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Working Ranch - March 2018

(ABOVE) Josh Womack and his cousin Charlie Pzinski. The 72 Ranch herd is young… the oldest cows are only six. (RIGHT) A mid-day lunch break back at the trailers: (L to R) Vicky Vineyard, Tod Vineyard, Charlie Pzinski, Josh Womack and Jen Womack. ground. But several droughty years in the early 2000s left them farming and still buying additional hay. “That’s when we decided to switch to buying all of our hay,” Jen says. “It works out well as it provides us more time to care for our cattle.” MOTHER NATURE WILL SET YOU STRAIGHT Even with ranching and rural life experience, Jen and Chris’ return to the 72 Ranch came with fresh hardships. Jen says every year they learn something new. “And, boy, if we get to thinking we’re hot stuff and know it all,” she says, “Mother Nature will pull a trick to remind us how little we do know.” Their fi rst year back blew in with a hard winter. “Our access road was still a two-track,” Jen recalls. “Chris must be at the coal mine by 7 a.m. I’d get up at 4 a.m. to start plowing snow with the skid-steer to get him the two miles out to the main road. Then I’d go back and do it again at 8 p.m. to get him home that night. We spent all winter stuck in a snow drift here, there and everywhere.” In the spring, that snow melted to blow out the ranch’s reservoir dam. “That fi rst year really tested our endurance,” Jen says shaking her head at the memories. “Within just a couple of years we went into a droughty summer, and our summer grazing lease burnt in the Oil Creek wildfi re.” During the fi re, the family didn’t sleep for over 36 hours as they evacuated their cattle. First the cattle were trailed out of the hills, and then loaded onto trucks to haul them out of the area. Though the real work 52 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2018


Working Ranch - March 2018
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