’60 Minutes’ Story Shows The Importance of A Wyoming Cattle Drive
When you think Wyoming, you think the wild west and riding horses on the open plains while driving your cattle to their summer or winter grazing areas.
In most cases the long cattle drive is a thing of the past, but long running CBS News show '60 Minutes' has highlighted 11 Wyoming ranches that still drive 7,000 cattle for 13 days and travel 60-70 miles to U.S. Forest Service Land in Bridger-Teton National Forest. It's called the the Green River Drift and it's the longest cattle drive left in the US.
Things have changed in today's drives, the ranchers leave the cattle and go home every night. Then they're back up before dawn to head back to where they left off, collect up and strays and head on for another day of driving the cattle.
Last summer 60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker rode along with Wyoming rancher Albert Sommers to help with the drive that takes the cattle through the Green River Valley. He also talked with some of the other ranchers like Jeannie Lockwood who is a multi-generational rancher.
Many of the ranchers that are involved on the drive have continued on with the family business. Like Sommers, who's family has ran their ranch since 1903. According to the 60 Minute story, Lockwood's family ranch is about 20 miles away from Albert's ranch, but her family has been there even longer than his, she says her grandfather homesteaded the ranch in 1889.
In the story, Jeannie says that the ranching life is tight and that they're struggling by the end of the year. She goes on to tell Whitaker, that they're not in it for the money and they're rich because they
only rich in the fact that we get to do what we do and we live where we live...and we get to see the sun come up over those mountains.
The story also introduces us to other riders, ranchers and historians is a really tip of the hat to Wyoming.
Watching the full story was great to see that the 'Wyoming Way' is still being lived and many are still holding onto tradition. The videos below are a brief clips of the story, but you can watch and read the full story on the CBS News '60 Minutes' Website