In a rare interview, Lowell Johnston shares his perspective on the more than eight decades he’s spent as a rancher in Kiowa County. His recollections include memories from his boyhood when he rode his horse to a one room schoolhouse, his teenage years when he trailed 300 head of cattle through one of the worst snowstorms in Colorado history in an attempt to save them from certain death and, later on, his adult life when he managed to keep on ranching while those around him did not. It’s oral history at its best, including the kind of wisdom that only comes from experience and the colorful sayings that are, too quickly, disappearing from our conversation. Photos by Ty Lin Williams
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POLLY COLLINS JOHNSON
It’s rumored that when Polly Collins Johnson was just a teenager, she was called “Prairie Princess” because, despite her position as ranch owner’s daughter, she worked right alongside all the cowboys. Now, more than a half century later, she’s the matriarch of the Collins ranch, one of the oldest and most successful ranches in the area, and it appears she hasn’t changed a bit since those early days. In this interview, she shares stories from her life, the lives of her parents and the life of her visionary grandfather who started it all. Photos by Ty Lin Williams
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A third generation cattle rancher, Louis James shares his unique approach to ranching and life, in general, including a profound respect and affection for the role of horses in his every day routine. His practical optimism is a true inspiration. Photos by Alicia James
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Anyone who knows this woman will agree that she’s a true one-of-a-kind. A fourth generation cattle rancher and proud resident of Arlington, Colorado, Cathryn has numerous advanced degrees and a history where she traveled the world, yet she returned to the family ranch to continue on with traditions first established by her father. Photos by Ty Lin Williams
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GARY and JANETTE WOLLERT
This ranching couple has managed to combine work and marriage in a way that have made both endeavors a success. Not an easy feat in any time, let alone these days when divorce rates remain at unprecedented levels.
Photos by Ty Lin Williams
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A local figure well known by all, Ralph Berry has enjoyed a long career as a professional roper. With a record that includes winning numerous championships throughout the west, he shares his personal history—how he got started, what he’s learned and what it’s like to live day to day “on the circuit”. Photos by Ty Lin Williams
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