ROSEBURG, Ore. — Son Colton Gow has taken over the family ranching operation and father Bill Gow couldn’t be happier.
“I’m really glad our legacy will live on through them,” Bill Gow said of his son and of his daughter, Bailey Cline.
Bill and Sharon Gow raised their children on their cow and calf ranch in the hills south of Roseburg. In addition to helping work cattle, the kids and their parents were involved in junior rodeo during their high school years. Their rodeo careers continued at the college level, Bailey at New Mexico State University and Colton at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Both graduated with agricultural degrees.
“Colton has been interested in ranching since he was really young,” Bill, 64, said. “Colton loved the ranch, Bailey loved the outdoors. The ranch allows us to all be together all the time, to have family involvement.”
Colton and his wife, Kelsey, began taking over the ranch operation in 2013 after the two were married. Kelsey is also from a ranching background. When working cattle, the couple gets additional help from Bailey and her husband, Nick Cline, who is a chiropractor.
Bill remained involved in the day-to-day operation of the ranch during the first year or two of the generational transition, but other than helping when cattle are run through the chute and driving tractor during the hay season, he has turned the decision-making over to Colton.
“It’s been a hard transition,” Bill admitted. “Me being the boss and now he is. But it’s gone better than we thought it might. Colton is doing improvements I never did. If Colton can do as much improvement to the ranch as I’ve done the last 30 years, then it’ll be a good operation for the next generation.”
Colton and Kelsey now run 450 mother cows and a couple hundred stocker yearlings. They lease 5,500 acres, half of that being the Gow Ranch. The operation includes 400 irrigated acres for hay and additional pasture.
Bill and Sharon continue to live on the ranch and they like what they see.
“I’d be really sad if all of our efforts ended at this point, but Colton is doing a good job,” Bill said. “His changes have worked out well.”