Calving Time Means Excitement at Wilder!

Calving Time at WilderCalving time at Wilder on the Taylor is always a special occasion, especially this year. Calvin’s registered Angus show heifer, Chevelle, was due to calve on March 1. She has a big personality and loves people. Calvin, Clay and I hauled her almost 7,000 miles last year to shows all over Colorado, Nevada and Oklahoma. She helped him win a spot to compete in the prestigious National Junior Showmanship contest. Being away at Oklahoma State University, Calvin was doubly anxious about this calving time and excited to see her first calf.

Calving time at WilderChevelle’s big day arrived on February 25. I was headed to Gunnison for Clay’s spring teacher conferences when she went into labor. Clay wanted to skip seeing his teachers to get home to Chevelle. We sped through the meetings and got home as Don was ready to assist Chevelle with having her calf. Clay jumped in and knew how to help his Dad pull a calf. I stood back speechless and extremely proud that my 14-year-old knew what to do! After a few tense minutes, her first calf was born, a beautiful, solid-black heifer. Just what Calvin wanted! She was a big girl, tipping the scales at 88 pounds. We all celebrated, and I called Calvin and could hardly choke back the tears. 

Calving time at Wilder

Clay’s Angus show heifer, Bella, loves to play with Chevelle’s new calf, as she is just a yearling herself. They run around the hay feeders at top speed, stop, buck and butt heads. It’s comical to watch those two enjoying life. When we feed Bella, we have to tie her halter to the fence while she eats her grain, otherwise she helps herself to everyone’s feed tubs in the pen. Chevelle’s calf proved she has her mother’s spunky personality as she stuck her nose in Bella’s feed, then pulled the tub just out of Bella’s reach! Bella was bawling at her, and Calvin was falling down laughing! He has really enjoyed watching her since he’s been home for spring break.

Calvin Sabrowski Jr AngusThere is no one in the Sabrowski family who doesn’t look forward to calving time despite the sleepless nights, anxiety and worry. It is a small investment of our time for what we get in return: lots of laughter, funny stories and time spent together as a family. I cherish these moments experiencing the first breath of a new life with Don and my boys at Wilder. (Calvin Pictured with his prized heifer, Chevelle)

For more information about this special Crested Butte land we know as the Wilder, visit our website at WilderColorado.com.

Authentic Cowboys and Real Colorado Ranching

Cowboy looking over the herd in Colorado pictureThe cowboy and ranching lifestyle enjoyed by owners at Wilder on the Taylor was woven into the Western fabric of Gunnison County by 1880, the year both Gunnison and Crested Butte were officially established. Today, most of the wide-open vistas along Highways 50 and 135 are thanks to hardworking ranch families who have continued the lands’ early uses over the generations. The only “traffic jams” on these roads are powder days during ski season and occasional cattle drives, which are a good excuse to take a breather, watch the skill of local cowboys and admire the livestock.

Southwest Colorado Storied History

The attraction of open and unused land, a theme that runs throughout the history of the American West, provided the stimulus for the development of ranching and agriculture in southwest Colorado during the last two decades of the nineteenth century, including the land now known as Wilder on the Taylor, which was homesteaded in 1897. Fields had to be cleared and leveled and irrigation systems built to divert water from the rivers and creeks to farm the area, primarily to produce hay for local horse and cattle feed.

Colorado Cattle Industry

The livestock industry in southwest Colorado began in 1869 with the establishment of the Los Pinos Indian Agency cow camp on Tomichi Creek, just outside present-day Gunnison. To supply the agency with beef, government agents drove Texas cattle, usually longhorns, north from New Mexico, through the San Luis Valleyand over Cochetopa Pass.

Jim Kelley and Alonzo Hartman, names synonomous with the later growth of the Gunnison country’s cattle raising industry and some of the area’s first cowboys, were in charge of the cow camp and grazed the agency’s stock in the Tomichi Creek east of Gunnison and Taylor Park areas near Wilder. Southwestern Colorado became shorthorn and Hereford cattle country as they adapted better to the environment of the Western Slope. The Wilder currently has a herd of 54 Hereford cows and calves.

The arrival of rail transportation was a major boost. Gunnison became a focal point for the west central Colorado cattle industry when the first shipment of marketable steers was made on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in 1882. Hartman expanded his ranching operation on Tomichi Creek by parlaying his original homestead into one of the great ranches of the Gunnison country by 1885.

Colorado Ranching Places & Names

The areas of Ohio Creek, Cranor Hill, Taylor Park, Quartz Creek, Tomichi Creek, Cochetopa, lower Gunnison (Iola) and Crested Butte as well as Powderhorn on down to Lake City are all steeped in the history of the cattle legacy. Family names like Moore, Veltri, Hartman, Sammons, McCabe, Trampe, Easterly, Buffington, Thorton, Spann, Vader, Mergleman, Outcalt, Howard, Phelps, Redden, Irby, Field, Piloni, Eilebrechts, Esty, Rouviere, Hildebrand, Hadley, Youmans and Hollenback are all recognizable as names that shaped the course of history in the cattle industry in Gunnison County.

Names associated with the land that is now Wilder are Roper, Redden, Wolfe, Elisnore Cattle Company, Brown and Jackson-Shaw. Don and Shelly Sabrowski have been ranch managers for the property for 17 years.

Cattlemen’s Days

For more than a century, the Gunnison Valley has celebrated cowboys, cowgirls and the Western way of life with annual demonstrations of roping, racing and riding skills between spring calving and summer haying. The 112th annual Cattlemen’s Days, July 6 – 15 in Gunnison, has grown from an annual get-together of local cowboys and cowgirls to a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event that attracts the world’s top rodeo competitors and is one of the oldest of its kind in Colorado. The event also features a county fair, parade, live music and dancing, a horse show, cowboy poetry, cowboy church and horse races.

Museum Ranching Displays

Don’t miss stopping by the Pioneer Museum in Gunnison and Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum to find out more about the ranchers and cowboys who have helped create the spirit of Gunnison County.

Want to know more about Colorado shared ranch property?  Download the Wilder brochure.

Sources:
Frontier in Transition: A History of Southwestern Colorado (Bureau of Land Management Cultural Resources Series (Colorado: No. 10),

Wilder Ranch First Calves of the Season Born!

First calf at Wilder on the TaylorApril on the Wilder ranch begins anew with the thaw of snowy pastures and the promise of the return of summer.  Ducks, geese, robins, hummingbirds and elk are a common sight now and each day brings something different.

The birth of Wilder’s first calves was eventful this year.  Two cows gave birth to their calves right next to each other.  They both claimed one of the calves as their own.  When Don went out to ear tag the calves, he noticed there was a problem. Both mothers were licking the same calf and leaving the other one unattended and cold. He called me to get the stock trailer and come out to help him get them separated.  Don loaded the calf they both were claiming as” theirs” in the stock trailer and the cows followed right into the trailer!  We loaded the other calf and went to the barn where we were able to separate them to their birth mothers.  We are happy to report that both cows now have claimed the right calves and are doing well.

 

Don Sabrowski tagging calf