Clyde Goodall is the personification of the American West. Soft spoken and weathered, the man in the plaid shirt is a reflection of the land he loves, character and history intertwined as one.
A cowboy since his teens, Goodall stepped into the life of an American rancher at a young age, growing up on a family farm in the Lebannon area. Goodalls father passed away when he was four but he left a legacy of farming and ranching for his family to continue.
I just grew up on a farm and it is just one of those things, that is what I did, Goodall said. My brothers and I started running cows in the 50s and Ive been doing it every since.
At the age of 15, Goodall bought his brand, one that he still uses to this day.
In the early 1960s, Goodall moved to Rico to earn extra income as a miner. It was at a dance in the Rico Courthouse that Goodall met his wife, Pat. While living in the small mountain town, the couple continued to cherish the ranching legacy, growing their herd and running cattle at the Rico Argentine Mine.
We just kept adding to what few cows we had, Goodall said. It wasnt ever really a question of whether or not we would have cows. It was what we did.
While in Rico, Goodall also participated in the Rico Pony Express, a horse relay race. Goodall was captain of the team for a period of time and is proud of the trophies and buckles accumulated from the racing.
Thats how we spent our weekends in the 60s and 70s, he said. It got kind of wild but it was a lot of fun.
In 1973, the Goodalls moved from Rico to Summit Ridge, establishing a family farm off of Colorado Highway 184.
That is when I got full-time into agriculture and cattle, Goodall said.
To make ends meet, Goodall and his son started hauling cattle with a bobtailed truck. In an effort to expand their own operation, the pair purchased the Truelson/Tenderfoot outfit in the 70s along with winter permits in Utah.
Goodall moved cattle all over the region, spending the summers in the Rico area, the winters in Utah and the springs in Cahone. The spirit of freedom that is a hallmark of the West is what sustained Goodall in his years in ranching.
You have such freedom and independence, he said. You dont get rich, but you have a good life.
Ever the consummate cattleman, friends of Goodall say he knows every cow and calf in his herd and can identify which are missing and where they were last seen.
This past February, Goodalls dedication to the ranching industry was recognized by the Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association when he was named Stockman of the Year. The honor surprised and humbled Goodall.
It is just such a once in a lifetime opportunity, he said. There are so many stockman and I was just lucky enough to be recognized.
Over the past 50 years, Goodall has watched the hands of time sweep through the ranching world and forever change the way of life he loves.
To a point it is really dying out, the way it was, Goodall said. You cant drive your cattle from here to Roaring Fork anymore, there is too much traffic. People are hauling stock more rather than using the old skills.
Goodall has also noticed a change in the relationships in the ranching community as ranches become more insular rather than community oriented.
It used to be that people would help each other out and you would have groups help with brandings and stuff, Goodall said. Several still do but things have changed.
Despite the changes in the industry, Goodall says ranching is his lifes work and the only thing he would ever consider doing.
To us, its about the only life worth having, Goodall said. Its made us happy. Were lucky.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at firstname.lastname@example.org.