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Working Ranch - March 2018

“This lease doesn’t fi t everyone’s operation,” shares Tod Vineyard. “The cows won’t stay up on the top on their own, and the fences need continuous work. We are up here horseback a day or two a week tracking cattle so they don’t scatter. But we love it up here; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” ground. “My parents eventually bought the place where Chris and I live in 2003, and we came back in 2010,” Jen explains. “We now run my parents’ cows on shares along with cattle of our own. Thanks to my mom and dad, I believe in the American dream: work hard and we can earn what we want in this life.” 30 MILES OF GRAVEL ROAD Town jobs also enable Jen, Chris, and their two sons, Bryce and Josh, to be a part of the family’s 72 Ranch. Chris continues to commute 90 miles for his 4-day shift at a coalmine. With ranch headquarters 30 miles of gravel road from Newcastle, Internet and cell phone service allows Jen to work out of a home offi ce. She leads the family’s other business, Sagebrush Marketing, which counts tourism boards and small businesses among its clientele. For Tod and Vicky, it was training colts that diversifi ed their income. “Our ranch probably wouldn’t exist without using horses to work on the ranch and, after a few years, selling them as older, fully-trained ranch horses,” Tod explains. “As we built the ranch, horses paid a lot of expenses. We’d sell a horse to pay vet bills, build a barn or drill a well. With the extra income, we didn’t borrow as much money.” To train colts, the family did everything horseback. “We could have done things quicker using a four-wheeler instead of a horse,” Tod continues, “but we created another income while we did chores. We didn’t own a four-wheeler until our daughters Jen and Erin graduated from high school.” This meant the family did some things the old-school way, such as a wrangle horse kept in the corral to bring horses in from pasture. “The best wrangle horse wasn’t always kept in either,” Jen recalls of wrangling horses as a kid. “Sometimes I wished a different horse was in the corral. But we didn’t have too many rodeos.” MARCH 2018 I WORKING RANCH I 49


Working Ranch - March 2018
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