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PHOTOS: The last month till showtime at the Garfield County Fair

Trey, Landyn and Loghan Teter work together in the barn to fill bins for the morning feeding on Tuesday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Post Independent photographer Chelsea Self will be producing an occasional multimedia series following the Teter family throughout the summer leading up to the Garfield County Fair as they prepare to show and sell their steers in the 4-H livestock sale.

With only 30 days until the check-in day at the Garfield County Fair, the Teter kids are busy getting their steers and heifers ready for the big weigh-in at the start of the 4-H livestock show on July 27.

Trey and Landyn Teter work together to prep feed bins for the morning feeding on Tuesday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Loghan, Landyn and Trey spend at least two hours every morning feeding and working with the calves. Each steer and heifer receives grain and supplements to fit their specific needs. They are given supplements to help with hair growth, probiotics for digestion, proteins and fat for weight and supplements to level out any calves with bad tempers.

Daily grain and supplements are adjusted to the specific weight and needs of each steer and heifer.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Landyn Teter fills bins with grain and supplements for the steers and heifers during the morning feeding.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The steers and heifers go through weekly weigh-ins which the Teters track and make any necessary adjustments to reach the desired weight and physical appearance for the fair. The Teters have spent years researching and talking with other producers to determine the best supplements and grains for feeding to achieve the desired results.

With the recent heat wave, the Teters have been forced to feed earlier and later to avoid the heat of the day. The heat also made them cancel a trip to Craig for a jackpot show because it would have been too much stress for the calves.

Trey Teter leaves the shed with a bin of food during the morning feeding routine.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Trey Teter pulls his steer into the chute for the weekly weigh-in on Tuesday morning after feeding.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Once morning feedings and grooming is done the calves spend the day staying cool in the insulated and air conditioned barn where they can relax and stay out of the heat.

The Teters weigh each steer and heifer once a week to track the weight changes and make any necessary feeding adjustments.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Loghan Teter pulls her steer into the chute for the weekly weigh-in Tuesday morning after feeding.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A steer looks through the chute while being weighed after feeding on Tuesday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com

PHOTOS: Wildland firefighters train for the 2021 season

Trainees line up before heading into the brush while learning to build fire lines in the "Intro to Wildland Firefighting Training" course.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Last week the Upper Arkansas Valley Wildland Fire Foundation returned to New Castle for the first time since 2014 to host roughly 175 emergency responders during a week-long Colorado Wildland Fire & Incident Management Academy. The academy offered 15 in-person courses and exercises related to all-hazard incident management, wildland fire, and leadership. The nationally-recognized academy is one of the largest wildland fire and incident management training events in the United States. Class sizes and numbers were reduced this year to meet local COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Trainees and instructors head into the brush with hand tools while learning to build a fire line in field training up Divide Creek south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Trainees and instructors use hand tools to dig out branches, rocks and debris while building a fireline.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The last time the academy was in New Castle was in 2014 for the 20- year anniversary of the South Canyon Fire which took the lives of 14 wildland firefighters on Storm King Mountain.

Trainees and instructors head into the brush with hand tools while learning to build a fire line in field training up Divide Creek south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Twice a year the academy hosts several hundred emergency management personnel from around the nation and from abroad. In addition to courses, the academy also provides opportunities for students to train in specific job functions related to emergency response and the Incident Command System.

Trainees and instructors use hand tools to dig out branches, rocks and debris while building a fireline.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
A wildland firefighting instructor watches on as crews build a fireline through the brush.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
An instructor digs into the ground with a handtool while working with trainees in the "Intro to Wildland Firefighting Training" course up Divide Creek south of Silt last Friday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com

PHOTOS: Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 graduation

The graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 begin to fill the stands during Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 sit and listen to speeches during Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Decorated caps sit on the heads of Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 graduates during Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 graduate smiles to friends during Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 graduates stand for a group photo before the start of the commencement ceremony on Saturday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 look for friends and family during Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 graduate looks toward teachers while being recognized on Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Glenwood Springs High School Assistant Principal Pat Engle fist bumps a graduate as they make their way to the stage to receive their diploma during Saturday's ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Friends and family of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 fill the football field at Stubler Memorial Field on Saturday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 sit and listen to speeches during Saturday morning's commencement ceremony.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 cheer for classmates as they make their way down to the stage to receive their diplomas.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Graduates of the Glenwood Springs High School class of 2021 make their way down to the stage to receive their diplomas.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com

PHOTOS: Glenwood and Rifle pounded their way into the 3A spring football semifinals with big wins last weekend

The Glenwood Springs Demons football team makes its grand entry onto Stubler Memorial Field May 1 to face the Northfield Nighthawks in the opening round of the 3A state playoffs. Glenwood won, 56-13
John Stroud/Post Independent
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The Glenwood Demons honor the National Anthem before the start of the game.
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The Demons cheerleaders do push-ups after a Glenwood touchdown against Northfield.
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Demons fans cheer in the stands.
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From left, Demons seniors Tyler Thomas and Elo Garcia and junior William Marshall celebrate the win.
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Rifle senior Bryce Rowley is hoisted up in triumph following May 1’s 3A playoff win over The Academy.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
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Rifle football celebrates their May 1 win over The Academy.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
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Rifle football players line up prior to the singing of the national anthem during their May 1 game against The Academy.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
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Addy Mackley, 11, snaps photos during a Rifle football game against The Academy on May 1.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
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Fans cheer on Rifle during a home playoff game against The Academy on May 1.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
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PHOTOS: For 4-H youth, Garfield County Fair preparation starts a year out

Trey Teter walks his steer Cap out of the holding pin to be washed and groomed. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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Post Independent photographer Chelsea Self will be producing an occasional multimedia series following the Teter family throughout the summer leading up to the Garfield County Fair as they prepare to show and sell their steers in the 4H livestock sale.

The busy 4-H lifestyle is one the Teter family knows by heart — and lives every day, all year long. Three of the four Teter kids —; Loghan, Landyn and Trey — are actively involved in the 4H community and have done so since they were old enough.

Trey Teter brushes his steer Cap in the grooming chute at their ranch in Rifle. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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Landyn Teter walks her steer Toby through the grooming chute at their ranch in Rifle. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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Though the Teter kids have shown everything from rabbits to horses and pigs and goats, this year they’re focusing on steers. The main event this year will be the Garfield County Fair in August where each one will show and sell calves in either the market, producer or ranch categories.

The prep work for the fair starts over a year in advance when choice calves are picked out from the herd.

Trey Teter blow dries his steer Cap after washing and brushing him. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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Landyn Teter's steer Toby. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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“Before we even see them we look at how they are bred, and who they are bred to,” 18-year-old Loghan said. “We look at their balance; are they equally proportioned… do they walk how they should or are the bowlegged.”

The work with the calves starts from day one. From there until the steers are old enough for the fair the kids are busy supplementing, washing and bonding with their animals.

Trey Teter brushes out any dirt from his steer's fur while grooming him at their ranch in Rifle. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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The Teter kids will spend this summer all over the Western Slope, Utah and Wyoming taking their steers to jackpots. Jackpots are for 4-H and FFA members who are preparing their animals for county or state fair and are looking to gain more experience in preparing, fitting and showing a steer, goat, lamb or hog. These shows also give the kids a chance to see where their animals can place while up against other competitors.

Trey and Landyn Teter practice walking and presenting their steers around a pin at their home in Rifle. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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Trey Teter holds his steer's head up high while practicing presenting for the show ring at their home in Rifle. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com

PHOTOS: Spring is in the air

A pair of cyclists ride the Rio Grande Trail between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self /Post Independent
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A paddle boarder rides the wave at the Glenwood Whitewater Park on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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People fish and hang out on the rocks near the shore of the Roaring Fork River near Veltus Park on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A group of Glenwood Springs High School students play spike ball outside of the school during the lunch hour on Monday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A fisherwoman snags a fish while fishing the swim beach at Two Rivers Park on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A golfer enjoys the mild morning temps at the Glenwood Springs Golf Course on Monday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A bike rider rides the Rio Grande Trail just south of Glenwood on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A bike rider takes the bike path behind Glenwood Springs High School on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com

Spring sports kickoff in Garfield County

The Glenwood Springs Demon football team take the field during Friday night's season opening game against the Aspen Skiers. The Glenwood Demons defeated the Aspen Skiers 41-14.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Glenwood Springs Demon Blake Nieslanik gets through the defending Aspen Skiers during Friday night's season opening game at Glenwood Springs High School.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The referee signals a touchdown for the Glenwood Springs Demons during Friday night's season opening game at Glenwood Springs High School.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Glenwood Springs Demon Evan Heyl looks for an open receiver during Friday night's season opener game against the Aspen Skiers.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Rifle starting quarterback Gavin Peterson awaits the snap during a game against Coal Ridge on Friday. Ray K. Erku

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Rifle’s Kaden Wolf evades a Coal Ridge defender Friday. The Rifle Bears defeated the Coal Ridge Titans 49-0. Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

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Rifle’s Katelyn Mentink plays the ball during a home game against Roaring Fork on Saturday. Roaring Fork defeated Rifle 3-1. Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

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Roaring Fork’s Lily Nieslanik sets up for a serve against Rifle on Saturday. Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

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Rifle volleyball huddles up during a home game against Roaring Fork on Saturday. Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

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Rifle’s Emmanuel Marin plays the ball against Eagle Valley on Saturday. The Eagle Valley Devils defeated the Rifle Bears 3-1/ Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

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Rifle’s Isaac Tigert goes for the ball against an Eagle Valley defender Saturday. Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

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Roaring Fork High School Ram Ross Barlow dribbles the ball past the defending Delta Panther during last Thursday's game. The Panthers defeated the Rams 3-0.
John Stroud/Post Independent
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‘It’s the biggest part of the year:’ Garfield County ranchers busy with calving season

Pollard Livestock ranch manager Ryan Mitchell lets a calf go after tagging and medicating them.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The brown mother cow bellowed protectively underneath the half bluebird skies at Valley Farms near Silt, digging a single hoof into the turf in an intimidating display of defense. A wet, vulnerable newborn calf stood awkwardly at her side.

“Best not to test her,” Brackett Pollard said.

A mama cow watches over her calf during a mild afternoon on the ranch south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Her aggressive taunts came moments after rancher Pollard, 37, of Pollard Livestock slowly rumbled in his truck across the pasture — straw-like fields dotted with hundreds of more mother-son tandems munching hay before bristly mountains out in the distance.

Once he found these two, he turned the music down in the full-sized cab furnished with two child-safety seats in the back. Mama cow never took her eyes off Pollard’s truck.

“She’s probably not a bluffer,” Pollard joked. “It’s just the natural protective tendencies of the mother. A lot of times it’s more just a warning.”

Pollard Livestock Ranch manager Ryan Mitchell works to wrangle a calf to be tagged and medicated.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Pollard Livestock Ranch manager Ryan Mitchell secures a calf to be tagged and medicated.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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It’s March, which means ranches across Garfield County are currently inundated by a critical component of the cattle industry: calving season. The seasonal birthing process helps maintain Colorado’s $3.4 billion cattle industry.

Colorado’s 2.85 million cattle makes up almost 3% of the entire U.S. headcount, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But beyond its economic makeup, calving season is a longstanding tradition of the Colorado River Valley, a heritage that also boosts the best professional bull riders in the world in Rifle High School graduate Colten Fritzlan.

Pollard Livestock ranch manager Ryan Mitchell writes up a new tag for a calf with the corresponding tag number as the calf's mother.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Pollard Livestock ranch manager Ryan Mitchell prepares vaccines for calf to prevent against the contagious bovine viral diarrhea or parainfluenza.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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In fact Pollard, a multigenerational rancher whose mother’s side of the family homesteaded near Steamboat Springs, said all his heroes growing up were just old cowmen.

“The guy who helped me get started in the business was an old World War II veteran who had shrapnel in him, but he’s just a cool 90-year-old, old guy,” He said. “And I just loved to go hang out with him and learn stuff from him.”

“I thought it’d be cool to be a cool old guy some time,” he added.

Pollard Livestock ranch manager Ryan Mitchell dumps hay from the trailer during the early morning feeding routine.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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The culture is also shared by non-rancher types. Pollard said he’ll invite friends to come branding later in the year, or he’ll have local football players “come do grunt work” when they’re out grazing on national forest land.

Earlier that Wednesday, ranch manager Ryan Mitchell, 39, awoke to his morning coffee some time before the crack of dawn, 5 a.m. — the usual routine, he said. The morning perk is also accompanied by reminders of the day before.

“I wake up sore every morning, but once you get going and moving, you come out of that, ya know?” Mitchell said. “I don’t feel like I work a day in my life. I definitely love what I do.”

Pollard Livestock ranch manager Ryan Mitchell dumps hay from the trailer during the early morning feeding routine.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Then it’s time to start loading hay to feed the cows, Mitchell said. The southern Indiana native who’s ranched the past 10 years, then mounts up on his horse and takes a trip around the ranch to ensure the mothers aren’t having problems producing offspring.

He’s typically responsible for rearing an average 15 to 20 calves a day.

“This is about the biggest time we’re riding,” Mitchell said. “The cows like to get to where the ATVs can’t get to.”

A new calf wonders around during a mild spring morning in the pasture.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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From there, he’ll start tagging, an otherwise grueling process that usually involves physically wrangling a calf out in the pasture and piercing its ear using an applicator plier equipped with a razor-sharp spire. A number is applied to the tag to help account for each head.

Once tagging’s finished, Mitchell said it’s time for shots. Such vaccinations defend against disease — contagions like bovine viral diarrhea or parainfluenza.

If any of the newborns — calves eventually raised into 700 to 900 pounds hunks before going to market — die, the loss could jeopardize the entire operation.

A new calf nibbles on a long piece of hay.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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“They say the most stressful thing on a calf’s immune system is the day it’s born,” Pollard said. “There are so many biological factors that are basically trying to kill it.”

A Colorado State University Extension official said the chances of a calf surviving its early days is about 97%. The amount of colostrum through a mother’s milk helps bolster a calf’s immunity, in particular.

In addition to overall health, hay is perhaps the number driver in profitability. The most current USDA-provided Colorado Director Hay Report market prices show $191 per ton of hay.

“The bottom line of profitability of a rancher is dependent on the total number of pounds you can raise on a given resource base,” CSU Regional Director and Interim Director of Field Operations CJ Mucklow.” Having heavier calves on a fixed base — the more that he can do that, the more profitable it is.”

Pollard Livestock ranch manager Ryan Mitchell finishes up feeding in the large pasture just south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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At the Pollard Ranch, you’ve got cows eating anywhere between 25 to 30 pounds of hay per day.

“Yeah, hay’s expensive,” Pollard said. “It’s kind of cyclical based on the weather patterns, and last year being as dry as it was…. hay’s very seasonal in its prices. You might have $80 a ton one year and like $250 a ton the next year.”

If all goes according to plan, however, the calves will grow to a decent size and get shipped off to feedlots in November, Pollard said. Other lighter heifers might also be turned to grass on Silt Mesa before being sold.

Colorado cattle prices show anywhere from $123 to $132 for heifers between 700-800 pounds. Steers, meanwhile, go for anywhere from $135 to $167 in the same weight range.

But after all the hard work, the ever-fluctuating figures and variables affecting a rancher’s bottom line, there’s the meal at day’s end.

“It’s real good, man,” Pollard said. “The one other thing about ranching that’s definitely a plus — you get to eat good and you’re tired at the end of the day. There ain’t a whole lot of laying in bed, trying to get yourself to go to sleep.”

“You’re pretty much dog tired,” he added. “And that’s a great thing.”

rerku@postindependent.com

Photo Essay: West Slope wintering

Blue skies beam over the Snowmass Monastery in January. The monastery was originally built in 1956 by members of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance.
Peter Baumann / Post Independent
Skiers take a moment to enjoy the scenery atop Sunlight Mountain Resort on Sunday. It was the second day of Sunlight’s annual Ski Spree and Taste of Sunlight.
Peter Baumann / Post Independent
Kiva the cattledog prances through the snow on a cloudy but mild day while hiking near New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Snow covers a field and the surrounding mountains on a cloudy but mild day near New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
A returning chairlift and the sun trying to peek out on a powder day at Sunlight.
Jessica Peterson / Post Independent
A snowboarder edges out a turn on Sunlight Mountain.
Jessica Peterson / Post Independent
The terrain was steep and the powder moderately deep the morning of Feb. 5 atop Walsh’s run at Aspen Mountain, still referred to by locals as Ajax.
John Stroud / Post Independent
A couple of horses enjoy a Monday afternoon near Silt.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
With part of Rifle Gap Reservoir still covered in ice, anglers fish the open waters on the east part of the reservoir Monday afternoon.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

 

PHOTOS: Light the Night with Love

A Bonedale Flash Mob dancer covered in mult-colored lights dances for the crowd at Saturday night's Light the Night with Love event in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Light the Night with Love in Carbondale featured a variety of sights and performances focused around sharing love on Valentines weekend. Different artistic elements with light features entertained walkers as the made their way down the Rio Grande Trail on both Saturday and Sunday nights.

The sold-out event raised at least $1,500 for the American Heart Association and an estimated 600 people attended over the two days.

“It was amazing to see the community come out in the elements safely and respectfully,” said Carbondale Arts Operations and Development Manager Kellyn Wardell. “Our colleague Staci Dickerson who walked the event with her friends shared, ‘The whole thing made me feel loving and grateful and filled me with the sense that there are bright, heart lights at the end of this long tunnel we’ve been in for the past year.’”

A Bonedale Flash Mob dancer covered in mult-colored lights dances for the crowd at Saturday night's Light the Night with Love event in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Artist Jill Schaer lights a candle to be placed in an ice globe lantern at Saturday night's Light the Night with Love event in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A flaming heart glows as the sun begins to set for an evening of Light the Night with Love in Carbondale on Saturday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A man helps to light up a flaming love sign as part of the Light the Night with Love interactive event in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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A Dance Initiative dancer performs for a small crowd at the Light the Night with Love event in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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