Dude Ranch Life: Cattle Ranching with the Beltons

cattle round up at Colorado dude ranch

October came upon us quickly, but it didn’t come quietly this year. Although we always have the chance of snow here in the fall, this month kicked off with a full-fledged winter style snow storm. Stunning? Yes. Welcomed? Well, we’d actually rather default to our preferred October weather of sunny skies to show off the golden aspens. But, that’s life in the mountains and today we’re already back to those sunny skies, albeit a wee bit chilly with the snow still hanging around on the ground.

The snow did help us out as it did encourage the remaining cow-calf pairs out in the forest that coming home is indeed a good idea. You see, we’ve spent the last month convincing the cow-calf pairs to stay out by moving them around to find where the grass was still thick and lush so they could spend as much time out in the forest before we brought them home. So, by the end of September we were pretty sure they would come home willingly. Apparently they missed that memo, and although we brought a lot of them home that last week, there are still some stragglers out in the forest. Following the storm early this week, their attitude seems to have shifted and this time they were a lot more willing to head back to the ranch.

One of the highlights of this fall round-up season for me has been getting our partners Christy and Matt Belton more involved with our guests during the round-up weeks. We had them join us for dinner each week to meet the guests and then gather around the fireplace after dinner so everyone could learn a little more about their cattle operation. It was fascinating. Every week the conversation went a little different direction from water rights to testing bulls productivity (yep, that one got a little silly), but each week gave our guests a chance to understand a little more about the cattle industry and our partnership with Belton Livestock. This is one of those amazing relationships where everyone wins–our guests get to be a part of a real cattle operation and Christy and Matt get some help with managing a roughly 14,000 acre USFS grazing permit along with over 200 cow-calf pairs. What was apparent was that having this conversation with Christy and Matt helped the guests realize this is the real deal, and recognize that they have a vital role in helping with the Belton’s business success.

Now we just have to get the stragglers in and call it a year. Fat happy cows and spunky, well fed calves are heading back to the Belton Livestock headquarters as I write this blog post. Good job to all who came out to have some fun riding the land and rounding up cows!