A rancher’s hours: Hard work on the range; then there are those mountain lions

By MICHELLE FLOYD

Arizona Sonora News

Kelly Glenn Kimbro radios the rest of the team working the cattle round at the Glenn's J Bar A Ranch up on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2016. With everyone spread out throughout the ranch land, they communicate by walkie talkies to get all the cattle together. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)
Kelly Glenn Kimbro radios the rest of the team working the cattle roundup at the Glenn’s J Bar A Ranch. With everyone spread out throughout the ranch land, they communicate by walkie talkies. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)

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.”

Kelly Glenn Kimbro laughs with her daughter, Mackenzie Kimbro, on horseback, and her father, Warner Glenn, during the cattle round up on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2016. Kelly and her family work together when ranching, their family has been on the same land they are on since 1896. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)
Kelly Glenn Kimbro laughs with her daughter, Mackenzie Kimbro, on horseback, and her father, Warner Glenn, during the cattle roundup. Kelly and her family work together when ranching; their family has been on the same land they are on since 1896. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)

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.”

(Photo courtesy of Kelly Glenn Kimbro)
(Photo: Kelly Glenn Kimbro)
And as a “Ruger Girl”

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 first year with the company, the public truly embraced her. She has an approachable personality that encouraged men to bring their wives, mothers and children to different events to meet her. She also relates to many of her fans by her life full of hard work. “A lot of people that are my fans are farmers and ranchers and hard labor type of people who do hunting or shooting as a sport and a hobby,” she said. “I was someone they could relate to.”

These fans continue following her career. She’s now in her 28th year representing Ruger, in their advertisements and at gun shows.

The ranching life certainly does not come without its challenges. The Glenn ranches are under the control of the land, whether there is a drought, floods, or bad weather.

 

One of the cowboys helps direct cattle in the coral during the round up on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2016. To help move cattle, cowboys will slap their rope on their legs to make a noise that gets the cattle moving. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)
A cowboy wrangles cattle in the coral during the roundup. To help move cattle, cowboys will slap their rope on their legs to signal to move on. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)

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.”

Due to her family’s history in the hospitality business from hosting guests at their ranches from leading hunts, she has had politicians at her ranch such as Gabrielle Giffords, Martha McSally and Ted Cruz. Kelly believes it is important to show them what is going on at the border. “Somebody has to show them. When you walk out of the city limits of a little town, there’s a border, and a country, a wide-open country. And people are struggling to pass though there,” she said, referring to the people who are trying to cross the border.

The team of cowboys and cowgirls works together to direct the cattle into the coral during the round up at the Glenn's J Bar A Ranch on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2016. They have to work together to get the hundred plus heads of cattle to all go in the same direction. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)
A team of cowboys and cowgirls works together to direct the cattle into the coral during the roundup at the Glenn’s J Bar A Ranch. The trick is getting the hundred-plus cattle to all go in the same direction. (Photo by Michelle Floyd / Arizona Sonora News)

 

S he and her family have no intentions of leaving. “We stay here because we love it. We love the land, we love what it has provided us, we love what we can provide in return to the country, the wildlife, and the heritage of cattle ranching that we carry on,” she said.

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