Colorado ranch family has made National Western Stock Show a tradition for nearly five decades


For almost a half century, people at Operating Creek Ranch have equipped every year for considered one of agriculture’s major events: the National Western Inventory Present.

This yr is not any totally different.

The ranch in Elizabeth was bustling Tuesday getting ready “yearling” bulls, ones born last spring, to point out on the Nationwide Western. The black bulls have been ushered into an enormous pink barn where they have been washed and dried as a part of the primping to make sure the animals look their greatest when judges and consumers verify them out.

Joey Freund, manager and co-proprietor of the ranch, and the remainder of the crew planned to deliver the bulls to the stock show complicated in Denver on Friday, the day earlier than the 113th annual National Western formally begins. The ranch, started by Freund’s father, Joe, in 1970, focuses on raising registered Limousin bulls.

“All the blokes here look ahead to going to it,” stated Freund, whose 15-yr-previous son, Soren, will show a lamb on the National Western.

The Freunds will even convey their Belgian draft horses to compete within the Draft Horse Show and Pulling Contest on Jan. 25-27. Freund’s father helped revive the draft-horse competitors in 1980. As an alternative of vans or tractors, the ranch makes use of teams of two draft horses to haul the hay to feed their cattle.

“It’s extra environment friendly. One man can exit and feed the cows,” Freund stated. “You don’t should get out of the truck and take it out of drugs. The horses all drive on voice command. They only stroll alongside at a sluggish tempo. You possibly can take a look at the cows and you may see issues lots better. And it’s just fulfilling.”

For several years, Freund’s father has invited others who show draft horses to maintain their animals at Operating Creek Ranch through the Nationwide Western. The ranch, with its rolling grasslands, hills, and cottonwood timber along a meandering creek, is simply 50 miles southeast of Denver.

“I feel last yr we had 30 groups staying and other people from all over: Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma. It provides them a spot where they will put their horses up. The horses sort of get acclimated to the altitude,” Freund stated. “I feel greater than something individuals just love to return out and get some Colorado sunshine.”

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Publish

Joey Freund stands at his household ranch, referred to as Operating Creek Ranch, on Jan. 7, 2019 in Elizabeth. The Freund household are longtime members in the National Western Stock Show

Displaying off the draft horses is among the Freund family’s passions. The nitty gritty of the Nationwide Western for them takes place within the sprawling stockyards on the complicated grounds. That’s the place the family’s “carload” of bulls — a total of 10 — will hang around for a number of days. At one level, the bulls will even be taken as a gaggle to an area to be reviewed by judges.

Because the bulls that have been headed to the Nationwide Western have been tended to within the barn, Freund’s son, Ethan, explained…



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