My name is Luke Becker. My wife and I manage a small ranch in north-central Arizona near Flagstaff. I grew up west, nearer to Kingman, amidst several ranches straddling Old Route 66.
Why have I chosen to continue ranch work as my occupation? Why work harder for less money, brace the elements, ﬁght the bureaucracies, clean up and rebuild after the vandals and risk the physical dangers that are ever present?
I think the answer to these questions comes in understanding three terms: compulsion, ﬂow, and pride.
Compulsion - I have to do it. When I’m not at the ranch I’m thinking about it. When I’m working on a project, I’m planning the next. If I don't protect, preserve and manage this land, who will? It must be protected, respected, and cultivated for humans, wildlife, and the livestock that make all our efforts possible.
Flow - Flow, to me, is those moments when you are struck by the fact that you are exactly where you want to be, doing exactly what you want to do, and there is no conﬂict within you; everything is smooth and effortless. Cowboying, done right, is poetry in motion. Whether you're at a branding, sorting, riding colts, taking a big circle in new country, or just doing daily chores, there's a feeling when you are keenly aware of your surroundings. You see all the artistic beauty of the cowboy culture against the backdrop of God’s creation and you know that you are truly blessed.
Pride- I think much of ranching can be connected to pride. It's a constructive pride, not an egotistical pride. It's the pride that pushes you to do better. Underneath all the pride you take in improving your horsemanship, knowledge of cattle and rangeland etc. you are proud to be part of a community struggling everyday to put food on the table for a hungry world.
That’s why I do what I do.
Read more: https://www.azcattlegrowers.org/arizona-cattlelog-consumer-edition