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Paul Marchant

Paul Marchant is an active rancher who tells stories as though we're all "sittin' horseback and ridin' drag" together. His Irons in the Fire articles both entertain and spur thought about personal values and goals.


My grandfather, a World War I veteran, died when I was 13. He was always an old man when I knew him, but the memories I have of him are mostly good ones.

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My sister’s husband, Bart, is as salt-of-the-earth as they come. He’s not happy unless he’s helping someone, and he’s always happy. Ergo, he is always helping somebody.

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My boys all started helping me cowboy when they were quite young. As is the case with many ranch families, we had each of our kids on a horse not long after they could walk.

My oldest son started riding with me for full days when he was 7 or 8. The youngest was spending 10-hour days on the mountain when he was 4.

It was always more of a fight to make him stay home than it was to take him along. He always wanted to go, and he rarely complained about the long, hot days and the hard work.

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I’m an admitted sports junkie. I’ve sometimes wondered about just where I could have gone in life if I’d used some of my limited brainpower to store important information regarding physics, the arts or molecular biology. Instead, I’ve expended considerable energy memorizing more “useful” data.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a fascination with all things cattle. When I was in grade school, a science fair was held each year where the fifth- and sixth-graders would choose a subject, prepare a presentation and present it to parents and faculty on a special evening.

We got to choose our subjects, but you had to be quick to get the one you wanted because there could be no duplicate projects.

I remember being quite disappointed and, frankly, a little ticked off when one of my friends, who lived on a dairy farm no less, picked beef cattle as his project when we were in fifth grade.

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Back in the early ’90s, I was running a ranch in the high desert and mountain country of central Utah. We ran a couple hundred pairs on a forest allotment on the Fishlake National Forest, east of Fillmore.

There was usually pretty good grass in the high country, but it was mean, steep, rough country. I did quite a bit of riding to keep the cattle distributed and from spending too much time in the creek bottoms.

If I needed to do a big gather and move cattle from one side of the allotment to the other, I could usually find some day help or a friend or two from town who wanted to keep his mounted sheriff’s posse horse legged up for the summer.

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