If you’ve been following the “Why I Ranch” essay contest, sponsored by Greeley Hat Works, then you already know that we are among kindred spirits in the beefmagazine.com community. It’s nice to share the same values of hard work, the importance of family, a love of nature and a passion for cattle with other folks.
We received great entry response in the contest, and I’m pleased to announce our winning essays today. Each winner will receive a $300 gift certificate for a Greeley Hat Works hat.
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Without further ado, our winning essayists are TheBosLady from Kingsville, TX; and A Ranch Mom from Cheyenne, WY. Here is the BosLady’s winning entry “Why I Ranch.”
“Why I ranch?” There ought to be a simple answer to give you. I can’t pick just one reason, so I’ll tell you about a few.
There are many facets of this life I’ve chosen and adore. Indeed, its dirty, hard work, but for me, it’s never a chore.
I admit its true, it takes a strange, unique kind of passion, To choose to spend your spare time mixin’ up a new ration.
There’s nothing like the sunrise as I load up the truck with corn. Even the oldest of cows come runnin’ when they hear me honk my horn.
The one sight that always makes me smile and always makes me laugh, is the first couple wobbly steps of a newborn baby calf.
If I’m honest, its not always beautiful and fun, No time for sittin’ around. There’s a job to be done!
I’ve pulled calves in the dead of winter when the snow is knee high, and stretched fence by myself with a hot summer sun in the sky.
Its silly to think that I still cry when I have to put one down, Even shed a tear last spring when I sent that ol’ red bull to town.
Yes, I invest in Mother Nature, my time and my labor, in hopes that she’s kind enough to, one day, return the favor.
Each and every day, I wake up and thank the Good Lord above. He’s blessed me with the resources to keep doing what I love.
Truth is, I’m just waitin’ on the land of milk and honey, ‘Cause you dang sure know that I ain’t in it for the money!
Meanwhile, A Ranch Mom from Cheyenne, WY, provided this winning essay, “The Beauty Of Ranching.”
The bawling of young calves, drowned by the anxious mooing of their mothers. The swish of the reata, swirling through the the air, followed by the 'zzzt!' of the loop tightening around a calf's leg. The sizzle of the branding iron, the swipe of a pink crayon. Mounds of mashed potatoes, fresh-baked rolls, steaming roast beef. Stories of cows, bulls, and ornery horses. Laughter and joking and praising the cook. Thanking God for rain, planning the next ranch rodeo.
Sunshine casting golden streaks over fresh-mown hay. Sweating over small bales, greasy from the broken-down baler. Sipping iced tea the wife brought out, looking anxiously toward the sky. Working till dark and then some.
Gathering cattle, filling water tanks, fixing windmills. Admiring a bull elk as the sun rises in a pale sky. Kids riding the old horse alongside Daddy. Teaching the son to carve leather and the daughter to feed a bottle calf. Eating homegrown food around a big table. Sitting on the porch in the stillness of evening, listing to the rushing creek.
This is why I ranch.
Thanks to Greeley Hat Works for sponsoring such an awesome contest, and thanks to all of you for participating. Stay tuned for an update on a photo contest coming later in April.
What are your thoughts on the winning entries? Share with us why you ranch by leaving your stories in the comments section below.
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