Written by Cheyenne Sparks
I recently went to a trade show that had a large variety of attendees from all over the country, which provided a perfect outlet for my love of people watching. As I settled into the first chair I could find, I noticed a group of women had congregated in the same area and had begun to make small talk. One by one they called off their titles; Pharmacist, Advertisement Director, Editor, etc. When it came turn for the last woman to give her title, she proudly stated she was a 3rd generation Rancher.
The others in the circle seemed confused by her response as if she were speaking a language they had just heard for the first time. After an awkward pause I heard, “You’re just a Rancher?” come from one of their mouths.
I was shocked. Immediately I began to wonder how many people in the world truly believe ranching is a lesser profession.
I quickly rose from my seat and made my way to the group. They all turned to look at me but my focus remained on the rancher. I reached out my hand, looked her straight in the eye and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for being what most never could. I didn’t stay for her reaction but as I walked away I could faintly hear the women excitedly asking the rancher to tell them more about what she did.
I chalk that moment up to a win for the ranching community, but have come to realize there are many out there that don’t know what ranchers truly do.
After hearing that woman tell the other women what ranching means to her, I decided to ask a few of my fellow ranchers what being a rancher means to them.
These are some of their wonderful answers…
“Ranching is sacrificing blood, sweat and tears to create a product you can be proud of.”
“Ranching is respecting Mother Nature, even when it seems she isn’t respecting you.”
“Ranching is dealing with life and death every day. Witnessing the beautiful wonders this world possess while being painfully aware of the terrors within it.”
“Ranching is taking care of your animals like you would care for your own flesh and blood.”
“Ranching is being over worked and underpaid and still loving your job anyways.”
“Ranching is putting forth work that is good and honest. This profession is not what I do, but how I live.”
“Ranching is waking up before the sun comes up and going to bed well after it leaves the sky. It doesn’t know weekends, holidays or vacations.”
“Ranching is providing for more than your family, friends or community. Ranching is providing for the world.”
Ranchers are much more than they are stereotypically made out to be. They are accountants, mechanics, and veterinarians. They are educators, managers, scientists, and nutritionists. Ranchers are volunteers, advocates, community leaders, and sponsors.
What does ranching mean to you? Share your definition with us in the comments section!
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