Wagon Wheel Ranch was started in 1950 by Francis and Mary Rogers. Located in the northeastern corner of Colorado south of Yuma. Our cattle are bred and raised on the high plains in the rolling sand hill pastures of that region.
Our focus is, and has always been on performance cattle. We much prefer that the numbers we go by are measurement numbers, not paper numbers. We use EPD's and DNA as a tool but still believe it has to translate into real world performance. We also believe that a bull has to get out and cover some country, and that proper structure and ability to travel keeps a bull sound and breeding cows for several seasons. Quite simply, they get cows bred!
We are also not afraid to use a knife either, only about 1/3 of the bull crop remain intact and make it to the sale offering. Keeping these principles is what has kept us selling bulls for nearly 70 years. We wouldn't still be around if we weren't keeping our customers satisfied.
Mary's grandparents homesteaded the original piece of land just south of Yuma in 1899, farming not cattle was the major part of the operation at that time. Later on Mary's parents took over and built the main house which was where Mary was born. Shortly after Francis and Mary were married , her parents retired and moved into town and the transition was made from mainly farming, to incorporating more cattle.
The first registered cattle were purchased by Wagon Wheel Ranch from Fred and Wilma Fassler, friends living south of nearby Akron, Colorado. From that humble beginning the Wagon Wheel Ranch started marketing bull which were sold at the National Western Stock Show every year in January. At that time, those 10 days each year was where ranchers went to buy and sell breeding cattle.
Later, as the National Western Stock Show evolved into more of a show than a place to sell, we began holding our own production at the ranch, on the second Tuesday of March every year.
The type of cattle established early on by Francis and Mary make the base herd from which we still trace back to today. They recognized early on that the best cattle to feed reached a marketable weight earlier than their contemporaries. Weight per day of age was something Francis would sit down after supper in his comfy chair, go through a bull sale catalog and compute those figures for his picks.
As the Angus breed evolved, we as well as many others followed the fads but soon realized that cattle need to fit their environment. We've tailored the herd to do just that, no trendy fads, just cattle bred to work no matter if you are simply a cow calf person, or someone who feeds cattle.
We strongly feel that if you don't know how your calves will feed out, you don't know how your bulls will work. That's what keeps us with winners in the carcass, gain and overall, which is a combo carcass value and gain.
We routinely enter steers from our program in a feeding trial each year. No better way to check the performance of our herd bulls and breeding program. This lets us test drive bulls so we can make more informed decisions about bloodlines which better fit our parameters of performance. That is a key performance indicator of young sires and enables us to react more quickly to either use more of, or less of a bull.
We tend to operate a little lean and still do all of our own work, as we believe this approach allows us to better evaluate our cattle and bulls as we are the ones who have to work day in and day out. While we lost Francis a couple years ago, Mary still lives at the ranch, in the same house she was born in. Kenny and wife Jody live just a short way away, generation number 4.
Jerrod and wife Hollie, generation number 5 and their two boys, Mason and Carter generation number 6 are the other key players in the game. Other than some part time help during peak seasonal needs, we do it all. Hands on, eyes on every day.
Our Pride and Joy, Our Herd
We run the cows on the deep sand, rolling sage hills of the high plains where we get very little rain, hot temperatures (it can get over 100) and our grass isn't the most for putting on lots of weight. Winter time we run cows on corn stalk aftermath so you see pretty quickly the cattle that are capable of performing in this environment. The only time our cows get fed are when we pull them to the home ranch during AI season. We cull rigorously based on how a cow weaned her calf, structure, udder quality, temperament and breed back. If they don't work for us, their calves won't work for you.
The challenge is to keep perfecting our ideal, never be totally satisfied so that we are constantly striving for a superior cow/calf.
Wagon Wheel Ranch Bulls
We firmly believe that the right growing program is both indicative of what our bulls are capable of and the key to our success. We do not push our bulls for huge gains, all we ask is once weaned to achieve a 3.5 lb per day gain. This allows growth without sacrificing feet and adding too much fat. Usual covering is around .25 to .30. This is not extreme, and our bulls won't melt during the first hot days of the breeding season. We've always said that Wagon Wheel Ranch bulls have thickness bred in, not fed in. Keeping this end game in sight has allowed us to keep focused on traits more than chasing pedigrees. We are more interested in measurable performance than paper performance and a good set of scales is one of our more important ranch tools. The bulls have to get the job done, keep their feet sound, not develop and attitude, be physically appealing, and look like a bull. All the things we hear back from our customers, we value too, calving ease, carcass, durability, disposition, libido, it's all there.
Our annual Cattleman's Connection production bull and commercial female sale is ALWAYS the second Tuesday in March, at the ranch. Located 3 1/2 miles south of Yuma, Colorado on HWY 59. 1:00 PM (MST).
See it on DV Auction, on the internet.
Contact us for more information, or to request a catalog.