#RanchersRelief and the Atlas Blizzard Rancher Relief Fund.


We were on our way home from Rapid City and Wall last Sunday morning .. and had pulled off quick to put gas in the van and grab the kids a quick bite to eat.

We both heard someone say the Cowboy’s name, approaching us from behind.

It was an old friend from the rodeo circuit and the two spent a few minutes catching up. At some point though, in-between talking about families, jobs, roping and where each had been the past few years, the topic of the loss of livestock West River came up.

“To some extent, these ranchers had warning this was coming. I feel terrible about the loss of life but they had time to get them in. It shouldn’t have been this bad,” this gentleman said.

I was a bit taken back.

There are a lot of opinions being given right now about what could or could not have been done. Regardless of who or what may be at fault for so many deaths, if anyone, the fact exists there is still incredible, unbelievable loss. And that is where we are at. I can’t imagine anyone expected what was coming, especially this early in the year and especially because things never seem quite as bad as they’re forecast for.

Photo Courtesy of www.columbian.com

Photo Courtesy of http://www.columbian.

After working many years in television news, I’ve seen it, I’ve taken the calls from people upset that you’re breaking into their favorite television show (not saying this happened in this situation at all. Just saying, it happens) to tell them about a pending violent storm that often barely ever touches their town with even a few raindrops. For most, the hype that goes into approaching storms rarely ever matches how bad a storm ever is. People get numb to it.

But the forecasters do know, Mother Nature is unpredictable. And when the conditions are just right, sometimes those storms will be what is predicted. And they can only pray you pay attention.

I believe this was one of those storms. And no matter what could have been done before the storm, there is this incredible, devastating aftermath.

I don’t know that I’ll continue to write about this routinely. We don’t live West River. We’re not in the thick of it. I can’t as eloquently put into words what is happening as more storms hit the area, as ranchers wake each day and try to piece their herd, their lives and livelihoods back together. We however know some of these families and communities well. And we’d like to do whatever we can to support them.

Here are just a few other writers/blogs I have come across that seem to be great resources for anyone wanting to stay in touch, know what is happening and do what you can to help. Use the hashtag. Spread the word. Donate. Pray. And if you’re so inclined to read any of the following, grab a kleenex:


A Poem: The Storm Atlas 

Down, Set, Life

Curt Pate Stockmanship

It Takes A Ranch

“Pray for the Ranchers ..”

“Please pray for the ranchers West River,” a member of our congregation said this morning when the pastor asked if there were any concerns folks wanted to share.

“I spoke with my son-in-law earlier this morning,” he went on to say. “He said a lot of folks out there have no idea where their cattle are. They’re lost. Or they’re dead. The snow was just too much… it’s going to be pretty tough going for them. A lot of loss.”


The Cowboy looked at me and just shook his head. We’ve been in touch pretty much every day with family out there getting an update. They’ve been snowed in at a Hospice Facility with the Cowboy’s grandmother.

“I never even thought about the cows,” he said. “That’s terrible. They don’t usually get as much as snow as we do here. It’s way more wide open. A blizzard like this can get pretty tough on livestock.”

We were talking with that same gentleman after church .. he said it sounded terrible West River right now for many. Especially for those with livestock. His family had told him, from what they could tell in many places, the cattle simply pushed through any fencing trying to find their way somewhere through the storms. But, the snow was so deep many either got stuck, lost or from what some were seeing, the cattle had essentially flipped over and remained where they had fallen.

Please pray for the ranchers .. they were the first of many mentioned this morning, that could use thoughts and prayers. And I know that was just within our one small congregation. Wishing the world a night of peace, of understanding, of silver linings somehow through any tragedies or challenges and renewed hope for better days ahead .. for warmer days ahead to melt the insane amount of snow dumped on part of our state and for as many cows as possible, to find their way back home.