A messy camp cabin, irrigation triangles, scattered brandings and CIDR duty keep this Wyoming family on the move
By Hannah Agar
Durbin Creek Ranch is a family-owned ranching operation that is located in Huntington, Oregon and Thermopolis, WY. The operation consists of an extensive commercial cow-calf program, a registered Hereford program and registered Quarter Horse program. Today, three generations of Agar’s work side-by-side on the ranch; Bruce and Mary, Wyatt and Joey, Jake and Hannah and their children and grandchildren.
In 1978 Bruce and Mary Agar moved from Deer Park, Washington to Huntington, Oregon when they purchased Durbin Creek Ranch with Bruce’s parents Roy and Shirley Agar and Bruce’s brother Matt and his wife Debbie Agar. As time went on Bruce’s parents retired and Matt and Debbie started Agar Livestock, a livestock trucking business that they still own today. For thirty years Bruce and Mary called Huntington, Oregon, home. They expanded their cattle and horse operations and raised a family there. They have four children; Shelly, Heidi, Wyatt and Jake.
Throughout their time on Durbin Creek the Agar’s leased other ranches in Oregon, spent winters on cornstalks in Washington, ran cattle in Nevada on the Winecup Ranch and began retaining ownership of their calves and going to California in the winters as well as building relationships with feedyards in Colorado. The family also purchased another ranch in Huntington known as the Farewell Bend property.
All of their experiences while living in Oregon led them to lease a winter out ranch located near Thermopolis, Wyoming, in 2008. They sold the home place on Durbin Creek a few years later and still own the Farewell Bend place in Oregon. Bruce and Mary and both of their sons and their families (Wyatt and Joey and Jake and Hannah) now live in Wyoming.
The Agar’s currently run both Red Angus and Black Angus commercial cattle in Wyoming and Oregon and the purebred Hereford cowherd in Wyoming. The commercial cattle are run outside year-round. The commercial calves are weaned and go to California for the winter and then back to Farewell Bend and Pinedale, WY for the spring and summer. They are then sold or retained and sent to feed yards in Colorado until slaughter. The purebred heifers are sent to California as well and run in a commercial setting. The bulls are weaned and go into the family’s feedlot for winters and are turned out on grass for the summers. The horses are run in both Oregon and Wyoming as well. The majority of the studs, mares and young horses are kept in Oregon and the horses then come to Wyoming when they are ready to be started.
The family had been selling Hereford bulls under private treaty sales for many years, but in 2013 they made the transition to doing a live bull sale for the first time. In 2014, replacement heifers were added to the sale and the following year the family along with Matt and Debbie started selling ranch horses in the live sale as well. Durbin Creek Ranch’s annual sale is held every February.
12-Day Journal of Hannah Agar
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Jake went into Thermopolis in the morning to pick up lumber for making irrigating triangles. We live about 40 minutes from Thermopolis headed toward Meeteetse. When he got back we gathered the stud colts. The vet came that afternoon to geld all of them. Jake’s dad, Bruce, had also come over to help and when we were finished Jake, Bruce and I spent the evening building the irrigating triangles.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Jake and I spent the morning helping Wyatt move bulls from the Haines meadow to the Barry meadow near our house. When we were finished we packed coolers and clothes to take to the Prospect cabin. The cabin is about 18 miles from our house but it takes about an hour and a half to get there on a bumpy two-track road. Jake filled all of the corral feeders and then we headed up that afternoon with our two kids and spent most of the evening cleaning up the cabin. It hadn’t been used since last fall and was a mess.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Jake rode through the Herrin, into Pat’s Draw and down to Cottonwood Creek in the Putney pasture, then back through the School Section and West Dugout looking for strays before we started branding and AI’ing. I took Tylee and Decker in the side-by-side and drove up to Bush Springs looking for strays. We didn’t find any cattle there. Next we went down to East Prospect and put out salt before going back to the cabin.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Jake and I took the kids in the side-by-side from the cabin down 21 Creek to the horse pasture to check on Wade (stud horse) and his mares. We found Wade lame with a very swollen hind leg. At that point we didn’t have a way to get him in, and we needed to meet my sister Makayla and her husband Brett at the Dillon corral to unload the squeeze chute at noon. The corral is about 15 miles from our house and three miles from the cabin. We met them there and Makayla and I brought the kids back home and did chores at the house. Jake and Brett worked on the corral repairs for the afternoon and then went and got Wade in.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Jake and Wyatt rode with Brett and Asa, a man that day works for us, to gather East Prospect into the Dillon corral. They stayed at the cabin that night. I took care of things around the house in morning and then took Wade to the vet in the afternoon. I was thankful to find out that he would only be sore for a while but not injured permanently.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
In the morning Jake, Wyatt, Brett and Asa implanted the group of cattle they had in the corral from the day before. There were 137 head of them. When they were finished they turned them out and then gathered the Smith pasture and implanted that group of cows as well. There were 154 in the second group.
I spent the day getting our camp trailer ready for Dad and Mom to stay in because they were coming that night. My dad manages our ranch in Oregon and he and Mom come back here to help us in the summer sometimes. My niece, Savanna who was visiting from Louisiana, and I also checked on the horses in the Tamale pasture.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Today we branded the calves on the second group of cows at the Dillon corral that had come from the Smith pasture the day before. On branding days everyone comes to help if it is possible. When we were finished branding we turned group two back out into the Smith pasture. After that we gathered the Dillon pasture that we had turned group one out in and moved them back to East Prospect where they were before we started implanting the cows.
Thursday June 23, 2016
In the morning Jake packed all the camp stuff at our house and put shoes on Bug, one of our younger mares. Then Jake, my dad Clint, and niece Savanna went to Kirby Creek, another ranch we lease on the other side of Thermopolis, to start gathering for branding and set up camp.
Mom and I took the kids to the Putney pasture to check the mares and colts. When we came home we loaded up to go to a barrel race in Worland. There is a weekly summer series there that we are able to make it to sometimes. Jake, Dad and Savanna met us in Worland for the evening and both my sister Makayla and I ran barrels. Jake, Dad and Savanna went back to Kirby Creek to stay the night so they would be there early to start branding in the morning.
Friday, June 24, 2016
The crew at Kirby Creek gathered first thing in the morning and started branding. Mom and I went over there in the morning but ended up having to leave early because both Tylee and Decker got sick. On our way back we stopped in town to grab some stuff for the kids and then came home and did chores. They branded 175 head that day. Jake and Dad stayed at Kirby Creek again that night.
Saturday June 25, 2016
The crew at Kirby Creek gathered the VH pasture and branded the second bunch of calves. There were 221 head. I stayed home with the kids. Decker was very sick from teething. Jake and Dad came home from Kirby Creek that night.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Jake took our daughter Tylee and went to help move the purebred cows from East Spring Gulch down to the house at Grass Creek where Bruce, Mary, Wyatt and Joey live. Tylee, along with all of the other kids on the place love to help ride!
Wyatt and Joey put CIDR’s in some of the purebred cows located at our farm just a few miles from Thermopolis. I was home most of the day with Decker but in the afternoon some friends of ours from Meeteetse came down to look at horses we had for sale so Dad and I showed them around.
Monday, June 27, 2016
Jake, Brett, Asa and Kaden, a boy from Worland that helped us brand at Kirby Creek, went up country to gather the cattle in East Prospect to the Dillon corral to pull CIDR’s. I rode Joe in the morning, he is a ranch gelding that Jake’s uncle Matt Agar raised that needed some more time put on him.
That afternoon I drove the side-by-side to West Prospect to meet Jake and drop off the food coolers with him to take to the cabin because him and the crew would be staying there the next few days. Bruce and my dad rode saddle horses to trail bulls up to the Ramul 21 pasture. They put our stud Wade back out with the mares on their way because he was able to travel fine at this point.
Hope you enjoyed my journal!