PHOTOS: The ballad of a cattle drive | PostIndependent.com
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PHOTOS: The ballad of a cattle drive

David Gonzalez waits for cows to make their way up the hill towards the open gate while moving cattle north of Rifle with Brackett Pollard on the morning of Memorial Day.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Every year, sometime in late spring, local rancher and Rifle Bank of Colorado Branch Manager Brackett Pollard picks a day to move a herd of cattle from a Bureau of Land Management allotment near Rifle Arch to the Rifle Falls Ranch owned by Craig Wilcox. This year, that happened in the chilly, early morning hours of Memorial Day.

“In the summer months I personally like to gather and trail cattle early in the morning basically at daylight,” Pollard said. “This helps because the cattle have routinely been avoiding the heat anyway so moving them early is just my way of working with the natural routines of the cattle. This is something that ranchers have done for hundreds of years.”

Young cowboys David Gonzalez and Caidin Wilcox ride their horses back to the gate after helping round up cattle early Memorial Day morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Local rancher and Rifle Bank of Colorado branch manager Brackett Pollard rounds up cattle while moving them from one pasture to another near Rifle Gap.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Cattle naturally follow a migration pattern similar to deer and elk. They spend the winter months at lower elevations and migrate as vegetation growth allows.



Pollard’s cattle typically spend spring and early summer at lower elevations in the Rifle/Silt area before moving them to the Meadow Creek U.S. Forest Service allotment, which is around the Meadow Lake area.

“Typically federal grazing allotments, BLM or USFS, which are a huge part of ranching in the west have set dates or animal unit months that dictate when we turn out and gather,” Pollard said. “This time of year in our area a good number of locally owned cattle are turned out on federal grazing allotments.”



Local rancher and Rifle Bank of Colorado branch manager Brackett Pollard rounds up cattle while moving them from one pasture to another near Rifle Gap.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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David Gonzalez opens the gate to allow cattle through while moving cattle with Bracket Pollard early Memorial Day morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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David Gonzalez, Caidin Wilcox and D. Stoltzfus follow behind the group of cattle while moving them down a hill into an open pasture on an early morning cattle drive north of Rifle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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D. Stoltzfus from Meeker helps Brackett Pollard round up and move cattle north of Rifle on the morning of Memorial Day.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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D. Stoltzfus from Meeker helps Brackett Pollard round up and move cattle north of Rifle on the morning of Memorial Day.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Local rancher and Rifle Bank of Colorado branch manager Brackett Pollard rounds up cattle while moving them from one pasture to another near Rifle Gap.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Caidin Wilcox waits to cattle to make their way to a gate while helping Brackett Pollard move cows from one pasture to another north of Rifle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com


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