Two longtime Routt County families were honored Sunday for their part in keeping the Yampa Valley's ranching tradition alive.
The Daughenbaugh and Redmond families each were presented with a 2009 Heritage Family Award before the Mountain Valley Bank Ranch Rodeo at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.
"It's a real nice recognition," Wanda Redmond said. "It makes some of those hard days in the backwoods worthwhile."
Redmond's grandfather, George Gumprecht, first visited South Routt County in the late 1800s, and the family has owned property there for more than 100 years. Jack Redmond's grandfather purchased grazing land west of Yampa in 1914. The couple lives on the Redmond Home Ranch, which is one of three ranches in Routt County listed on the Colorado State Register of Historical Places. Jack Redmond lives in the house he was born in.
The Redmonds said they love their animals and their way of life.
"You're your own boss," Jack Redmond said. "You don't have to go to the big wheel to get the day off."
Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, said Heritage Family Award recipients are chosen by the Ranch Rodeo Committee. In addition to bringing a free rodeo back to Steamboat, Daughenbaugh said, "We wanted to make sure we recognized people who have been crucial in keeping ranching in this valley."
To be considered, families have to have been in the Yampa Valley for a long time and chosen to stay here to be actively involved in agriculture. The fact that her family was being chosen was successfully kept a secret from Daughenbaugh until its announcement.
"It's an honor. It really is," said John "Doc" Daughenbaugh, who said he and his wife have stayed in ranching because of their love for the land and the work. "Certainly more that than money. And mostly, it's a great way to raise a family. The reason we continue it is because that's how we wanted our children raised, and that's how we want our grandkids raised. It's the most fulfilling kind of life there is, and that's what keeps us in it."
The Daughenbaughs' ranch is about eight miles from Steamboat on Routt County Road 44. At least part of the land has been in Marsha Daughenbaugh's family since 1946, when her father, Raymond Gray, bought it. She represents the third of five generations to live in Routt County.
Doc Daughenbaugh grew up on a dairy farm in Punxsutawney, Pa.
"I knew from the time I was about 5 or 6 years old, I was moving to Colorado when I was old enough," he said last week.
Now, Marsha and Doc live on the ranch with Gray; their daughter Adonna Allen and her husband, Troy; and the Allens' two children. Doc Daughenbaugh and Troy Allen manage the ranch.
The awards presentation was followed by the free Ranch Rodeo, which featured local ranchers and cattlemen riding, roping, branding and more.
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