Our Colorful Past...

Below is a tribute to all the generations that have made the Lucky Hart what it is today...


All families have interesting and possibly historical legends that get passed down through the years and generations. We thought, for entertainment value, we would showcase some of our more colorful family memories. Please enjoy, and also please note the disclaimer at the bottom of the page...

Since the beginning of time, Mothers have watched their sons leave home for a brighter future. Our family was like so many others in the 1800's, crossing an ocean to seek their fortunes... after a tearful goodbye from ones left in the homeland. 

Like many people from their home country of Norway, the brothers crossed an ocean and crossed their fingers that the whole crazy venture would turn out all right. And it was that very motto that got them across the Atlantic. And, which still provides their descendant the will to keep going today...

"Pray for the best, prepare for the worst and always expect bad weather."










It was a tough journey west, Great Grandfather Olaf and Great Uncle Sven, not having a cent to their name, had to find any means possible to pay for their ride to North Dakota. The Reiten clan is infamous for choosing vehicles of questionable staying power, and the luck of the Norwegian's was with Olaf and Sven that day as they broke down right outside Fargo only hours from their finial destination. 

Here is a rare photo of Cousin Iver. The US All Around Champion of the Worlds 1st Mustache Growing and Styling Competition. And, on a side note, his wife Ulga, was also a heavily favored contender in that competition but fell short of the title when a freak sheep sheering accident trimmed her chances. Many believe Iver had something to do with his wife's tragic accident, as he was a very competitive soul. I personally believe the nerves just got the better of her days before they were to face off.

And it would seem that sports and competition ran in the family when Ole became the oldest man to compete in the Oversized Boxing Glove Pie Eating Contest. The entire family was extremely happy with his 6th place winning. Especially when only days before hand he had had all of his upper teeth removed due to rotting from excessive amounts of sugar in his diet. He continued to compete until his death at 103 years of age when a rouge cherry proved to be his downfall. He was always very proud of his pie shoveling capabilities and the fact that even with only 1 tooth left at the end he still had a smile that made the ladies swoon.

Shortly after the successes of our families National winnings, we had another joyous event in our families history when Uncle Alfred was released from the local, well, what they called it back then, loony bin. We never agreed with the ruling he should of been placed there. I mean, who hasn't at some point in their life thought that borrowing the sheriff's horse, using it to plow under your neighbors cucumber patch, ride it to town to attend the monthly Son's of Norway meeting, then trade the animal for 5 chickens, 2 feet of red hair ribbon and a set of dominoes, wasn't a good idea.

As it turned out, hours later when the Sheriff tracked him down at his cabin a few miles south of town. He was found in the middle of an intense game of dominoes with one of the chickens and wearing a ladies Sunday bonnet fastened securely to his head using the red ribbon. 


On a side note, his cabin south of town is proudly still part of the Ranch today, in fact, many a  generation of hens and roosters have called it home.

Then came Great Great Aunt Gigi LaBarre. It was told her sense of humor had no bounds. I do remember tell of the afternoon tea parties she would throw. They were attended by every member of the Ladies Aid, and boy did she aid them along in shaking off the pressures of raising 12 children and cooking for numerous hired hands. Below, the photo of he neighbor Elsa just goes to prove those old gals knew how to let loose....


Then, there was a brief period in our history when the family ranch took a little detour. Great Uncle Renee (the man for whom the Lucky Hart boss is named after we believe, although she denies it) invested in Ostriches. He believed it was the way to make the family rich. He said "I will bring Ostrich racing and riding into the 20th century!" Well, as it turns out, his venture fell short and the endeavor quickly ended when he realized that ostriches aren't exactly made for North Dakota winters. But, as you can see below, the ride may have been short, but it was sweet...

On a side note, Grandmother always said "The "Renee" part was to remind her that sometimes we all do things that just don't make no sense."


This was a treasure to find as we combed through the family record books. Cousin Bjorn "Buck" Reiten and his trusty steed "Petunia" competed every year from 1923-1942 in the local county fair in goat roping. It was told that people would come from miles around to witness the one-of-a-kind attraction of Ida Swenson's cheese curds, and if they had time, they would sometimes stick around to watch Buck and Petunia compete. Unfortunately, the tenacious team never placed above 7th due to the rambunctious nature of the prey they were hunting, but, just to have Buck in our lineage I believe proves showmanship runs in our veins.

Oh, now here was a story to remember throughout the ages. I don't think I'll ever forget the first time Grandpa Leopold told me about Great Aunt Louise and the triumphant opening night of "Annie Get Your Sawed Off Shotgun the Circus is Coming To Town". An Off Broadway Musical about a young woman struggling with her private dreams of becoming the most famous bearded lady in history, all the while needing to provide for her family on the plains of North Dakota with only a sawed off shotgun, her cunning mind and the desire to make all her dreams come true.


And as luck would have it, we also found a photo of her adoring fans on opening night as seen here.



Many people have asked me, "How do you get get those outrageous necks on your horses? They are so extreme. Is it bred in to them or is it built?" Well, many generations ago, our 2nd cousin once removed, Carl Carlson, found the secret to a horse with a great neck. And, in never before seen photos of his patented training techniques, we present the "Checker Method". Yes, we know what you're thinking, "I always wondered were the term "Check" in equine training came from!" Well, now you know. We were nervous to release this classified information to the general public, but then we thought, what would the world be like if Edison or Einstein would of kept their little secrets. His strategy was simple, find a pastime you love and sit on it. And, as it turned out, Carl's favorite hobby was haggling with traveling salesmen about home goods. As you see here, this was one of Carl's more persistent peddlers, it was told the sale of this checker board took 3 and a half hours, but produced the legendary Roy Rogers horse Trigger's backup stunt double.


Ah yes, then there was Crazy Aunt Helen, who was known throughout the land for her eccentric taste in interior design. Her entire home was covered in tie-died crocheted doilies, and Lord Almighty, you should of seen her kitchen, if there was a blue duck in a 20 mile radius, it ended up in Helen's house. Yes, she was one of a kind. She may have had questionable taste in home accessories, but, her choices, when it came to gambling on recreation sports was unparalleled. She could spot the winner of a lawn darts tournament from a mile away. Which coincidentally, also supported her questionable nicknack purchasing habit. She passed in 1952 and was buried alongside her loving Albert who had left us not but a year before. Albert and Helen seen here in one of their many portrait studio session.

Some of the 1st advocates of recognizing and protecting against UV Rays in Nelson County. The "Big Bonnet Brigade" brought knowledge of the necessity for skin care to the people of Eastern North Dakota.

From left to right - 
Elsa, Elma, Ida, Inga, Agnes, Edith, Helga and Hilda Hildre 

But, for all our great achievements as a family, like every family, there were a few black sheep. Here is poor Uncle Klaus as he was run out of town after selling almost every man in the area tainted hair pomade. He promised sleek luxurious hair, instead, well, you can see the results for yourself. Unfortunately, its also how Adler Township was branded "The Slickest 6 Miles in the Dakota's"

After a hundred years of using horses, the family thought maybe they should look into what all the fuss was about with Mister Ford and his horseless carriage. Well, as you can see, the first test drive didn't go so well. The ol' Goose River was to much for this off-road vehicle. 


But, as you can also see, the neighbors, when notified that the old fashion form of horse power would be needed to pull them out, showed total and utter confusion and astonishment.


Great Uncle Lars, as a boy, just plain hated cleaning barn.
He would do anything to get out of chores.

On the Great Plains, children are taught at an early age how to handle a horse. Our little Lena, was by all accounts, your average equestrian enthusiast - even if Grandmother and Grandfather did start her a little late compared to most children of her age. She was competent in her driving skills (as you see here). But, where she truly succeeded was as an Odor Tester. The Nations "Brightest Nose" they called her. And later in life became one of the lead developers of Old Spice and Aqua Velva products.

There were many tales told to me of our history, but in adding to the family tradition of story telling, I wanted to leave you with one of my own personal tales. It was of our first trip to the National Show in Gordyville, Illinois. Wow, what an adventure that was. We were "going to the Big City", something a child from the little cow town of Petersburg had only read about in books. We really had no idea what to expect or pack. But luckily by this time in life, Ma had already traded Pa's last 4 Quarter Horses for one little pony so he fit nicely in the camper with us kids. Pa was notorious for packing everything but the kitchen sink and we managed to make it 40 miles before the first tire blew. As a side note, that was a new Reiten record. By all accounts the trip was a total success. It only taking us 7 and a half days to reach Illinois, with only 3 blown tires, 5 replacement spark plugs, 2 broken camper window and Ma's outhouse only fell off the trailer once. Thankfully, she wasn't in it at the time. The next year, when heading back to the National Show, being the seasoned travelers that we were, decided 2 porta-potties was just showing off and only brought the one.



* Disclaimer - all information on this page, although deemed truthful and reliable is based on Reiten/LaBarre legend and lore, it is not, and should not, be taken as truth or historical fact. Every family has stories passed down through the generations but that does not make them absolute, it just makes them enduring.