Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 3-5-12 |

Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 3-5-12

I’ve always been one of those girls who wanted to have her life planned out. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that life doesn’t always follow my trouble-free chosen path (I’m still wondering what happened to that 200-head cattle ranch I planned for when I was a freshman in college) but, nevertheless, I still find it hard to resist the urge to map out my future.

I’ve lived here in Hays with my husband and two kids for just over three years. We have great neighbors, a good church we’re involved in and we just really like the area. The only thing I don’t like about living here (well, other than the ticks and chiggers) is being far away from family (the closest is five hours away).

So, in all my wisdom, I figured out one of two scenarios that were appropriate for the rest of my life. Option one was staying here and either eventually buying the house in the country we rent or finding a little place to run a few cows in the pretty rolling hills north of town. Option two was moving back to Colorado to be near my family because, as I’ve learned, the best way to get started farming and ranching is to live near close family and friends who are in the business. And then, I’ll admit, I was also open to the unlikely option three. Things in that option included highly improbable, yet amazing opportunities like inheriting a ranch from some random old man who had no family, writing a best-selling novel and buying a series of ranches in different states for all my friends and family and of course, the ever popular, winning the lottery (too bad you have to play to win, though.)

What I didn’t plan for though, was option four – moving to Scott City, Kan.

When my husband got a job offer in Scott City last month, we didn’t really know what to think. Scott City is about two hours from Hays. It’s 40 miles south of Oakley, Kan., and it’s 35 miles north of Garden City, Kan. It’s a town of about 4,000 people, and home to no one that we know.

We wrestled with the decision to move there – it wasn’t part of either one of our plans – but we ultimately decided that my husband should take the job since it would put him on a regular Monday through Friday schedule instead of all the odd hours he works now. My husband starts work in Scott City on May 1, but we won’t officially move until May 20 – right after our daughter gets out of kindergarten.

Hopefully this move will ultimately get us closer to our goal of ranching. Like when we moved to Hays, we don’t know anyone in the Scott City area, so it will be starting over again. I’m glad I don’t have a 2-month-old this time though. Now that my boy is three it will make it much easier to get to know people.

Our only obstacle now (other than packing up loads of stuff and throwing away old toys when the kids aren’t watching) is finding a place to live. After my husband took the job we learned that there is a major housing shortage in Scott City (something we should have checked beforehand). There are only about a dozen or so houses for sale in town and there is not a single house or even apartment to rent there. Realtors and landlords have told us that we probably won’t find a place to rent in town and that finding somewhere to rent in the country is impossible. But, they told us it was impossible to find a place to rent in the country in Hays too.

So, the journey begins. I’m excited (and nervous!) to see what God works out for us. And, I’m really glad that we still have two months until we move!

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Estimated crop water use


The estimated crop water use for Nebraska Panhandle crops for the previous week and the upcoming week is shown in this table. It is based on data gathered by and calculations made by Nebraska Extension…

See more