A Tribute to Robert and Phyllis Bryan -- Lucinda Bryan

by Shiloh Rifle

"Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life."

~J.K. Rowling

This year's catalog is dedicated to our parents, Robert and Phyllis Bryan. The love and strength of a family is life's greatest blessing. H. Jackson Brown Jr., stated, "Nothing important is ever achieved without someone taking a chance." That statement would define our parent's life.

Robert Bryan was born in Los Angeles, California July 1st, 1938-and his early life was not an easy one. When his mom died giving birth to a little girl, Robert's dad became an alcoholic and beat him nearly every day. He even made little Robert stand watch and shine a flashlight while his dad robbed stores. At age nine, Robert's dad abandoned his little boy at a train station. Robert waited two days alone for a train. Luckily, a kind janitor took him home at night and fed him, gave him a place to sleep, and then brought him back to the train station where he eventually caught a train headed east. Not knowing where he was going, the train stopped in Miles City, Montana. Robert stepped off the train into a new future when he was adopted by Bud and Faye Bryan who lived in nearby Broadus. From that day forward the direction of his earlier life changed forever-and he never looked back.

He graduated high school in 1958 and left for the U.S. Navy where he learned how to fly and would become a bombardier in the VAH4 Bull Shooters squadron and flew as a crewmember in the A3D Sky Warrior during the Vietnam War (when America was supposedly not there). His crew flew on and off the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard.

Towards the end of his career in the Navy he started to pursue our mom, Phyllis, whom he had known from high school. Phyllis Bryan was born August 6th, 1941, in Miles City, Montana. She was raised 20 miles outside of Broadus. Mom grew up in a ranching and farming family.

She graduated from Broadus high school in 1959 and left home to study business for one year at the Miles City Community College. She then began teaching at a country school near where she had attended school herself when she was younger. She then transferred to teaching in Biddle, Montana.

While teaching school in Biddle, Robert, who was home on leave, started to see and visit with her. Of course, the letters and courting continued, and on June 3rd, 1963, they were married and enjoyed a short honeymoon to Yellowstone National Park. They made their way back to Broadus where they would start their first home and open a gas station.

A year later, they decided to sell their gas station and move to Ridge, Montana to raise sheep on a homestead without electricity or running water, where their true love would be tested. Kirk was due to be born in December- and with his birth-the challenge of cloth diapers, a newborn baby and no running water or electricity. As the birth approached, dad would have to drive mom out and down to her folks' place in order to be close to the hospital if she was to go into labor. One must understand that Ridge is a long way from anywhere-and anywhere was all on dirt roads. Regardless, Kirk made his way into the world. Through their strength and love they endured three years of the homestead before realizing enough was enough-the time had come to make a move elsewhere.

In 1966, with savings in the bank, an opportunity came to make a move approximately 20 miles outside of Broadus on Phyllis' parents' ranch. Robert an Phyllis worked extremely hard to make a go of it. They built a full basement with a temporary roof about a half-mile up the road on the ranch, and in 1967, purchased the ranch from our grandparents. In 19681 was born and Kirk was blessed with a baby sister. We lived as a family in the basement and had great memories growing up.

In 1973 our folks were able to purchase a brand new modular home that was placed on top of the basement to complete the home. This was so exciting for Kirk and I since we no longer had to share a bedroom. We could never keep quiet as were always giggling and whispering like little kids do, knowing full well what was going to happen if either of our parents came into our room-a whooping!
The four of us worked on the ranch raising registered Simmental cattle, farming and tending to all the usual ranching chores. As we continued to ranch, our dad started doing odds and ends in a machine shop that he slowly built up in an old barn/garage we had on the place. As a kid, Kirk started working alongside of dad learning to machine and rebuild motors. Our mom went to work as a physical therapist and drove school bus in Broadus. They did all this to make ends meet and make sure we had food on the table. During those days we never went on vacations. Growing up they taught us to hunt with muzzleloaders, the importance of family, and the pride of patriotism.

It was in 1979 that a love of riding motorcycles would get into our blood. Our folks and Kirk each had their own bike, and of course, I rode as a passenger with Kirk. As a high school boy, he couldn't wait until I was old enough to get my own bike so he didn't have to haul his sister around. Our passion for riding grew into summer vacations pitching a tent at the Sturgis Rally. Even though we had grown up riding dirt bikes, this was a new experience that got into our blood and only expanded over time.

In 1980 dad had a chance to partner in a concrete plant located in Broadus. Of course, Kirk and I learned to drive concrete trucks and haul concrete. At the same time, we also had a gravel business where we trucked 160 miles round trip making three trips a day hauling.

Kirk graduated from high school in 1982 and left for the U.S. Navy where he continued as a machinist for four years. After getting out of the service, he came back to Broadus, and in 1986, went into partnership with our parents in the machine shop known as Bryan's Machine Shop!

In 1986, I graduated from high school and left for the U.S. Coast Guard where I served for four years. Once out of the service, I found a job in Gillette, Wyoming where I worked as a case manager for a company contracted by the Department of Social Services. 
In 1990, dad stopped by Shiloh Rifle in Big Timber to show Wolfgang (who started Shiloh in 1976) the elk that he had taken with his 45/70-a gun he had waited two years for. During this visit, Wolf started sharing with dad about his intention to finish up orders and close the doors. This bothered dad given the reputation and history of Shiloh Rifle.

He returned to the ranch and threw it out on the table to mom and Kirk how about selling the ranch and the machine shop to purchase a rifle business? Remember, our folks were raised in the small town of Broadus- this was a huge move, especially for our mom whom had lived her whole life in the area.

Again never looking back, on April 1st, 1991, the sale was final and the three of them were the proud new owners of the Shiloh Sharps Rifle Company. They packed up and moved 25 years of stuff to Big Timber into a new home and the start of a new chapter.

In 1996 I moved to Big Timber and joined the partnership allowing our folks to slow down and the opportunity to retire. It was also in 1996 that we built Boulder River Foundry, and within a year, cast our first rifle parts. During that time, Randy Rembold became our partner in the foundry. The foundry allowed for everything to be done in-house for our rifles.

Dad and mom are retired now, but continue to come in and help us wherever they are needed. In fact, they still travel and motorcycle and get out to play with us whenever possible.

On June 3rd, 2023, they will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary. They have three grandkids: Levi Bryan, Dalton Bryan and Lisette Delbrey. Levi and Dalton are Kirk's sons. Dalton passed in 2017. Lisette Delbrey is my daughter. Also in our family is Shelby Bryan (Levi's wife), Osmany Delbrey Sr. (Lisette's husband) and Jim Terry (my boyfriend.) I also have my first grandson, Levi Lucky Delbrey, born in 2022-our parents' first great-grandson. Kirk is a first-time great uncle and our family continues to grow and prosper from the hard work and legacy passed down from our parents, Robert and Phyllis Bryan.