Ranching Legacy: Lifelong Carbon County rancher values tradition and family
Bob and Sharon Heward operate Heward’s 25 Ranch – a cow/calf operation, primarily Hereford based – near Medicine Bow. The Heward family has been ranching in Carbon County for many generations and have passed down their traditional ways of ranching to each generation.
“Our family came here from England and homesteaded roughly 30 miles north of Medicine Bow where my nephew Todd Heward lives now,” Bob says. “My father John Heward bought the place I am currently on around 1949-50.”
Bob’s life has always revolved around ranching in Carbon County.
“Other than the few years I spent in the service and going to school for six months – I’ve been on this ranch all my life,” he says.
Bob says tasks on the ranch include maintenance work, haying and caring for the cattle. He winters cattle at the ranch they live on and summers the cattle about 20 miles north.
Bob says they are one of four ranches in the area still putting hay up in “big loose stacks.”
“We hay approximately a half of a section,” he says. “And, we put up roughly 400 to 500 tons.”
Like many other ranchers, Bob has faced his fair share of hardships throughout the years. Many of these hardships revolve around drought and access to water.
“Water has always been a challenge for our livestock, and sometimes for our hay crop too,” Bob says. “Drought has always affected us quite a bit.”
He says ranching in Carbon County is unique compared to other areas of Wyoming due to higher elevations.
“Our elevation here is 6,500 feet where I live,” he says. “This creates a much different weather situation where it’s much colder with more snow most winters, and this creates a bit more of a challenge than being in an elevation of 5,000 feet or lower.”
“Producers in areas where elevation is lower can grow different crops we can’t grow here – they might get more moisture,” he says.
Bob says his way of ranching hasn’t changed much over the years. He sticks to the traditional ranching ways passed down to him from previous generations.
“Our ranch hasn’t changed hardly at all,” he says. “From the time I was a young boy working on the ranch, to what we do now, it’s pretty much the same.”
“The way we put up hay is still the same, and we basically run our cattle the same,” he continues.
Bob mentions his fencing practices have changed a bit.
“We make smaller pastures and we rotate between the pastures which we didn’t do when I was younger,” he says.
He says another notable change is they don’t trail the cows to summer pasture like they used to – they haul them in a trailer instead. This was due to issues with crossing neighbors’ land a few years ago.
“Using a trailer was something we started doing recently and that’s what we are continuing to do now,” he says. “We still trail them home in the fall.”
Bob is passionate in his work at the ranch and feels it is always what he has wanted to do.
“I don’t know why I enjoy ranching, but I just do. I really can’t tell you why,” he says. “I’ve ranched all my life, and I really don’t have any desire to do anything else.”
Bob hopes the ranch will continue to be passed down for generations to come.
“I want to be able to turn the ranch over to family members as they come up and are able to take it over,” he says. “That’s why my grandson Corey Hill is here now. He is working towards taking it over when I’m gone.”
Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.