Spring is Chad Holliday’s favorite time of year.
For baseball fans, it’s spring training. For high school or college students, it’s spring break. For Chad Holliday, a third-generation rancher, it’s calving season.
Chad is the eldest son of Ron Holliday, the patriarch of Windy Point Cattle Company, who died in October.
Chad said his father taught he and his sisters Mandy and Tonna how to run the day-to-day operations of the ranch.
Tonna said the three of them work well together, and while losing their father was — and still is — hard, they’re carrying on running the family ranch just as he would have expected them to do.
“When the patriarch of a family passes away, you have to know how to do every job on the ranch,” Tonna said. “Cattle ranchers know that’s how it is.”
While everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in on whatever needs to be done on the ranch, the calving and other day-to-day operations at the ranch are primarily divided up between Chad and Tonna. Mandy takes care of the paperwork and administrative end of the operations.
During calving season, a critical time on a ranch, problems need to be addressed efficiently and quickly. Chad said ravens were swooping down and trying to peck the eyes out of the calves, but luckily, a trapper from the Forest Service is handling that problem. But then he had to fix a broken-down four-wheeler.
“You just learn how to fix things and get things done,” Chad said.
Chad said it really does not feel like work.
“It’s freedom,” he said.
He said when he was growing up he was never in the house like many kids are today.
He said when he was 7 years old, he fibbed to his mother that he was sick to go hunt game, but ended up getting caught.
“She was so mad,” Chad said.
Chad said the childhood memory underscores the value of growing up with so much wide-open space, untethered by technology and social media.
Chad said that most ranchers, when asked to silence their cellphones, will often pull out a flip phone like the one he proudly owns.
Tonna said, while the family is carrying on in spite of her father’s passing, there is still a void.
Tonna said that every morning, before the workday began, Holliday huddled the family together around the kitchen table for coffee.
“I thank the good Lord everyday that we had those days together,” Tonna said.
She said, up until the day he died, he was passing on his knowledge to the next generation.
Chad said, as an expecting father, it will be important for him to pass along the same traditions to his son or daughter.
“The next generation is the future of our family,” Chad said.
Tonna said moving forward and thinking about ensuring the family tradition reminds her of something her grandfather Clyde Holliday used to say, “The best horse in the barn has a name, and his name is Try.”