Colorado ranch family has made National Western Stock Show a tradition for nearly five decades

For nearly a half century, folks at Running Creek Ranch have geared up every year for one of agriculture’s major events: the National Western Stock Show.

This year is no different.

The ranch in Elizabeth was bustling Tuesday preparing “yearling” bulls, ones born last spring, to show at the National Western. The black bulls were ushered into a big red barn where they were washed and dried as part of the primping to ensure the animals look their best when judges and buyers check them out.

Stock Show Info

Click to see a full schedule and map for the 2019 National Western Stock Show and Rodeo.

Joey Freund, manager and co-owner of the ranch, and the rest of the crew planned to bring the bulls to the stock show complex in Denver on Friday, the day before the 113th annual National Western officially starts. The ranch, started by Freund’s father, Joe, in 1970, specializes in raising registered Limousin bulls.

“All the guys here look forward to going to it,” said Freund, whose 15-year-old son, Soren, will show a lamb at the National Western.

The Freunds will also bring their Belgian draft horses to compete in the Draft Horse Show and Pulling Contest on Jan. 25-27. Freund’s father helped revive the draft-horse competition in 1980. Instead of trucks or tractors, the ranch uses teams of two draft horses to haul the hay to feed their cattle.

“It’s more efficient. One guy can go out and feed the cows,” Freund said. “You don’t have to get out of the truck and take it out of gear. The horses all drive on voice command. They just walk along at a slow pace. You can look at the cows and you can see things a lot better. And it’s just enjoyable.”

For several years, Freund’s father has invited others who show draft horses to keep their animals at Running Creek Ranch during the National Western. The ranch, with its rolling grasslands, hills, and cottonwood trees along a meandering creek, is only 50 miles southeast of Denver.

“I think last year we had 30 teams staying and people from all over: Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma. It gives them a spot where they can put their horses up. The horses kind of get acclimated to the altitude,” Freund said. “I think more than anything people just love to come out and get some Colorado sunshine.”

RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostJoey Freund stands at his family ranch, called Running Creek Ranch, on Jan. 7, 2019 in Elizabeth. The Freund family are longtime participants in the National Western Stock Show

Showing off the draft horses is one of the Freund family’s passions. The nitty gritty of the National Western for them takes place in the sprawling stockyards on the complex grounds. That’s where the family’s “carload” of bulls — a total of 10 — will hang out for a few days. At one point, the bulls will also be taken as a group to an arena to be reviewed by judges.

As the bulls that were headed to the …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Business


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