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Crofts lives life on tradition and hard work

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Braxton Crofts, a third-generation rancher and son of Rob and Carla Crofts, grew up on the family ranch running commercial Black Angus cattle on a cow/calf operation along the northern Sweetwater River.

“Coming from a family of ranchers – the Armada Ranches – my family has been in the livestock industry since immigrating to the U.S.,” Braxton said. “We’re old school by most folks’ standards, doing all of our cow work horseback and running in common allotments with other permittees.”

Braxton recalls being around old cowboys on the river, and shares that they were his mentors and heroes while growing up.

He said, “Those men fit the definition of tough and stubborn with no quit, and they taught me how to cowboy as soon as I could sit in a saddle.”

 They taught him how to hold a herd, use a rope, wrestle calves, trail cows and how to work with neighbors to get the job done. 

“At a young age, I learned to pay attention when they were talking, and now most of those old cowboys aren’t with us anymore,” he added.

Ag runs deep

Braxton was an active FFA member throughout high school, serving terms as vice president and president of the Riverton FFA chapter. He competed in livestock judging, ag mechanics and sales, while also participating in career and leadership development event projects where he placed at the state convention. 

“Every year I had two or three steers for the county and state fair. I even showed goats one year. During my freshman year, we won the Greenhand Quiz Bowl and went to Louisville, Ky. for the National FFA Convention,” he stated. “During my senior year, I was the Wyoming Region One Star Farmer and Chapter Star Farmer.”

After graduating from Riverton High School in 2017, Braxton attended the University of Wyoming (UW) where he continued livestock judging and studied ag business.

“I changed my major from ag business to animal science after a semester and couldn’t have been happier,” he said. “I spent three years at UW but left in March of 2020 when UW shut down for COVID-19. I wasn’t going to pay full tuition for online classes, so I bought some more cows and moved back home.”

Currently, Braxton is working on the family ranch with the goal of continuing to grow his own herd of cows and eventually purchasing some land and equipment, but he noted that’s a few years down the road. 

He explained, “I’d rather have a solid set of cattle on leased pasture than a thrown together herd on my own ground.”

Braxton further noted his hobbies are a part of his day-to-day routine – training solid ranch horses, driving fast trucks and having good dogs at his side.

“My hobbies help me on the job, and they make my life easier,” he pointed out. “I enjoy getting out and seeing new country and taking some range tours just to see what other operations are doing. Everyone needs a vacation just to remember how good it feels when you get back home.”

Words of wisdom

“My advice for young producers is to set goals and hold yourself accountable. Figure out what it is you want to achieve in the next six months to a year and work towards that,” Braxtib remarked. “I’ve missed a few opportunities to expand and I regret not taking the chance, so consider the risks and rewards in whatever you do.” 

He continued, “You can’t be afraid to face a challenge, but you also can’t afford to be unprepared so plan for the worst and hope for the best. Ag isn’t a part of my life. It is my life.”

Braxton spends every day working towards one check at the end of the year, whether markets are low or high, they take the cattle to sale knowing how much they’ve put into their calf crop. 

He said, “That part of the business has changed my mindset to face the reality of what we do as producers. We try to be self-sustaining while our expenses keep changing. I don’t need to go out and gamble, I raise cattle for a living.” 

“The best part of my job is being able to trot a horse for 15 or 20 miles and never hit a fence. I’ve never had to second guess what I wanted to be when I grew up – I’m still trying to be a cowboy like my dad,” Braxton concluded.

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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