Community Ag Alliance: 5 things I love about being a cattle woman |

Community Ag Alliance: 5 things I love about being a cattle woman

Whitney Neelis
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

We have all heard the phrase “it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” and this cannot be truer than when you are raising small humans alongside bovine calves — baby cows. Here are five things I love about being a Routt County Cattlewoman and mother.

  1. Beauty. From seeing a healthy calf on the ground nursing on mom to a beautiful sunset in the hayfield, every day and every activity I get to witness the magnificence of nature.
  2. Scary. Kids want to learn and be a part of everything we do, that means riding on and working around large equipment, never mind the 1,200-plus pound animals that are unpredictable, especially when your daughter “wants to do it by herself” — referring to my 3-year-old leading and grooming a 15-hand — 5-foot-tall — horse.
  3. Learning. Your kids learn early, extremely early, what the circle of life really is, and they are not afraid to share it with their friends at school — from beginning to end. This makes some interesting parent conversations.
  4. Play. My kids will never say there is nowhere to play. They can build forts in the willows, ride bikes on the ranch roads, construct snow tunnels in the hayfield, and the list goes on. One time, we were working cows in the chutes, I went to check on the boys, and they were “roping and vaccinating each other … just like the cows.” There is always fun to be had.
  5. Friendship. My family has made strong bonds with other ranch families, partly because you can share in the agony of having to feed in negative temperatures but also because you can rejoice in the fellowship of helping at each other’s brandings and sharing a great meal.

Routt County has a rich cultural heritage in ranching, and Routt County Cattlewomen is an organization that has been part of that heritage for decades — known as the Cowbelles back then. I would like to invite any and all ranch women who can relate to my five loves to join our organization and experience the community of Routt County Cattlewomen. Feel free to contact me for information.

Whitney Neelis is the 2020 president of Routt County Cattlewomen.

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