Men on catwalk above the pens in the Ogden Union Stockyards. one wearing a cowboy hat and overalls and the other in a white fedora, slacks and white shirt. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. 

Pablo Sanchez Sr. played a vital role for both the

Ogden Stockyards and Swift Building

A Mexican immigrant teaches his family the value of hard work

1926 pens with cattle at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Sign reads Carload fat Steers owned and grown by Bar R Ranch Bert Rudd Irwin, ID, for sale by Peck Bros. Livestock Com. Co. Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University
1926 Pens


Pablo Sanchez Junior around the time when he spend summer days with his dad at the Stockyards caring for the animals.



Who fed and cared for the animals before their sale or slaughter? One man.

Pablo Sanchez, Sr. 

Pablo Sanchez Jr. loves to drive around the old Ogden Stockyards and area around the old Swift Building. Fond memories of his years there come racing into his mind. Not the years of his employment, but of his father’s. His father, Pablo Sanchez Sr., worked just across the river from Swift, feeding the livestock the day before their slaughter. Sanchez Jr. would go to work with his dad around one day per week during the summer months. “I think my mom just liked to get me out of the house,” Sanchez Jr. said with a laugh. But for him it was an adventure.


When Pablo Sanchez Senior immigrated to the United States as a young boy he was determined to make a difference. He did so by hard work and perseverance. His love for the outdoors and animals proved irreplaceable for the Stockyards and Swift.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. during the time he worked at the Stockyards.

A Son Shares His Father’s Stories

His dad was the sole person to feed the hundreds of livestock of sheep, pigs, goats and cattle each day. Most days he would lift 50 to 60 bales of hay for the animals and sometimes twice – once off the trucks to store in the hay house and once to deliver it to the animals. Sanchez Jr. was always amazed and how easily his father would lift the bales of hay, when as a child he couldn’t even move them. His father always laughed at him for that.


Making a Life In America


It seemed like an easy enough transition for Sanchez Sr. to work outdoors day in and day out, caring for the animals and lifting hay. He grew up in a horse ranch in Mexico and loved working outside with the livestock because he understood them. Plus, he enjoyed putting in a hard day of honest work. When his parents died in Mexico there was nothing left for him there and he moved to Ogden, Utah to be near his sister who he loved dearly. Once in the United States, he joined the Army and spent several years serving his country. He served during World War II time and although he never saw combat, he always respected the time he spent there. After returning from the Army he started working at Swift. Sanchez Jr. is unsure if he was employed by Swift, the Stockyards or the railroad or he’s not sure if the railroad contracted with Swift. That’s one of those questions he wishes he could ask now, but he passed several years ago.

Pablos Sanchez Sr. during a trip to his homeland, Mexico.


Waste not, Want not


Sanchez Sr. took his job very seriously, meticulously cleaning out the animal pens each and every day. He had a systematic way of sorting the hay bales and taking the wires off each bale of hay. He saved the wires and bunched up the hay and re-used it at the end of each day. Waste was not something that he allowed in his job. He also utilized the manure by using it for fertilizer on not only his yard, but his sister’s. Sanchez Jr. said his father and his aunt’s yards were some of the most beautiful in the neighborhood because of the way Sanchez Sr. took care of the fertilizer and made the best of it. “He always considered the extra hay and fertilizer to be fringe benefits of the job,” Sanchez Jr. said with a laugh.


Sanchez Sr. said watching the process of the animal slaughter was always interesting to him. He couldn’t say how many animals were slaughtered a day, except that it was in the hundreds it seemed. The sheep would go in cycles – usually 200 at a time. While the animal pens and hay buildings were in close proximity to the Swift Building, it was still a process to get the animals to the building. The animals were on the other side of the river from the Swift building close by the train tracks that the animals were brought in on regularly. Sanchez Sr. was not in charge of releasing the animals for slaughter, there were two other men who did that job, but he would often watch and could step in and assist if needed.

Men on catwalk above the pens in the Ogden Union Stockyards. one wearing a cowboy hat and overalls and the other in a white fedora, slacks and white shirt. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Pablo Sanchez Jr. and his father, Pablo Sanchez Sr. would often walk along the catwalk above the pens to survey the animals.


He always cleared the roadway for the animals before they were released so the animals could pass safely along the road and the bridge to the kill floor of the Swift Building. Sheep were led across the river to Swift and up the ramp by goats that were dubbed “Judas goats.”

“The goats were amazing and we would often give them names,” Sanchez Jr. said. He especially came to love one goat that they named “Billie.” They would put a large bell on the goat and it would parade back and forth with the bell on in front of the pens. The animals would be mesmerized by the goat and the bell and as soon as the pens were open they would follow right behind the goat. The goat would them lead them across the bridge and over the Swift Building. Once to the building, the goat would lead them to the ramp and then the livestock would part ways with the goat. The goats would always return back to the pens. The animals had to walk up almost to the top of the building on the ramps to what was called the kill floor where within moments they would be slaughtered. Sanchez Jr. said it was amazing how they did it each and every time and how the goats knew where to take them…and when to leave.

Helping Dad at Work


Sanchez Jr. got a kick out of walking between the pens and checking out what the animals were doing. “The sheep are kind of greedy,” Sanchez Jr. said. They would get so eager to get their food sometimes they would get their heads stuck in the slats of the pen trying to get their food before anyone else could. On the days Sanchez Jr. was there, it was his job to push their heads through the slats. He loved when he would hear his name called to take on the task.

Some of the bulls were extremely mean. Especially the Brama bulls. Sometimes he would walk between the bull pens and they would charge at him. “It was scary,” Sanchez Jr. said, but he knew he was safe, so he kept doing it. One day his father came in contact with an especially mean and fierce bull. As his father walked by to feed him, the bull charged at him. His father took the gate and pushed it back, forcing the bull back. His father and the bull stared each other down for a moment. His father eyes saying, “Go ahead, come at me.” At that, the bull turned around and walked away. “It was amazing to me. That elevated my dad in my mind,” Sanchez Jr. said with a big smile. He was saying to that bull, “You aren’t going to get the best of me,” Sanchez Jr. said.

Auction Action – Tempting for a Young Boy

On many of the days Sanchez Jr. got to go work with his dad he had other adventures to check out besides just the livestock set for slaughter. There was a live auction. Sanchez Jr. loved to slip into the auction and see what the cowboys were doing. “I couldn’t ever understand anything they were saying. They would say a whole bunch of stuff and then I would hear, ‘Sold!’” Sanchez said with a big chuckle. The livestock were paraded around and cowboys of all different statures would buy the animals. It was at the auction where he saw the sickest of the animals. “You never saw any sick animals on the Swift side,” Sanchez Jr. noted. But he saw plenty at the auctions, which was something he never understood. Sanchez Jr. watched the hundreds of animals on both sides of the stockyards – the Swift side and auction side and felt lucky he got to be a part of the action. He loved that he lived in the place that was the hub of so much excitement every day.

Cattle inside the auction ring at the Ogden Union Stockyards. The gallery bleachers are full. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Pablo Sanchez Jr. loved to sneak away from work in the pens to check out the auction. Exciting for a young boy!

Stockman’s Cafe – Yum!

During his weekday adventures, he would try to pay a visit to Stockman’s, the yummy restaurant just across the street from the Stockyards. Workers would often toss him a quarter or dime during the course of the day and tell him to go get himself a soda. He was happy to oblige. When he would go inside, being the young kid he was, the employees made a big deal of him. They knew his name, knew who he was, and who his father was. At the time, he wasn’t sure why, but now he feels sure it was because people could see what a hard worker his father was and admired him for it.

A Loyal Employee and Hard Worker

His dad went to work at Swift and the Stockyards every day for 26 years. He would get up early in the morning, his wife would make him breakfast, coffee and send him on his way with a pack lunch. The cycle was always the same. Sanchez Jr. thinks his dad only missed work about six times over the years he worked there. He had two or three weeks off straight when he contracted a terrible eye infection. He let it go too long (because he didn’t want to miss work) and had to go to the Dee Hospital. Upon arrival, doctors found that he would lose his eye. He had to take some time off to heal and he wore an eye patch for some time and eventually got a glass eye. Sanchez Jr. said his dad accepted it, even though it was a difficult trial. The hardest thing for him to accept was the terrible state of the animal pens when he went back to work! He was frustrated with the careless way they had treated the pens and most likely the animals. It took him weeks to get the pens back into the shape they needed to be in. “To many it was considered a crappy, nasty job, but to him, he took pride in his work,” Sanchez Jr. said of his father. His dad taught him much by example, but also taught him how to work at home. One day he made him mow the lawn three times because he failed to do it the right way the other times. That day, Sanchez Jr. came to understand why his dad spent so much time perfecting his job at Swift – he did it right the first time. On the rare day he had off, they brought in two people to cover his shift.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. was always a hard worker. His son has vivid memories of his snow shoveling and lawn mowing at their home. He was always busy.


Literacy, Language and Religious Barriers Lead to Tragedy

That’s why it was such a mystery when things went south so quickly for his father at Swift. After 26 years of hard work and service, Sanchez Sr. was RIF’d (Reduction in force). Sanchez Sr. was angry and hurt. The problem was that a noticed was posted explaining that a RIF was going to be happening, but Sanchez Sr. was unable to read, leaving him clueless as to the upcoming change. But the part that really stuck with Sanchez Sr. is that those who knew of Sanchez’s Sr.’s difficulty with reading never let him know what was coming. He and six other employees were cut loose, even though Sanchez Sr. was fourth in line seniority-wise. Sanchez Sr. always felt that it was because he didn’t belong to the predominant LDS religion that seemed prevalent at Swift, especially those that worked closely with Sanchez Sr. He always felt they looked down on him and treated him poorly because he was Roman Catholic.  Sanchez Jr. said he took his religion very seriously and was proud of it. He felt bitter about the fact that he didn’t feel respected for his religion.

His difficulty with reading was also a struggle his whole life. When he came to Ogden as a young boy, his sister put him in grade school. He was unable to speak or read English and would get whipped with a switch each time he didn’t understand the words the teachers uttered to him. He soon quit school because he just couldn’t take the beating anymore. The language and reading barrier just kept on because he didn’t have the tools to learn to read and speak. He knew quite a bit of English and could respond in English when spoken to, but the reading part was a sticking point for him. But he never blamed his job loss at Swift on his inability to read, he blamed it on those of the LDS faith who he felt didn’t have his back.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. wanted to serve America and joined the military.

Because of the language and reading barrier, Sanchez Sr. made sure his children spoke and read in English, always. They were not allowed to speak or read Spanish, only English. Sanchez Jr. said he knows little Spanish now because of that.

His father found work at a local poultry house, which is also now closed. Sanchez Sr. always loved the work at Swift, though. He loved caring for the animals, even if they were going to die. He loved being outdoors, even though Sanchez Jr. never understood how his dad handled the cold. Sanchez Jr. felt his years at Swift taught him to be a hard worker in all aspects of his life – perfectly groomed yard, shoveled walks, meticulous in all that he did.

Pablo Sanchez Jr. followed his father’s example and joined the service to protect his country, something important to the Sanchez family.

His father was struck with Alzheimer’s as he got older, which was tough for the family, but Sanchez Jr. spent his father’s last years with him. When he realized how bad things were getting for his father he moved back to Utah with his wife and family from Houston, Texas to help his mother and father cope with his debilitating illness. Those were not easy times for their family. But now Sanchez Jr. has the memories of his father to hold on to and all those years watching his father work. Sanchez Jr. joined the Army like his father did and it was while he was serving that his father was RIF’d.

Sanchez Jr. still drives around that area, remembering and savoring of his memories of times gone by in the hopping down he grew up in, Ogden, Utah.

Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members. 

Mike Bachman

A Young Boy Learns the Value of Hard Work at the Stockyards

Ogden native learns about business from shoveling out animal pens

Sheep in pens at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.




Mike Bachman was never afraid of hard work and when he saw an opportunity for “easy money” he took it. 

Mike Bachman

Mike Bachman was always looking for ways to make an extra buck. From the time he was 8 years old and selling donuts door to door, he wanted to make something of his life and have all the niceties it had to offer. What he really had in mind was a pretty, sparkly car. When he was 8 years old, he told his mom he would have it and she told him, “Good luck.”


Mike Bachman, a well-known local businessman and plumber, has always felt a bit of a kinship with the Ogden Stockyards. After all, it’s the place where he learned the value of hard work and how it pays dividends.

That day he made a promise to himself he would have that sparkly, fancy car and he has worked every day since then to have it. He got it and then some, but let’s not digress.


By the time Bachman was in high school he was working for Monroe Pexton Distributing, selling restaurant supplies. His travels brought him to Stockman’s Restaurant, a little diner-type place across the street from the Ogden Stockyards. “It kind of reminded me of a big chicken coop,” Bachman said of the diner. “It was real popular with the cowboys and the Swift people,” Bachman said. He ate there a few times and always liked what they served, but he was usually always in a hurry when he around there – trying to get his work done. He also delivered to a tiny restaurant in the basement of the Exchange Building, just over from the Stockyards. He was intrigued by the area. As he would drop off the supplies, he noticed the large number of animal pens filled with manure. “I was always looking for ways to make more cash and I got an idea,” Bachman said.


Making Bank


He had a little 1953 Dodge pickup and he could come down, shovel out the manure and sell it. His father had used the manure for years and it was good stuff – it made his father’s garden beautiful. He knew the guys at the Stockyards would be willing to let him take it because they had been generous with his dad about it years ago.  Why not make a buck or two on it? So, that’s what he started doing.

Of course, he kept his restaurant distributing job, but in his spare time he started shoveling manure and selling it for $20 per load. The money was quick and easy and so was the work. As he has thought about it over the years, he always wondered why he didn’t charge them for cleaning out their pens. Oh well.


He was familiar with the area before he started working down there. He would visit the Stockyards with his grandpa – also a plumber. He was helping him out on a job one day and they went out to the Stockyard area and two men – probably Swift employees, were eating their lunches on two dead cows. Just sitting there, eating sack lunches on dead cows. “It was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Here I could hardly breathe because of the smell, and there they were eating their lunch in the middle of all that stench,” Bachman said.


Speaking of stench – back to the manure


He was always amazed by the amount of manure there was and by the number of animals he would see every single day. It only took Bachman about 20 minutes to load his truck and then he would go drop it off. He could make several runs a day. “It wasn’t bad money for a high school kid,” Bachman said. “But it did stink quite a bit,” he added. The dry manure not as bad as the wet manure. He did it for several years, from about 1964 well into the 1970s. He continued to do it after he was married with children. He usually went on Saturday and spent a bulk of his day scooping and hauling. The old corrals were in terrible disrepair – broken fences, old wood. He noticed in the late 60’s and early 70’s as things were winding down, that there were less and less cattle. But it was always interesting to him. He rarely got the new, wet manure but the light and fluffy stuff. It was easy to scoop and haul that way. He loved the cow manure best. He would sometimes get sheep manure, but it could also easily burn lawns if people used too much, so he didn’t like to use it in excess. “It was hot,” Bachman said of the sheep manure.


Sheep and R.J. Wight truck at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Sheep and R.J. Wight truck

Bachman never touched any of the Swift corrals, not necessarily because they were off limits, but just because he didn’t need to. There were enough Stockyard corrals to give him what needed – he figures about 100 corrals belonged to the Stockyards during that time.


Auction Action


Being around the restaurants and the corrals on Saturday, he was lured into the action of the auctions on Tuesdays as well. He loved to walk in and watch the auction life. The auctioneers rattled off their words quickly and Bachman would struggle to hear what they had to say but he loved it when he caught what they would say. He enjoyed watching the new cowboys come in and try to get the lay of the land. “They usually caught on real quick,” Bachman said.


Restaurant in the basement of the Exchange Building. Two waitresses wearing dresses and floral aprons stand behind counter while men wearing cowboy hats eat at the bar. Behind the counter is a box of empty Nehi glass bottles. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Restaurant in the basement of the Exchange Building. Mike Bachman dropped off food for both the Exchange diner and Stockman’s Cafe during his high school years. 

One of the best parts of the auctions and corrals was the little lady that cooked fresh hamburgers in a small trailer on the corner from the stockyards. “They were the best hamburgers I ever ate!” Bachman said with a smile and licking his lips. He would grab a fresh burger and then head to the auction for an afternoon of entertainment. She stayed on the corner selling her burgers to cowboys and auctioneers until just a few years ago. During his high school years there was also boxing, wrestling and ice skating at the Stockyards.


Every so often, but more regularly than not, there seemed to always be an animal that just didn’t want to be sold or slaughtered and escaped! Cows, goats, sheep even horses would get loose from time to time and could be seen wandering around west Ogden close by the stockyards. Bachman would always laugh to himself. “Another got away,” he always thought.


In the early years before the new viaduct was built, Swift employees had pretty much their own entrance off a ramp from the viaduct, so a lot of the people at the Stockyards didn’t see much of the Swift employees unless they really wanted to, Bachman noticed.  

Mike Bachman built this Salt Flats Speedster with his own two hands. It’s one of many classic cars he stores in a large warehouse near the Stockyards.

When Bachman became a successful plumber, he bought some property just up from the stockyards in West Ogden. He also owns storage sheds just across from his plumbing business, where he stores his re-made cars (he kept that promise to his mom about having his pick of fancy cars.) He has watched the area grow and change over the years with great interest. He saw it when it was a thriving, growing auction, exchange and factory area, to when it became quite dilapidated and junky. Now he has seen it turn into a more desirable place, but he doesn’t necessarily like the way the city went about it. “They take business away from residents and then bring people in from outside the city. It doesn’t seem right to me,” Bachman said.


Memories and Changes


Bachman remembers clearly when the ice rink in the Stockyard area burned down. He was at his home in Pleasant  View. “I thought my shop was on fire,” Bachman explained. He hopped in his car to make sure all was well at his shop and as he got closer he could feel the flames coming from the ice rink. It was a sad day for him because the place was a special Ogden spot. “That fire was so hot, I could it at my shop,” he said. “All that old wood, it burned so fast,” he added. “It really was the hottest fire I have ever seen,” he said. 


Bachman continues to watch the Stockyard area. He likes the changes and they are appealing to the eye, but he hesitates to be fully invested in some of the decisions being made until all is said and done. He loves his town and wants the best for it always. He will always hold a special place in his heart for the Stockyards and the hub of action he lived in his youth and even as an adult. Now wandering cattle are being replaced with bikers and joggers. And while it isn’t a bad thing, it is a big change. A change that will take some getting used to for many of those who have strong Stockyard memories.




Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members.