Ranching has been a long standing tradition in the "Borderlands" area. For over 150 years cattle, horses, and sheep have grazed the high desert range. During the early years it was a free range with no fences and large outfits set up huge holdings. According to local historian Kelly Murphy many of the first cows came from Texas, though the longhorns were devastated by severe winters in the late 1880s. Even so, the large ranches continued to dominate the region for some time until smaller operators and their herds began filtering into the area. Eventually small family operations were established throughout the country. They were successful for decades until the economics of running a smaller ranch began to work against them. Now many of the small ranches are gone, and most of the ranching is again done by large outfits like the Bracket Ranch and the Simplot Group.
Kevin Chapin, who was raised in the area, has been the ranch manager for the historic Diamond A and Three Creek Ranches for twenty years. Though both are owned by Simplot, Chapin runs them like his own, and he and his cowboys do much of their work the same way it’s been done for generations.
"Basically we try to do things the old traditional way. I was raised that way. I’ve got four generations of ranching in my blood and my dad and my uncle taught me how to do things the old way and a lot of times that’s still the best. There are a lot of modern things we incorporate nowadays but still with cattle and livestock doing things the old way is almost still the best.
--Kevin Chapin, Ranch Manager--
Kevin’s wife Nancy understands cowboys and the ranching lifestyle. She pitches in on nearly everything that needs to be done to keep the ranch going. From cooking and putting up fence to riding and roping, Nancy does it all.
"On this place here and the Three Creek Ranch as well, the fact that Kevin can rely on having me and the two boys to help, he can count on getting something done if he knows he’s got us whether he’s got anybody else or not. I think if you get the women who appreciate the lifestyle, that want to become involved in it and be part of it it’s just better overall for the whole family life and everything in general...
--Nancy Chapin, Ranchers Wife--
Shawn Weeks work with the Chapins. He’s the lead cowboy at the Three Creek Ranch. Though he briefly tried other types of work, he came back to what he knows and loves, ranching.
"For me what's important is the freedom, that’s part of the reason why cowboys are cowboys, we're free, we don’t have people hassling us all the time. The value's is knowing you did a job well and treated everybody well, and went above and beyond to get something done...
--Shawn Weeks, Lead Cowboy--