Photo Essay: A cattle drive to remember |

Photo Essay: A cattle drive to remember

Hearkening back to days of the past, the Alkali Cattle Co. drove a herd of cattle through Rifle last week as it moved 74 cows and calves from De Beque to Alkali Creek near New Castle. 

“This is the first time we’ve tried this. Normally we truck them up, but we thought, ‘You know, we should have a cattle drive — what the heck,’” Alkali Cattle Co. co-owner Dan McQueen said.

April Ramthun brings the horses back to the camp as they prepare to start the drive last Thursday after spending the night along Highway 6 west of Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)

With a core group of a half dozen, Duke and Maria Ramthun, their three children and Dan and Kelly McQueen began the drive began Friday, May 15, on the company’s winter range in De Beque. Averaging 6 miles a day, they followed Highway 6 through western Garfield County through Parachute and Rifle to the company’s summer range on BLM land on Alkali Creek in New Castle. 

After eight days the drive made it up Alkali Creek last Saturday, May 23. 

A herd of cow and calf pairs wait in a temporary pen setup for an overnight stay west of Rifle last Thursday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)

Duke Ramthun, Alkali Cattle co-owner, said everyone was happy to arrive and finish the long journey after sleeping on cots along the nearly 50 mile drive from De Beque to New Castle.

“They had a good time,” Duke Ramthun said

Kate Ramthun gives a few cows a little snack before starting the day, as the Alkali Cattle Company pushes their cattle toward New Castle for summer pasture. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
The group pauses for a moment to pray before setting out on day seven of the cattle drive from De Beque to New Castle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
April Ramthun and her sister Kate bridals up the horses as the un rises over west Rifle last Thursday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
With the cattle close behind, April Ramthun slowly walks her horse through the brush along Highway 6 west of Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
With the help of a 4-wheeler Dan McQueen scouts out the route through the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Highway 6 before the herd arrives. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
With some help from the Rifle Police Department the cattle drive makes their way across the Colorado River Bridge. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Duke Ramthun and Dan McQueen pick up a few wayward calves that wandered into the roundabouts with the cattle sculptures as they cattle drive made its way through south Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
The cattle slowly make their way east on Airport Road in South Rifle. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
Members of the staff from Grand River Health come out for a closer look as the herd travels in front of the hospital. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
The cattle drive pushes through south Rifle on Airport Road, a sight not seen since the early days of the old cattle town. The herd of cows and calves made it to New Castle last Saturday after eight days on the road. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)

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