Friday, December 09, 2016
A rancher’s hours: Hard work on the range; then there are those mountain lions
Kelly Glenn Kimbro is early to bed and early to rise — nine or ten o’clock at night and often two or three o’clock in the morning. Ranchers’ hours, she explains. You will probably never meet another woman like Kimbro, a fifth-generation rancher in southeastern Arizona. She spends her days with her family and works their two ranches, hunts mountain lions, and works in the community. “When I was a little girl I just knew I was going to be a rancher, and a hunter,” she said. “I love this way of life, and I love everything about it. I love the hard work, sunrises, and sunsets.” Her family homesteaded the ranch near what is now Douglas, Arizona, in 1896, and have stayed ever since. They even acquired another ranch 50 miles away on the Arizona-Mexico border. One of the aspects that she loves is the time she gets to spend with her family. “I am blessed that I have spent my whole life working with my parents and we always got along,” she said. Kimbro would be out riding with her grandparents and parents, and now, she spends time with her father Warner Glenn and her daughter Mackenzie Kimbro.
She is able to carry on the ranching tradition by bringing in extra money as a mountain lion hunter — among other things. Working with her father and grandfather growing up, she helped to manage the problem of mountain lions preying on livestock, not for sport but for practical ranching management. The day after Thanksgiving, she said she was called by the state game department to New Mexico to help track and kill a mountain lion that was killing cattle. She then had to be back the next day for separating cattle for market. “Hunting a lion is a huge challenge,” she said, “Every day is a new day. You’re covering hundreds of square miles of country within the year.”Another job she has to support her ranching lifestyle is being “The Ruger Girl” for Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.. Western photographer Jay Dusard approached her in 1988 when the company wanted to experiment with having a hard-working woman who carries a gun in its ads. Kimbro said she “broke the ice” for being the first woman to represent a gun company in advertisements, as most other companies had held back, “unless it was a woman in a bikini with a machine gun,” she said.
The other challenge comes with their border ranch. “We have been on the front lines of all of the politics involving immigration and illegal entry,” said Kimbro. Her family ranch uses barrier guards, which keep the cattle from going into Mexico, but they still bear the brunt of the initial entry of people crossing the border from Mexico into the United States on her ranch land. She said this also includes, “wear and tear on your land, a lot of garbage, trash, and then you find someone who passed away because of the elements.”