Week 8

Monday, Randy and I put mineral out for the cows in the Wyoming forest. In the process, we found that there were neighbors’ yearlings in one of the pastures that we would soon be utilizing. We came back up with horses and pushed the fifteen head back into their own allotment.

Tuesday, we rode in the Colorado forest and sorted some pairs from a neighbor’s allotment.

Wednesday, we moved cows from the bottom of Upper Big Gulch West to the top. On the way back to the house

Thursday, we rode up on the Colorado forest, up Box Creek, looking for cows staying close to the water. Luckily, we did not find any cows. After that, we sorted more cattle out of a neighbor’s allotment, whose fence was extremely poor, and moved the cows on Dudley creek farther up the mountain.

Friday, I mostly helped in the kitchen and then went for my first day off to the Cheyenne Frontier Days for Saturday.

Sunday, I returned from Cheyenne just in time to pick up bales out of one of the fields to finish off the week.

I hope you all have had a great summer so far!


Week 9

Hi everyone!

Monday, I went up the bottom of Upper Big Gulch West to push the cows off of the bottom of the draw but, luckily, the cows were already at the top. After I got back and had lunch, I went straight to raking.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I raked all day.

Thursday, a big group of us went to Green River to pick up posts and wire that Eamon had purchased. I didn’t realize until we pulled over on the side of the interstate that it was a fence that had been replaced by a company and we were to pick it up over the 8 or so miles. It was not a bad day, just very hot and a new experience.

Friday, we moved the cows in the Colorado forest up Dudley creek again.

Saturday, I raked all day.

Sunday, we moved all the cattle from Upper Big Gulch West to Buck Camp across Battle Creek. It took some time because, the cows were scattered and it got hot very quickly. The most important part of the day was to make sure that the cows didn’t stray into the field and tramp the hay.

Well, there is rain in the forecast here, which would be greatly appreciated on the forests, but we would all like to get more hay baled before that happens. Have a great week!


Whew! We know it has been a long time, but after battling technology we have finally got some updates from Brittany from her time at the Ladder Ranch.(Pictures will be added as more technical difficulties are overcome)

Week 6

Hi everyone,

Well its been a very busy few weeks on the Ladder Ranch. Here is a short recap:

Monday we went up to the forest and gathered the cows that were on Dudley Creek. Panels were set up in between the two truck and trailers we had parked in a grassy area near the road. We pushed the cows against the panels and those of us on horses held them there while the cows and already branded calves were sorted off. After they were all sorted, the panels were brought around the calves. There were two ropers who heeled the calves and brought them to the nord forks near the fire. I was able to practice my meager roping skills on the very last calf. As it being the last calf, and I an inexperienced roper, everyone was in a hurry to be finished which led to Pat being kicked just below the knee, breaking the bone.

Tuesday, A group of us gathered the same cows at Dudley Creek and pushed them about five miles farther onto the forest to a leased pasture. We also cut out a Hereford pair to take to the Johnson house where the Herefords are being kept.

Wednesday, I opened the gate to heifers on the other end of the horse pasture where they were pastured. I spent the rest of the day taking mineral to the cows in Upper Big Gulch.

Thursday, the Fourth of July, we moved the cows in Upper Big Gulch to Upper Big Gulch West. We left the barn by 5:30 to move them across Battle Creek to the other side but by the time it was nine, Eamon made the executive decision to only move them to two pastures over due to the heat. The cows went well but by the time we got there, they were starting to fight it. We also roped, castrated and earmarked two calves that were unbranded.

Saturday, Eamon, his two sons and I put up the let down fence around the only side of Upper Big Gulch west that was not yet done. We also put out mineral and salt for the cows.

Sunday, I went up alone to clean up any cows that we had missed the day before. It took much longer than anticipated but accomplished my goal. That afternoon, everyone had off to the rodeo in Dixon where the kids were competing in events.


Week 7

Monday, I helped rake hay. In the evening, Eamon wanted to pull a very small calf off of a heifer that was not supposed to have been bred as a calf the previous year. We roped the calf and after deciding that none of our horses would allow us to carry the calf, we tied it up with my rope so that it would not escape until we came back up later with a 4 wheeler. When we returned about 45 minutes later, the calf was gone along with my rope.

Tuesday, I got up at 2 am to rake alfalfa until breakfast. After that we all were concentrating on preparing for the Leopold Conservation award that was in two days. I went and found the calf in with the heifers with the 4 wheeler and roped it with a borrowed rope, to bring it back to the barn and the milk cows that we were going to graft the calf onto. I mowed yards and helped paint the rest of the day.

Wednesday, we all were finishing up projects for the party the next day.

Thursday, the Leopold Conservation Award celebration was in full swing for the day. A reception and presentations were held in the morning followed by lunch and then a tour of several places that are very critical to the Ladder ranch. It was a very nice celebration.

Friday, we went looking for three pairs on the Lidstones’s property which eluded us.

Saturday, we moved cows up on the Colorado forest. Then, I came back and put salt blocks in various places.

Sunday, we trailed some cows that were sorted out of a neighbor’s herd and left on the road to the Colorado forest. On the way up we found two more pairs, one of which we were certain had been in Lidstones only a few days before.


Please note that we will not be posting some of the interns updates for the sake of their privacy. We ask that you stay tuned with Real Ranchers as we follow our other interns through their summer internship on Wyoming ranches.

Contributed by:
Melinda Sims, a real Wyoming rancher from Sims Cattle Company.

We are Sims Cattle Company, located in Southeast Wyoming. We operate a multi-generational ranch, with four of the five generations that have been here presently living on the ranch.

Three generations of Sims’ – Kagan, Shanon, and Scott

Three generations of Sims’ – Kagan, Shanon, and Scott

We feel a great importance on including all of our generations in all aspects of the ranch, from business decisions to everyday work. Nobody is excluded, from the youngest (age 8) to the oldest (age 84). Our ultimate goal is to create a business that is appealing to us, our kids, our

Jentry helping her great grandpa bring cattle up the alley.

Jentry helping her great grandpa bring cattle up the alley.

grandkids, and many more generations to come, just as our forefathers did for us. That’s not saying that we expect all generations to return to the ranch, but we hope that they desire to be here.

One of the ways that we try to make it appealing is to make ranch work fun! We are serious about getting the job done, but we also like to make it enjoyable in the process. If we’ve had a wreck moving cows (like we all do!), and it has been a rough day on the kids (ages 11 and 8), then we try

Jentry helping move pairs

Jentry helping move pairs

to take them on an easy move the next day, just so they have a good experience to outweigh the rough one. We don’t want them growing up feeling like it’s all hard, miserable work, even though there are days… We’d like for them to remember the fun times so that enjoyable work is an enticement for them to ranch in the future.

Another way is to make the ranch as profitable as possible. If the kids see Dad and Mom barely scraping by and not able to enjoy life, what is the draw to come back to that lifestyle? If the kids see a life that is comfortable with time for a vacation now and then, and fun family times in between, then that’s a more enticing lifestyle to want to be a part of.

The kids learning how to rope, wrestle, vaccinate and brand the milk cow’s calves

The kids learning how to rope, wrestle, vaccinate and brand the milk cow’s calves

We also operate the ranch as holistically as possible, conserving our land for future generations. We try to show our younger generation the importance of leaving the land better than we found it – what kids would want to come back to a run-down, wreck of a place that has a poor carrying capacity? “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Kagan (age 11) learning how to wrestle calves

Kagan (age 11) learning how to wrestle calves

Without our children having the desire and love of the land that we do, we face a future of fewer kids coming back to manage family ranches. We definitely don’t want to see our multi-generational ranch removed from production because we didn’t do our job to show our children that ranching is an amazingly rewarding career!

Melinda Sims

For more photos and other updates from Sims Cattle Company, visit them on Facebook or at http://www.simscattlecompany.com

Here is an update from Jackalyn on the past 2 weeks of her rangeland internship


This past week I continued to participate in AI-ing the cows. This happens early in the morning until about 10am and from the evening from 4pm-9pm in order to let the hot cows calm down before insemination. We had about 40 cows left by Friday who are going to be put into a pasture with some bulls. During down time, I fixed fence and was able to see the Ladder Ranch on Thursday to celebrate 2014 Environmental Stewardship Tour in Savery, Wyoming. I was happy to be invited for this event and met people from UW, WSGA, NRCS, and the O’ Tool family of the Ranch. Everyone was welcoming and I met a few of the other girls who are interning like myself. Each person had good things to say about their experiences over this summer so far and the Ranch was beautiful. I was glad to hear all the good things this family is doing and celebrate with them.


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This past week I pulled out our boards in front of our water gates x3. This was a lot of work but I was able to manage it. It was kind of rainy earlier in the week, so we did some maintenance on our tractors, ranger, and vehicles. My boss, Ralph and I both had a flat tire on our vehicle to fix along with the tractor. On Wednesday, we finished our last branding of the season and only had about 35 calves. I was able to brand some of these! It was a new experience for me and a lot harder than it looks. It definitely takes some practice… Later I fixed some fences and I pushed about 70 pair from an area across a stream, around a hill, through some snow fences, and along a fence line into another pasture. I also was able to go to a family BBQ and meet some more of my boss’s family and make s’mores around the fire place.

Here is the latest update from Jackalyn:

06301419300702141924 This past week I learned about Artificial Insemination or AI-ing. I watched the process and my boss keeps the bulls sperm in liquid nitrogen container where it can stay frozen. When the cows are ready to go, the specified sperm gets put into 98 degree water to melt for 30 seconds. The longer the sperm is exposed to the air the quicker it dies, so it is put in a plastic protector on a syringe and then into a napkin. Once the cows are in heat, or have received a shot to put them into heat, they get the sperm in equal amounts to their uterus. In addition to this I helped look for “hot” cows who usually have a partner and are able to be moved into the corral. This process was done in the morning and at night so they had roughly 8 hours to relax before AI-ing could occur. If the cows run around right before or after, it decreases the success rate of pregnancy. I also checked water gates and did some work around the house.

Here is an update from Jackalyn!

Monday the 16th, I built a barbwire fence by pounding in green steel posts and stringing the bob wire 3 rows while stapling and clipping after it was pulled tight. I also helped move cows and fix a hot wire fence that we had previously built.

On Tuesday the 17th, I checked some water gates and added metal boards to help increase the flow to other places. I cleaned my boss’s house, did yard work, and cleaned out a spare bed room in the house I am staying in. Wednesday the 18th, I took down and electric fence and fixed fences in the AI patch.

Thursday the 19th, I fixed fence in another swampy area and checked on the bulls.
This concludes my week.


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