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Parents watch an annual ritual with special pride

For more than 125 years, cattle have been driven through in Mancos.

As parents, Pam and I have watched Cassie and Travis grow from infants to adults.

This process is not simple, and the final results are never known. Now that they are both married, we have to stand back and watch as they live their lives. It is not often that parents have the opportunity to work for their children – where they are the leaders and you are the labor.

After high school, Travis spent 10 years chasing wildland fires across the country. I was lucky to see Travis in his element when his Alpine Hotshots were assigned to several large wildfires where I was managing the fire camps.

He worked hard, but eventually, he longed to settle down and have a permanent home instead of spending half of the year in distant fire camps. He has settled down in a home near Cortez with his wife. Now, instead of chasing fires, he chases cows and irrigation water from dawn to dusk.

While technology has changed many aspects of agriculture, much has stayed the same when it comes to working with livestock. Travis spends much of his summers with his horse and dog herding and caring for the cows and calves spread across vast summer pastures. When fall arrives, horses and riders still round up the cattle and move them down from the mountains to their home ranches.

Pam and I had the opportunity to assist Travis and other riders in this annual activity last month when several hundred cows and calves were gathered and trailed home. I was fascinated to watch Travis and his horse, Buddy, as they slowly worked through the herd to separate other ranchers’ cows and calves from the masses before starting the cattle drive.

For Pam and I, the duties were simple: We drove in front of the herd and alerted drivers of the coming obstruction and informed them that the cows have the right of way. From county roads, to a state highway, through a stoplight and down the middle of Main Street in Mancos, the cows knew their way as they headed for home. While the storefronts on Mancos’s Main Street have changed through the decades, the sounds and scenes of passing livestock have been going on for more than 125 years.

Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to watch Travis in his element, smoothly doing his job and managing the many challenges of moving cattle through traffic and obstacles.

For parents, it is always a blessing to see your children grow up to do something they love. We are proud that with his love of the outdoors and livestock, Travis has found a good life to share with is wife.

Doug Ramsey has farmed in La Plata County for more than 35 years. He can be reached at 385-4375.

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