On the Trail 9-08-09
In one of my recent columns, I wrote about Kindness Ranch in Wyoming, where animals that have been used in lab experiments for medical and food science are sheltered following their “lives” as research animals. But I suspect Fence Post readers would rather read about cattle ranches.
In June as part of the Western Writers of America convention in Oklahoma, I had the chance to visit Express Ranches, of Yukon, Okla. The ranch is known for its Limousin and Angus cattle, and has been named one of the top 25 seed stock producers for 2009 by the National Cattleman’s Association.
Our tour started at the main arena at the ranch, a facility that gets double duty as an events center and sale ring. We were greeted by ranch owner Bob Funk, who explained how the ranch was started, talked of the beef breeding operations, and outlined the ranch management. He particularly spoke about the program the Express Ranches sponsors to provide scholarships to young people involved in 4-H and FFA programs, pointing out that encouraging youth to become involved in agriculture – and particularly in beef production – is an important mission for the ranch. To date Express Ranches has provided more than $2.3 million in scholarship funds.
The dozens of trophy banners and ribbons hanging from the walls of the event center, were testament to the sound operations at the ranch including the raising of Angus and Limousin cattle. After Funk’s welcome and description of the ranch, our group had an opportunity to visit the embryo transplant center. Then we went to the stables where the Express Ranch Clydesdales are kept.
Doug Sauter, is a Senior Vice President of Express Ranches and he manages the Clydesdales. But Funk noted he is also the “Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations.” From 1979 to 1983 this Saskatchewan man was the coach of the Calgary Wranglers.
Express Ranches is involved in all phases of beef production and has fed as many as 50,000 head of cattle per year. In addition to the operation at Yukon, Okla., the Express Ranches also own and run the historic UU Bar and Mora Ranches located just outside of Cimarron, N.M., which added more than 150,000 acres of high-altitude rangeland to the overall operation. There ranch managers run commercial cows and calves plus 4,000 to 5,000 yearlings each summer. That gives the ranches an opportunity to test Express cattle genetics under semi-arid conditions.
As Bob Funk told us, all their cattle are raised for meat that is both tender and flavorful.
Express Ranches also sponsors PRCA Cowboys Billy Etbauer, Steven Dent and Hunter Herrin, and others, providing support to yet another facet of Western life.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User