Local ranchers persevere through long winter to bring new life to the Sandhills
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By Scott Bidroski
Gordon Jones, along with his wife Jan, ranch in the center of Sheridan County, approximately 30 miles south of Gordon.
Embedded deep in the Sandhills, Jones and his family have owned the property since 1996.
The ranching lifestyle is nothing new to Gordon though, who grew up south of Broken Bow.
During his high school years, he was an active member of FFA and 4-H and has owned livestock for 60 plus years.
“I guess ranching is what I was made to do,” he says with a smile.
In 1983, Gordon and family moved near Ashby, Neb. to ranch with his two uncles, Robert and Blaine Runner. This move was his first taste of the Sandhills; and it stuck.
“Everyday that I’m out here, I’m thinking about my uncles and something they have taught me,” said Jones.
Jones states he is a fourth generation rancher with the next two generations taking shape.
His two daughters are both in cattle and Jones has four grandsons that are high school age. All are participating in FFA and 4-H just like their grandfather, with hopes they will fulfill that sixth generation of ranching in his family.
Fast forward to this past winter and impending spring, Gordon gives his thoughts on the annual task of calving.
“My favorite part of calving is when you open the gate and the cattle go out to green grass,” said Jones.
“You feel like you’ve been tied to your cattle since you began feeding them the year previous. Once they hit that green grass, you realize your work is done for the winter,” he added.
With the good always comes the bad though. And calving is one of the toughest jobs an individual can tackle.
“The hardest part of calving is when you have little ones coming thick and you get a bad storm,” said Jones.
“You prepare, try to get them into shelter the best you can, bed them down, and leave the rest to God,” he added.
The Jones’ family faith is one of key components to their everyday life on the ranch.
Gordon notes that through Him, he has been able to accomplish some amazing things.
“My faith is what has gotten me though this, the good times and the bad,” said Jones.
“He’s been our strength and you can trust and count on him for what lies ahead. Faith is very important to myself and my family,” he added.