with building projects. He also put a great deal of time and effort into beautifying and building up his present “ ranch.”

One of his greatest joys was trying something new, he always had a project, large or small in the works. His most recent plan was to build an airplane from scratch.

Delane was meticulous and a perfectionist. He had a contagious smile and positive attitude. He loved to tell a good story and another and another… He was a great husband, father, papa, mentor, role model and friend. Delane will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Delane is survived by his wife, Maura Jo; daughters, Kerry (Lance) Frei of Red Owl, SD, Robyn (Colton) Miller of Saratoga, WY, and Molly (Weston) Garrett of Bill, WY; seven grandchildren, Bentley Maura and Bridger Kate Frei, Ryon Delane and Raden Cole Miller, Pace Robert, Piper Day and Paisley Alice Garrett; his mother, Maxine Nixon of Belle Fourche; brothers Don (Reni) Nixon of Alzada, MT, Dallas (Danyel) Nixon of Belle Fourche; special uncle Vern (Bea) Fortune and special aunts Vera (Martin) Nelson and Marie Mortellero, along with nieces, nephews and numerous cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, Bob; his brother, Darrell “Butch”; and his grandparents, Roland and Frances Fortune and Matt and Myrtle Nixon.

A tribute to the life of Delane Nixon was held at 4:00 PM Wednesday, August 15th at Besler’s Cadillac Ranch near Belle Fourche.

Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11:00 AM Thursday, August 16th at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Belle Fourche with Father Tyler Dennis officiating. An online guest book is available at

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