From dawn to dusk, many hands pull the workload at Walchuk Ranch, and there are no days off. Someone has to feed the cattle. Someone has to fix the busted fence. Today. At Walchuk Ranch, you’ll never hear “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Here, tomorrow is just a different today.
Walchuk Ranch sits in the foreground of the Mission Mountains and is owned and run by Dale Walchuk. Ranching has changed since the days of his grandfather, Pete, but in many ways, it has stayed the same.
Ranch work doesn’t always stay on the ranch. Horses wander into the mountains. Fences break down in remote areas. A rancher might find himself offsite for days, left alone in cold weather, bad trail conditions, and under the alert eyes of wolves, bears, and coyotes. The hardships are many, but a cowboy is always prepared.
A full-time cowboy, Levi is a farrier, wrangler, wrestler, roper, and rider. Always willing to get his hands dirty, today he contributes by mending a fence.
A full-time cowboy, Levi is a farrier, wrangler, wrestler, roper, and rider. Always willing to get his hands dirty, today he contributes by mending a fence. Installing new wire, righting fallen posts, or fixing damaged sections of sometimes miles long fences is a tiring, but critical task.
Running horses through snowy fields and over icy creeks is wet, dirty work. Sleety snow soaks your clothes, horse reins carve through your gloves, and the wind lashes your face. Everything on the ranch has to be tough, from the clothes on your back to the animals you ride.
All-around ranch hand and freelance cowboy. Moving cattle from pen to pen takes coordination and skill. Paul’s expert horsemanship makes short work of the task.
The cows raised on Walchuk are the lifeblood of the ranch and require constant care. But cattle don’t make the task of care administration easy. After lassoing a steer, someone has to wrestle it to the ground and hold it there while the vet gives it a piercing shot of antibiotics.
A farrier must be equal parts blacksmith, wrangler and veterinarian. Not all horses want to be shoed, so a good farrier has to deal with the mean ones – the kickers and the biters. But the satisfaction of making a lame or injured horse more comfortable, makes the bruises worth it.
A longtime cowboy and expert farrier, Herbert is a local legend for his experience shoeing horses. He travels ranch to ranch, carrying with him the spirit of the old west.
The Walchuk cattle brand is a third-generation brand originally used by Dale’s father, Tony. When a rancher leaves the business, or passes the brand down, the new owner brands a different part of the animal to delineate ownership. Dale brands the right shoulder of his horses, and the right hip of his cows.
Fences mended. Cattle tended. Horses in their stalls. For a few short minutes, all’s quiet on the Walchuk ranch. But tomorrow morning it begins again. And as always, morning comes early.
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