Empire Ranch Foundation

Pete Bidegain

Pete Bernardo Bidegain was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, the son of a Basque sheepherder. He was four or five years old when his family moved to Willcox, Arizona, where they ranched in the Winchester Mountains. Later the family moved to a ranch on the San Pedro River near Cascabel. He had six brothers and one sister. After graduating from high school he worked for a few years before enrolling in the University of Arizona. He joined the ROTC and played polo for the University along with John Donaldson. After college he married and spent time in Mexico working for a U.S. government program to combat the hoof and mouth disease. His oldest daughter was born in Mexico. Returning to the U.S. he worked on a farm in the Casa Grande area for fourteen years. In 1961 he was then hired by Frank C. Brophy, owner of the Babacomari Ranch in Elgin as the ranch manager. He worked at the Babacomari for fourteen years and later sold real estate in the Sonoita area.

During the interview Mr. Bidegain describes ranching operations at the Babacomari. He knew the Boice family and helped out on the Empire during roundups. He identifies a number of ranchers in the Sonoita area during the 1960s and 1970s. His son, Pete Bidegain, Jr. is also present during the interview and assists his father with his recollections about life on the Babacomari Ranch.

Full transcript available upon request: .

Date of Interview: September 14, 2002
Interviewer: Jim Turner and Diana Hadley