I walked into my first class of my senior year at Colorado State University with a feeling I couldn’t explain. 4 days earlier I had finished my second summer working as an intern on the fourth largest commercial cow-calf operation in the country, Silver Spur Ranches. After spending a second summer in Wyoming, I know where my heart belongs and I was devastated to have to leave once again. This story is best to start at the beginning. It was moments after I told my college advisor that I was not going to continue the pre-vet track then she looked at me and asked what are you going to do? I looked at her and replied I wanted to work with cattle. The next step in my mind was experience, at this point I had very little. I decided that I needed to find an internship on a cattle ranch, so I found the internship offered from Silver Spur Ranches and I applied. I was not expecting to get my first interview and was floored when I was offered the second. When I got the email saying that I was accepted as an intern I burst into tears, it was the first time I felt that I was following my dream.
My lack of experience made me really nervous, but the fact that I was deaf terrified me. I had no idea how a group of cowboys would react, I had no idea what struggles it would bring. I am still amazed at how accepting and accommodating everyone was with my hearing loss. Looking back, I should have never been worried.
My first summer was insane, I learned so much in three months of working that I knew I needed to come back. I could list the skills I learned, but we would be here awhile. I went from not knowing anything, to understanding a little about a lot of different things. I have never met a group of people so willing to teach and explain their every move to a twenty-year old who followed them around like a lost puppy. My first summer came to a close and I was devastated, I was not done. I went back to school and I lasted until September before I begged to come back and help with weaning calves. Then December rolled around, I reached out and asked if I could return for a second summer. I was ecstatic that the answer was yes. I returned in March to spend a weekend night calving.
My second summer was spent working at the Hanging Bull. It was the best summer I have lived so far. Everyone has a happy place, mine is the Silver Spur and I was so excited to be back. I worked at brandings, fixed fence, built fence, fed hay, moved cattle, attended every rodeo I could, rode until my butt hurt, built a haystack, hayed, roped my first calf and got lost A LOT! I learned skills and knowledge that I apply in my classes at CSU and I will apply in my future career. It was lot of work, early mornings, and late nights. Every single second was worth its weight in gold. I learned that smiles are infectious even at three in the morning, be adventurous, cowboys love cookies, work smarter not harder, have pride in your work and NEVER be afraid to admit you don’t know how to do something.
Experience is one of the main takeaways from my internship, but the thing I value most are the relationships I created. I have created relationships with everyone I worked with and their families and I cherish every single one. I have more mentors than I can count, each one unique and earning a special place in my heart. Sure, there were mistakes, accidents, and problems but you work as a team to solve the problem and move on. We laughed, joked, yelled, and some days spent most waking moments together, I truly felt as if I was a part of one big family and I loved every moment. Leaving the second time around was a thousand times harder, but it is easier knowing that I can always go back, as long as I bring peanut butter cookies. My biggest takeaway from this experience is follow your dream, you will never regret it. I am so thankful for the amazing people and experiences I have gained and immensely proud to be a part of Silver Spur Ranches.
Elizabeth Adams- SSR Wyoming Summer 2021 and 2022
Bailey Watson – SSR Kiowa Division Summer 2022
What you want out of an internship will always depend on what you are willing to put into it. The experiences you can gain will totally depend on how you can apply them.
My internship with Silver Spur Ranches (SSR) was everything and anything I wanted or could have imagined it to be. It helped fuel the fire and my desire for any kind of Agriculture, which has become the drip to my I.V. This opportunity enabled me to gain first hand exposure of working on a Ranch. The diverse knowledge, concepts and hands on experience are unlike any you could receive in a classroom. Every day was an open book to learning something new. Some of the diverse things I was able to gain hands on experiences were: artificially inseminating cattle, GIS & mapping, proper use of herbicides, palpation, water management, properly taking care of show cattle, stocking rates, animal nutrition, working reining cow horses, cattle registration, etc.
Interning with SSR helped me develop professional working skills, the love for tradition, innovations and the future develop of Agriculture.
Throughout my experience with SSR, I was constantly inspired by the people I worked with. They respected me, and trusted me to work independently. Working alongside them made me aware of potential career paths but helped me recognize my passion for Ranching.
I strongly encourage anyone considering an internship with SSR to apply. Learning in Agriculture is always going to be advancing. There is always room for growth and what a better way to start a career path out than by testing it out with an internship. Maybe your internship could make your future career. Much like mine did.
Ashley Anglen~ SSR Kiowa Creek Division West Bijou Camp Manager- 2012.
I had the opportunity to complete a summer internship with Silver Spur Ranches at their Wyoming location the Summer before my Senior year at the University of Wyoming. During my time at the ranch I had the opportunity to see and work on many sides of their incredible operation. I started the Summer working in the office where I saw everything from the day to day logistical happenings to working on excel sheets with their cattle procurement specialist in regards to their feedlot in Minatare, NE. As things in the office slowed down and hay season picked up they allowed me the chance to work outside the office, where I did a variety of things from spraying weeds, raking hay and riding through pairs on Summer pasture. The real-world hands on experienced gained throughout the Summer is incomparable to any other internship I had while completing my Bachelor’s degree at the UW. I can’t speak highly enough of their staff and management, they were willing to let me see and experience many sides of their very diverse, multi-faceted operation.
I now work along-side my husband while raising our two kids on our Red Angus cow-calf operation in Southeast Wyoming. While it was a short summer with SSR, there is knowledge and skills gained that I use every day.
If you show up with a work ethic, and a willingness to learn on the go, this internship will grant you the opportunity to gain real world knowledge while equipping you with skills that you most certainly use down the road. With that in mind it is a paid internship and you are expected to put in a full Summers worth of hard work- however I can promise you it goes far too quick and you’ll be forever grateful for your time spent on the Spur.
Stacey Etchemendy, 2013
During the summer of 2017 I completed my internship at Silver Spur Ranches in Encampment, Wyoming. After meeting Thad and Kristen York through the Legends of Ranching Program at Colorado State University and purchasing my Silver Spur filly, I was offered the incredible opportunity to intern at the horse barn in Wyoming.
Throughout the summer I learned an incredible amount about the Cowhorse and Cutting industry. Once daily chores were completed, I was able to ride and work alongside their head trainer at the time, Kyle Trahern to learn the basics of the Cowhorse events and starting horses. Prior to my internship, I had only ever ridden Hunter/Jumper and Eventing horses so this was all new to me. As the only intern at the horse barn, I worked hard everyday to complete our daily tasks such as feeding, cleaning, bathing, and riding the client horses, show horses and working 2 year olds. I was also lucky enough to be able to bring my recently purchased 2 year old from Silver Spur up to my internship with me. Through this experience, I was able to better my riding abilities by being exposed to new industries such as the Cowhorse and Cutting industries. We also hosted 2 cutting events at the Ranch and I was able to learn the hard work that goes into hosting a show.
In addition, I was able to meet many talented trainers within both the Cutting and Cowhorse industries and had many networking opportunities. This internship was all about what you put into it. The harder I worked, the more I got out of it. I was able to attend the Ranch Rodeo, Woodchoppers Jamboree and rodeo, Saratoga Rodeo and some other fun local events. Although I was the only intern at the time, Kristen, Thad, Kyle, Andrea, Kasen and others all made sure I had a great time and got off property enough to keep me sane.
I now work as a Sales Representative for Equisure, Inc. an Equine Insurance Agency in Denver, CO. Although I am not working full-time as a horse trainer, I still take in some client horses and teach lessons on the side. Many of the skills I use in my training were learned through my time at Silver Spur Ranches. I also still keep in touch with many of the people I met during my internship and know that if I were ever in need of a change of career, I would have people to contact. I truly believe that if you put in the time and effort, you will find so many incredible opportunities out of your internship at Silver Spur Ranches. I am so thankful to the Yorks and the Traherns for everything I learned over the summer.
Amy Hull, Interned at the Horse Barn in Encampment, WY Summer of 2017