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Flying J Ranch: Glenn and Selina Materi run family’s cow/calf operation outside of Upton

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Glenn Materi and his wife Selina live on the ranch Glenn’s grandfather settled in the early 1900s. 

“My grandfather’s parents were from Odessa, Russia, and they settled in Hanover, Kan. when they came to America,” Glenn says.

Glenn’s grandfather later relocated to Wyoming, nine miles south of Upton, where he raised cattle, sheep and pigs. Glenn’s father was born on the ranch in 1926 and spent the rest of his life there. 

“I grew up on the ranch as well, but when I graduated from high school, I was thinking I would do something else,” Glenn shares. “I went to Laramie for college for a few years but then my dad passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. So, I decided to come back to take care of the ranch and help my mother.” 

Raising Angus cattle

Although the Materi’s Flying J Ranch still raised sheep and pigs while Glenn was a boy, his father eventually sold them off and solely raised cattle. 

“My dad had a cow/calf operation, and then he started buying calves and raising yearlings,” Glenn notes.

Today, the ranch is home to nearly 100 pairs of Black and Red Angus cows and has some of the best summer range. 

“The ranch is composed of deeded land and U.S. Forest Service grazing,” he says. “It has good grass and it cures well with a lot of nutrient quality, while putting good weight on our cattle.”

“Our summer pasture is about 1,500 acres and is not high elevation – only about 4,500 feet – and 700 acres of it is government land,” he adds.

Glenn shares he now calves his cows in May, after previously calving them in late February. 

“We slowly moved calving later, a few weeks at a time, to get into better weather,” he says.

Glenn further notes he chose the Black Angus breed, because traditionally, black cattle have been easier to market, and for the most part, he has seen continued success in marketing his calves over the years. 

“I have a neighbor who has been buying most of my calves for the last 10 years or more,” Glenn shares. “And, if it doesn’t work out or there are some he doesn’t buy, I take them to the livestock barns at Belle Fourche or St. Onge in South Dakota. I generally sell my calves to our neighbor though because he always feeds a few extra cattle.”

Retiring early

Ranching is no easy feat, and as Glenn and Selina grow older, they have started planning an early retirement for several different reasons. 

First, Glenn notes winters in northeast Wyoming can get pretty challenging, with a large accumulation of snow, requiring the couple to feed quite a bit of hay during winter months. 

“We put up our own hay for many years, but this past summer I finally went with a custom hay business ran by my cousin,” shares Glenn. “He will probably keep doing our haying in the future. It makes it easier for us and our equipment.” 

Glenn points out their haying equipment has gotten older and started to break down, and because he isn’t planning on staying in the ranching business much longer, it hasn’t been worth it to buy new machinery or invest in getting his fixed. 

Additionally, Glenn and Selina run the ranch themselves without any hired help, and the two have no one interested in taking it over. 

“It’s just me, though my wife helps me out. She didn’t grow up on a ranch, however,” he says. “We also have grandkids now to take care of. Our grandkids are a lot of fun, and we really enjoy them.” 

Although the Materis have a second and third generation, Glenn notes none of his step-children are interested in taking over the ranch, so he and Selina are looking at selling the place sometime in the near future and retiring early to spend time with their family. 

“I think the future of ranching in our area looks pretty good, but a person has to be very dedicated to do it,” Glenn says.

Heather Smith Thomas is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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