The land beneath my feet is rich with stories and full of life. The variety of native grasses are bountiful with life. Bees buzz from flower to flower. Bugs and worms inch their way through the dense soil. Cattle graze peacefully, dropping fertilizer and aerating the dirt as they move through the acres of rolling hills. Calves grow thanks to their mother’s milk and the lush grass that grows abundantly in the summer months.
It’s hard not to love the summer grazing season, and spending quiet moments at the end of a hard day of work on the ranch just gazing at the horizon makes me thankful to be raising my family on the quiet prairie and grateful to be able to make a humble living tending to the land and the livestock that I love.
During the month of May, we have been celebrating ranchers' love of the land and the livestock with a photo contest. We created a gallery of reader-submitted images that showcase a rancher’s passion for the cattle and the pastures and fields he is responsible for.
From there, we narrowed the entries down to a group of finalists, and we asked you to help select the top photographs.
With thousands of votes, there are two images that rose to the top.
Congratulations to our champion photographer, Stephanie Gray, with her entry, “The cowboy way.”
Our reserve champion award goes to Bradee Pazour with her entry, “Cousins.”
Honorable mention goes to Dawn Smith with "Branding."
Our top photographers will receive either a western art print from BEEF's archives or a copy of “Courageous Cattlemen.”
Written by the late Robert C. de Baca, the book profiles many of the early industry leaders in the genetic improvement movement.
One of those early pioneers, de Baca was a well-known professor at Iowa State University, as well as owner of Mid-Iowa Cattle Co. and publisher of the Ideal Beef Memo, an early publication that encouraged the use of genetic selection and improvement.
Thanks to everyone who entered photos and voted. Cheers to an awesome contest with some beautiful images that truly capture the spirit of the cowboy and his love for the land and the livestock under his care.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.