Ranch Grown Logic

Saddle Up

“The West –the very words go straight to that place of the heart where Americans feel the spirit of pride in their western heritage-the triumph of personal courage over any obstacle,whether nature or man.” John Wayne.

The term Ranch Grown Logic is hard to explain until you come face to face with the common sense of it all. Ranch Grown Logic is just that, the logic that I grew up with living on a ranch is western Montana. It is not rocket science, but a common sense approach to life, branding and marketing, that is best explained by saddling up.

Back at the ranch the ride today is shipping day, one of the best days of the year for ranchers, its pay day! There are also other great days to be championed on the ranch, like the last day of haying, or the day you turn the cows out to green grass, or come to think about it just about any other day you find yourself in the saddle and loving what you do.

We began this day in appreciation of  the value of this day, celebrating not only a rancher’s work year cycle culminating in pay day, but also celebrating a job well done for a year’s hard work and dedication to family, land, and livestock. The joys, sacrifices, and the passion that fuels a lifestyle become a reality on shipping day, a family affair; this day stops and starts the year.

The day began with words of instruction as my brother Joe headed out of the house, talking while walking on. “Be patient, wait till 8:30 then come to the corral.” Dressed to go to work we remained patient and had another cup of coffee.

The  “be patient” directive came in reference to timing but also bringing in the heard. Bring the heard in a quiet and orderly fashion; the words not said, but understood. The plan was methodic in the approach and strategic in application. We met at the corrals, our horse trailers in a row, cowboys and cowgirls made up of relatives and neighbors joining forces in a common goal to get the job done, our task to bring the calves in without a hitch.

Riding for the brand, we headed out on a cool brisk morning towards the cattle which were separated into different pastures of steers and heifers. That part of the preparation for shipping day had been done in advance so we could bring them into the corrals in bunches, the heifers would come first.

Horses are often “fresh” on mornings like this, cool, crisp, frosty, it takes a little time and miles to get them warmed up. In all honesty they can feel the anticipation as much as we do its horse sense. Your horse is your partner and no truer words have been said that “the best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse,” but no one ever said it was going to be easy.

About 30 feet inside the gate, where the heifers were pastured, was a swampy ditch to cross. Not a small one at that, it was about 3 feet wide and deep with swamp and rock on one side and swamp on the other. As I followed the other riders across the ditch my horse balked, after a little coaxing he jumped the ditch almost propelling me into next week if you know what I mean. Oh great I thought, I have a jumper and on a fresh morning like this a good jump sometimes lends itself to “let ‘er buck!” But luckily all went well and my focus went to splitting the heard, creating manageable numbers for sorts and trip to the scales.

The first cut went smooth and the cattle were moving out nicely, but now it was my turn to cross the ditch once more, and in rides trouble. My horse “G” short for Gentleman was going to have no part of it. I made the attempt and nothing. Looking at the crossing and assessing the distance, rocks and swamp, I determined in my mind that it was not looking pretty. The clock was ticking in my head; I did not want to be one to let the crew down. I made another attempt and nothing, and as fellow cowboys saw what was taking place my brother John took his horse over the ditch as to show my horse the way, but no luck-no way. Another place to cross I thought, I looked for options, whatever it takes (WIT), ride the ditch till you find a better crossing but this ditch provided no options, and time was moving forward, this was it!

There he was frozen in his tracks, reminding me a lot of business ventures and life when we sometimes get frozen in our own tracks. Afraid to take the step, looking for reasons why we can’t do something instead of reasons we can, and the route to make it happen.

I heard my brother on the other side say “Look at me, look up.” That was it, Ranch Grown Logic; I knew it when I heard it. Look at where you want to go, not down, not at the issues that threaten, that you think are deep, swampy or rocky. Focus on your vision. Begin at the end then make you plan and work that plan. I took a deep breath of confidence for me and my horse and I looked ahead.  I looked up at my brother on the hill. One small leap for my horse resulted in one giant step for my appreciation of Ranch Grown Logic! I smiled at the common sense of it all and I headed in with the heard.  With the leap of faith I froze that image in my mind.

“Sit tall in the saddle; hold your head up high.

Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky, and live like you ain’t afraid to die.

Don’t be scared, just enjoy the ride.” Chris LeDoux

Come along on the trail of stories that journey into the heart of the ride; marketing, branding, motivation, inspiration as told through stories built on a collection of experiences. Ropin’ and rooted in the spirit of the West, Ranch Grown Logic is a common sense approach to marketing utilizing authentic, motivational, passionate, branding insights and stories of the West.

doWIT: “Don’t be scared, just enjoy the ride.”  

  • Focus on your vision
  • Utilize methodic and strategic planning
  • Make your plan, work you plan
  • Do whatever it takes: WIT
  • When Ridin’ for the Brand, “Keep your eyes fixed where the trial meets the sky.”


Filed under Marketing


Road Warriors

This morning I was thinking about all my friends, family, and colleagues that attended the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and how Facebook had linked them to me.

I knew almost instantly who was winning an event, receiving images as they posted the action.  It was an honor to see my nephew, Tyler Erickson receive his PRCA Rookie of the Year in Steer Wrestling buckle and title in the arena.  Thanks to my Facebook friends postings and what I saw on GAC, (side note, they did a great job with the WNFR- TV coverage) I was there!

I thought back to last year at the WNFR as I did some posting from the finals. New to the game, I did not know whose voice to use, business or personal.  I was tentative; my postings were more like whispers as I tested the water. That is unusual, because my voice, around our house, is sometimes known as “Judith Gap, “an inside family joke!

I was learning the ropes of social media, looking back now it was more branding than conversation, and frankly found myself lacking the confidence and the guts to go all in.  Truth be told, social media waits for no one. It is an instant conversation where I found myself frustrated by what I thought; I could not, instead of focusing on what I could do.

Social media started out as a trickle that has turned into an ocean. I admit I was afraid to put my toes in the water and just jump in. But as I have learned this new wave is waiting for no one, and to be relevant an online presence is a necessity requiring guts and time.  Social media is the new frontier, breaking trail for expression, business, value and connection.

Back some 20 years ago the Wagner family had a white 4-horse stock trailer that we used for everything and that we jokingly put a decal on the front of that read: NO FEAR. I loved seeing that trailer go down the road. Then it came to me, thanks to that memory, spend less time defining who you are and more time being who you are. NO FEAR I am, who I am.

I have always enjoyed marketing and telling stories. Story telling by nature, I write like I talk. I admit my wordsmithing leaves a little to be desired but I write with a passion that is heartfelt.

It came to me ….It’s WIT, Whatever It Takes; I am going to start my own blog and business Facebook page centered on WIT using Ranch Grown Logic. My goal, through this platform, is to build a network of likeminded people in the western lifestyle and western industry connected through stories, mentors, and leaders, with emphasis on value based marketing, branding, motivation and inspiration.

I am who I am, a marketer and a cowgirl who enjoys telling stories. Now is the time to pull my boots on, grab my hat, get on my horse, and ride the trail. Social media is the new frontier changing the way, the story, and the ride of the future.

All trails start with the first step: NO FEAR. You are invited, come along for the ride.

See you at the ranch.


  • Break Trail:
    • Utilize social media for expression, business, value and connection
  • Fine Your Voice:
    • Start a conversation
  • Got Business: Create a business Facebook page/Blog  
    • Attract people by creating value.
  • Brand “U.”
    •  Social networking is effective and personal and business branding platform for online presence and online outreach.


Filed under Marketing

Catch the Ride of Your Life

I was blessed to have the opportunity to walk on a beach.  Not an everyday occurrence as my normal “beach walk” is to the barn to feed the horses, I set out to enJoy the moment.

I became mesmerized by the waves.  I became absorbed in the sound of the water as it approached and then gently swept over the sand.  With each wave I found myself taking stock and appreciating my life. I am so blessed and so grateful for all that I have: my relationship with God, my family, my friends, and my purpose. Yes my purpose!

Each of us have a purpose in life and our interest and passions lead us to that purpose.  The challenge is, and always has been, to identify our purpose while dealing with the waves of our own lives and the constant and predictable struggles that come our way. I heard once that “just because you’re on the inside rail it does not mean you can’t get to the outside and RIDE!”  There are many people out there who have faced challenges and have come out on top; they are the everyday heroes, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, triumphing over struggles and making a difference in people’s lives.

My mind traveled back to the last time I was in Cancun, Mexico walking on the beach. Only on that day my path lead me to a group of about 20 people on the beach, all were giddy with excitement. As I approached the small group I found out that this was a momentous day. The baby sea turtles had just hatched and were headed out to sea! This happens once a year usually late October or early November. I was in the right place, at the right time, to witness this century’s old tradition few people get to see in person.

Their story is historic; they have been doing same routine since prehistoric time.  There odds for baby sea turtles to reach adulthood are 1 in 100, they can grow to be six feet long, weight 450 Lbs, and live for 20-50 years.

I became caught up in the excitement as the baby sea turtles moved toward the water with speed and determination. The blue print of their life had been made long ago. They accepted their assignments catching the waves of their future at the same time I watched my own footprints in the sand disappear with the ride of their life.

As the sound of the waves coming in brought me back to the present, “live life purposefully” became clearer: share my talents, share my stories, those baby turtles took big steps, and so can I!

The answer came like a wave:  Just rope It, saddle up and enJoy the ride.

Catch The Ride Of Your Life

DoWIT: Catch the Ride of Your Life

  • Identify your Purpose
  • Identify Your Passion
  • Position yourself to utilize your skills
  • Be yourself, offer value, build your brand
  • Rope yourself a good life-saddle up let’s ride

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Filed under Branding

You may never know whose Hero you are!

Preacher and author, Joel Osteen says, “Discover the Champion in You.” I was so excited when I learned I had an opportunity to see him personally at one of his services. I was in Houston Texas for convention a few years back and made arrangements to catch a cab to the service with some other attendees.

When we arrived we were greeted by a nice young gentleman who graciously took us to our seats. As if by special invitation we were escorted to the second row, in and arena that seats over 30,000 in weekend services! My seat was directly behind his mother in the first row. I have come to call these extraordinary meetings divine intervention, how else could you explain my ending up in his service in the second row?

Joel was talking about how each and every one of us can make significant and positive differences in people’s lives, on purpose or even by accident! When it is all said and done we will be remembered by what we give, not by what we won or what we have.

He reminded us that we must not lose track of where we came from or of the people that helped us along the way. He noted we are all Champions in our own right, and we many never know we are a hero to someone! I was blessed. I had heard an awesome message.

So inspired I headed to the bookstore to do some follow up reading, this led to a chance meeting. In the rows of books stood a CHAMPION, PRCA legend and world champion cowboy Trevor Brazile.

We visited for a moment then as he turned and walked away I thought back over the day and about the interactions I had that day. From the people who asked me to join them and share a ride to the service, to the nice man who escorted us to the second row, to the message that Joel gave, and finally to the chance meeting with a World Champion in a book store. Joel had reminded us that we never know when someone will be watching or whose hero you are.  How powerful is that? Every contact point is an opportunity to be a Champion.

You may never know whose hero you are!

DoWIT: “Discover the CHAMPION in You”

  • It all counts
    • You never know who is watching.
    • You may never know whose hero you are.
  • Every touch point is important: Every contact point is an opportunity to be a Champion
    • In business: merchandising, sales, customer service
    • In life: with friends,family,or acquaintances
  • We are remembered by what we give, not what we have

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Filed under Inspiration

‘Jingle Bell’ Blizzard

My favorite Christmas memory started out like any other Christmas with excitement and anticipation, I could not wait to go home. Home for me is a ranch in western Montana; I often tell people when they ask where I grew up, that I am a real live Avon lady. I grew up in the small ranching community on a ranch nestled in a valley, at the base of Luke Mountain.

It was a time when we had ‘big time’ winters in Montana; winters where the snow was plowed so deep it often blocked the view from our car windows.  It was one of those winters, it was Christmas Eve, and I was 3 months pregnant with my son Ross. My husband Alvin and I were going to tell the family on Christmas day, I could not wait, I was so excited.

The ranch is a mile and a half off the main highway and the road sometimes blew shut. I called the ranch to see how the road was as the last couple of days it had been snowing and drifting. They told us not to drive up the road and they (my brothers and sisters) would come meet us with a team and sleigh after they had finished feeding the cows. The county road had not been plowed yet.

I could hear the bells as they approached, it was early afternoon my brothers and sisters Jim, Joyce, Joe and Kathy came to greet us on a sleigh pulled by a team of horses adorned in ‘Jingle Bells.’ They had finished feeding and were in good spirits as they pulled up singing songs and laughing and joking. My brother John was also there but he was on a snowmobile. He helped us load some groceries and gifts and then made two gleeful laps around us and was off to the ranch to watch some football where my other sister Janet was cooking Christmas goodies.

The snow was glistening like a million tiny diamonds as we headed down the sunny path but  that was about to change. When we reached the first corner in the road the sky started to turn angry. Storms can come over the western mountain in a hurry and surprised you, just as they did this day. The clouds turned black and rushed into the sunlit sky. By the time we were half way down the long stretch of road we were right in the middle of a full fledged blizzard.

Snow blowing, wind howling, can’t see in front of your face. The horses stopped pulling into the force of the storm, so Jim and Joe took turns leading them forward; the pull was hard into that wall of snow and wind. Packages blew away, we could not hear each other talk; we motioned to each other at one point wondering if we should turn the sleigh over and shield ourselves from the front. We pushed on in silent, making our way from one telephone pole to the next (they lined the road) as we edged our way down the road, praying and believing we would make it home.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Janet and John had no clue we were in trouble. The ranch as it nestled in the valley at the bottom of the mountain was protected from the storm and they were experiencing only snowfall. Besides, the game was on and they were not too worried about us thinking we out playing in the snow. But as time went by, it took over 2 ½ hours to go that mile, they started to wonder about us and John searched and found us at the top of the hill cheers went up, we were almost home.

We ended up being snowed in till the day after Christmas. It was awesome. We met my mom on the road the next day with the sleigh. She brought the turkey for dinner. It was a great Christmas.

Isn’t it wonderful, that certain memories of home and Christmas seem to stick with us forever? Never had home looked so good.   The sound of everyone in the house, the smells of the holiday; fresh cut Christmas tree and fresh bake bread, or the sight of Christmas lights on the tree and the glow that shows through the windows just at dusk. It felt a like heaven; faith, family, friends, home.


  • Blizzards Happen: Always be prepared
  • Don’t Give Up: DoWIT, Whatever It Takes
  • Tell Them You Love Them: You never know what tomorrow will bring
  • Be Thankful: Always for blessings, faith, family, friends
  • Have a very Merry Christmas


Filed under Inspiration

Be Good For Goodness Sake

How To Get Big Things Done In Your “Workshop”….All Year Long

Are you feeling the tug on values, leadership, and common sense in your workshops? Good news, please accept this gift with helpful tips as told in the leadership secrets of Sana Claus. I came upon this little book with big ideas that entertained and shared some great insights as to the business mind of Santa.  Excerpts adapted from Innovative Leadership by David Cotrell as told through Santa. Take a moment and enJoy.

It’s Not Easy Being Santa Claus

Believe you me, having a smile and be jolly every day when you’re wearing the same thick, hot, red-wool is no picnic.

This is a job that will definitely strain your sanity and drain your ego if you let it. Seems like everyone wants a piece of me. Yet many people I serve question mu existence…or just plain don’t believe in me at all. And those who do believe often expect me to do the impossible-rarely caring about what all I have to do, or go through, to meet their expectations. And they all have expectations!

Give people exactly what they want. And Ho, Ho, Ho, everybody loves good Ol’ Santa. But miss one or two items on the list, and you’d better be ready for the alligator tears, the fat jokes, and the “I could do Santa’s job better than Santa” remarks. It’s not easy being me!

There’s no doubt that my biggest challenge comes from two roles that people rarely associate with the red –cheeked, bag carrying sleigh driver: Santa the MANAGER and Santa the LEADER.

I am, after all, running a business here. I am boss. I have responsibilities-both the gift-getters and the gift –makers. There are workers to lead, orders to fill, processes to manage, stuff to buy, stuff to make, standards to maintain, new techniques to adapt, skills to develop, elf problems to solve, and reindeer droppings to scoop(although I delegate that one). Trust me; I’ve got some big and not so easy fitting boots to fill.

Like most managers, I have to deal with marketplace fluctuations (Dear Santa, I thought I wanted that, but now I want this.”) And I have seen more than my share of budget cuts, technology advancements, increasing demands for higher quality and better service, fluctuations in the economy, competing priorities, and a whole lot more. Whew!

Think you job is tough? Try recruiting in, and for, the North Pole. You try retooling your plant and retaining your people every year to produce the newest fad toys. You try delivering tons of presents on a route as big as mine-all in one night.

No, it’s not easy being Santa Claus. But is spite of it I love what I do. People need me…they depend on me. We’re doing something important here. And knowing that gives me the energy to carry the slack, lead the pack, and keep coming back.

By now, you may be wondering how I meet all these challenges and responsibilities…how I manage to bring everyone and everything together to complete our mission. Some people think I use magic, there’s no magic about it.

So, if it’s not magic, what is my secret? Actually there are eight of them-eight practical strategies for leading others and getting big things done all year long. There called “The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus,” and I wish to share them with you.


Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus

By David Cortell

  1. Build a Wonderful Workshop
    1. Make the mission the main thing.
    2. Focus on the people as well as your mission
    3. Let values be your guide
  2. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely
    1. Hire tough so you can manage easy
    2. Go for the diversity advantage
  3. Make a List & Check It Twice
    1. Plan your work
    2. Work your plan
    3. Make the most of what you have
  4. Listen To The Elves
    1. Open your ears to participation
    2. Pay attention to how you are perceived
    3. Walk awhile in their shoes
  5. Get Beyond The Red Wagons
    1. Help everyone get the reality of change
    2.  Remember the customer really is in charge
  6. Share the Milk and Cookies
    1. Help everyone see the differences they make
    2. Do right by those that do right
    3. Expand and reinforce the possibilities
  7. Find Out Who’s Naughty and Nice
    1. Confront performance problems early
    2. Coach the “majority in the middle”
    3. Don’t forget the “Super Stars”
  8. Be Good For Goodness Sake
    1. Set an example
    2. Establish guidelines and accountabilities
    3. Remember that everything counts! 


  • All Year: Getting things done all year long isn’t about magic, its leadership
  • Santa’s Leadership Gift :
    • Throw it in the back of some closet and never think of again
    • Use, appreciate, and enJoy,
    • Look for ways to pass along the favor to others.

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