“Where’s the photographer when I’m out here in a blizzard?” joked Bev Fryer as she stepped out of the calving barn into a beautiful spring day on the Castle Mountain Ranch near White Sulphur Springs.

During calving season on the ranch, Fryer is busy every day, no matter the weather, overseeing more than 300 heifers giving birth for the first time.

She takes over for the night-shift hand about 7 a.m. each day, saddling her horse — named Little Jimmy Dickens — and checking on the calves from the previous days before moving them

with the heifers to a series of pens.

Fryer has operated the ranch for 17 years with her husband, Ed. She was recognized in January by the Montana Stockgrowers Association as the Ranching Woman of the Year.

Working primarily alone in the barn, Fryer nurses bum calves, checks the pregnant cows, and pulls calves from heifers having trouble giving birth.

On this particular spring day, she jumped on the horse-drawn hay wagon with her son David, distributing hay and talking about that day’s progress.

In addition to her calving duties, Fryer works with colts, coordinates an elk hunt on the ranch, volunteers with cattlewoman organizations feeding crowds at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, and fulfills many other chores on the ranch.

Fryer, who was born in Fishtail, has operated ranches in Montana and Wyoming with Ed since their marriage in 1973. They have two sons and five grandchildren.

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