Ranch tour proceeds after early downpour

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Ranchers and cowboys placed their cows close to the fencelines Saturday for the annual Osage County Cattlemen’s Association ranch tour, which took place following hard pre-dawn rains in Osage County. The tour went ahead on schedule, though the caravan mostly stayed on the roads because of the anticipated sogginess of the pastures. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

The Osage County Cattlemen’s Association ranch tour began shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday with 50 vehicles participating. That number grew slightly as the tour progressed. Most of the vehicles were pickup trucks that were better suited to handle the wet gravel roads across which the caravan frequently passed.

Rancher Ron Reed, who rode at the rear of the caravan and kept an eye out for stragglers and anyone potentially losing their way, explained the tour was proceeding along a route adjusted for the weather. In most instances, ranchers brought their cows up close to the fencelines along the roads for viewing purposes, rather than inviting the caravan onto the soft, potentially muddy ground of their pastures. In only one instance, at the Dick Drummond Ranch about seven and a half miles east of Hominy, did the caravan actually negotiate a pasture in the process of viewing cattle.

Reed noted there had been about an inch and a half of pre-dawn rain at Foraker in about an hour’s time. Similarly hard rains fell across much of the county as storm cells pushed east.

The 2019 ranch tour concentrated on the southeast portion of Osage County. The leadoff ranch for the tour was the Fields Ranch on the outskirts of Wynona. Rancher and former state senator Eddie Fields credited his wife and daughters with providing essential help with the cattle. Their assistance was essential if anything was to be accomplished, he said.

Other ranches on the tour this year included Savage Ranch, for which Wayne Usry and Scot Holcombe provided informationn; Dick Drummond Ranch, for which Sandra Drummond was the host; Drummond Ranch LLC, for which Gentner Drummond was the host; Chili Pepper Cattle Company, for which Jason Howell was the host; and Windmill Ranch, near Pershing, for which Bill Davis was the host. Davis and Windmill Ranch hosted the tour barbecue lunch, which was sponsored by Oklahoma Ag Credit.

Bill Davis, who bought the Windmill Ranch about 11 years ago, noted his ranch has 22 ponds and some 15 water wells, most of which were drilled in the 2011-12 time period. He also shared a humorous bit of clarification he got about the cattle industry from Frederick Drummond.

“Frederick, how do you make any money in the cattle business?” Davis recalled asking Drummond.

“You don’t,” he said Drummond told him, explaining you were supposed to make your money before you bought a ranch. Davis’ gift for relating a witty observation was again on display when he commented to his lunch guests that the early morning rains had “helped settle the mud.”