When Sharlee Goss won the BEEF Daily Cowgirls and Cattlewomen Photography Contest earlier this month, there was little doubt the picture captured a special moment between mother, Anna, and her daughter, Gracie. The voters and myself were all captivated by the tender-hearted moment between two cowgirls, and I think the image perfectly celebrated Mother's Day and the tribute this magazine paid to the hardworking women in agriculture.
So, when Anna’s mother-in-law, Lynne, sent in this beautiful story about this gorgeous cowgirl and her life on the ranch, I knew I had to share it with all of you. Take a minute to read this great piece and, since I’m sure many of you can relate to it, take a few minutes to share your own stories with us of hectic days, crazy weather and getting the job done. Be sure to check out the complete Cowgirls and Cattlewomen Photo Gallery here. I hope you will all stop back later this week, when I will be introducing a brand new photo contest honoring the men in ranching, in preparation for Father's Day coming up on June 19! Get your cameras ready! And, Happy Memorial Day! Wishing you a great day of celebration, reflection and family time!
Finally, don't forget to share your favorite pet memories with us for a chance to win one of five $100 prints! Link here for details! Winners will be announced tomorrow!
"Anna’s Trip to Town" by Lynne Heryford
I called my daughter-in-law the other morning just to visit. We were talking about the weather (Montanans always talk about the weather!), and she then told me of her trip to town the day before.
Anna is 26, and she is beautiful, inside and out — the kind of beauty and style that would allow her to walk into the finest restaurant in New York City and be mistaken for, let’s say Jennifer Garner. That is unless she was accompanied by our son, her waxed, handle-bar, “mustash-i-ode” husband, in his black felt cowboy hat, of course! Her heartfelt smile gleams with brace-straightened white teeth, and her hugs, laugh and wink melt everyone.
On this particular day, Anna volunteered to take a load of calves (500-lb. yearling cattle) to the saleyard in Great Falls. She had some shopping to do and no one ever goes to town just for groceries! It was a nasty day, but Anna is a northern Montana native who has lived most of her life on her family’s ranch, located truly at “the end of the road.” Trips to town don’t wait for nice days. Her mode of transportation was a one-ton, four-door, manual shift, flatbed truck possessing a “hydro-bed” (a hydraulic lift system used to pick up and move 1,500-lb. hay bales) on the back, and probably full of dirt, hay and a stash of 27 extra coats in the back seat! This truck was hooked to a 20-ft.-long, gooseneck, aluminum stock trailer, loaded with 10 head of rambunctious calves.
Off she went, looking lovely, because she wanted to try to sneak in a lunch with her girlfriend at the Macaroni Grill. The road to town is 35 miles of gravel, on a good day. At that time, it was 35 miles of snow, ice and ruts so deep they could hide a small child. It’s also comprised of washboard and washouts. Deep coulees, the Teton River, and limited snow removal add to the excitement of running to the grocery store. Arriving in town, she quickly headed out to the saleyard where she backed the trailer up to a gate, unloaded the calves, signed some paperwork and finally headed off to do her shopping.
Her family’s wishlist had her running all over the city. Two or three feed stores, some for feed and vaccine, and some for clothing and gifts, at least one parts store, a quick dash into the mall, and a drive-through stall at the dry cleaners (my son wears heavy-starched Wrangler jeans and shirts), all of this while still dragging the stock trailer! Finally, she hit the grocery store and stocked up for her mom, her brother and various crew members, and her house, as well. She giggled when she told me that she was running late before leaving town. Imagine!
It had started to storm heavily on her way home and by now it was dark. There is no cell phone service about five miles out of town and only four or five farms along the way. She encountered white-out conditions and the temperature was below zero. She said, “I was pretty white-knuckled by the time I got home, but oh, well, I made it; sure glad I left Gracie (her two-year-old) home with mom!” All in the day of the life of a young ranch wife. Oh, did I mention, she is seven months pregnant? Hopefully, the roads will be better before the baby comes!