Friday, November 5, 2010
This week included my first round of Winter Cattlemen's interviews. Driving to ranches across the state and meeting the owners is probably my favorite part of my job.
I typically meet some great people, learn some interesting things, and see some amazing scenery. The first two pictures were taken east of Kaycee. One perk to traveling during shorter days is I'm often out of town and able to take some pictures in nice light.
Johnson County is one of the most famous county's in Wyoming, due largely to the Johnson County War, and several famous outlaws hiding out regularly within the county. Chris LeDoux also called Kaycee home, and is arguably the most famous person to come from Wyoming in modern times.
History runs deep in the county, and the ranchers know their history well. I visited with a family that had been on the same land since the 1880's, and they have been ranching that entire time. I visited with the 4th and 5th generations that were raising cattle in that location.
I saw one of the oldest buildings still standing and in use within the county, looked at some great cattle, and heard about which outlaws would stop by and help with ranch work and which were pretty much useless.
I sat at a table that very well may have been from the 1800's, was offered hot chocolate, and told the true story about one of the most notable fights for control of land in our country. The story was told by a man whose ancestors were caught right in the middle of it based on their operation's location.
I saw this very cute display on a hillside. It's too bad the one horse had a bad run-in with some Wyoming weather.
I met with another family that reminded me extensively of my own. They have also been ranching for generations, and have been in their current location since the 1940's. They believe in community involvement, noting that giving back to your community helps keep it a place you want to live and is a responsibility of all the community members to partake in.
They also had some very, very nice red Angus cattle.
I also drove into the Bighorn Mountains a little bit. This is my favorite mountain range, it's so beautiful and such a nice combination of trees, grasslands and other landscapes.
I interviewed a guest ranch located just over the hill in the opposite direction from which the photo was taken. It has also been in existence since the late 1800's. While it has switched ownership a few times since then, the current owner/manager knew all about it's history.
Another interview was with a wool mill located in Buffalo. Two women own and run it, and they take wool from the raw form just off the sheep, all the way to finished hats, gloves, yarn and other marketable products.
It was awesome! I got to walk through the entire mill and see the step-by-step process they put the wool through. Then I sat down with them on the retail side and learned how they got started and what they've learned along the way.
It was a good first round of interviews! I'm excited for round two.