Larry G. Everett is firmly entrenched in Montezuma County.
He was born on the ranch four miles north of Mancos that his grandfather Claud Everett homesteaded in 1907.
Larry Everett was taught the cowboy and ranching way of life by his father Walter. Like the ranch itself, the Everett work ethic has been handed down from generation to generation.
Larry spent summers of his youth in the cow camps in the mountains of southwestern Colorado. When it came time for him to move into the ranching life, raising cattle and working the ranch, Larry was ready.
Larry was recently named Stockman of the Year by the Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association. Larry, who owns Everett Ranches Inc., has long embraced a powerful commitment to the ranching industry. His character as a family man and cattleman, and the legacy of his contributions to the ranching community in Montezuma County were some of the reasons why he was honored as the 2012 Stockman of the Year.
SWCLA President Drew Gordanier said Larry Everett is the most kind and caring kind of cowboy. His son Walter agreed.
He would always try to find a way to solve problems, Walter said of his dad. He was really kind with the animals and the horses.
A unique cattleman
Everett brought the first Limousin Cattle to the southwest 40 years ago. He helped make the county fairgrounds what it is today. He directed the Four Corners Beef Cattle Improvement Association and served twice as president. He helped countless families start up or keep their farms running as the Director of the Farm Credit Service of the Mountain Plains.
He is a quiet, deliberate person, said his daughter Jennilynn. He is just so passionate about agriculture, always has been.
Being a fourth generation native, you dont know anything else, Larry Everett said.
Everett is the product of his familys legacy, one that he proudly carries on.
His mothers family was homesteading here before Cortez existed. The Honakers arrived in 1883 and worked primarily on the tunnels and ditches that diverted irrigation water from the Dolores River into the Montezuma Valley. Everetts great-grandfather, Sterling P. Thomas, was the second sheriff of Montezuma County, serving two years as the county law, according to the Montezuma Sheriffs Department.
Everett grew up and worked the ranching lifestyle but when it was time to depart for college he headed to the Front Range. He worked with the National Forest Service while attending Colorado State University where he earned a bachelors degree in Farm and Ranch Management in 1964.
For a few years he worked as a vocational counselor for the Colorado State Employment Service before he planted his boots firmly back onto the family ranch.
Today Limousin Cattle can be seen all over the southwest, but not in 1972. Everett single-handedly introduced the French breed to the area. They are coveted due to their lean carcass but at the time it was unlawful to import the cattle into the U.S., so Everett artificially inseminated domestic cows and by the fourth generation had a certifiable pure bred Limousin bull.
I pretty much introduced the first Limousins to this part of the country, Everett said. I was one of the earliest members in the country of the North American Limousin Association.
During Everetts Limousin heyday, the bulls were a red, horned breed of cattle but he said that mix-breeding with Angus saw their unique traits diminish.
The black cows are more desirable in the United States, so they bred the horns off them and most Limousin that you see today will be black, Everett said.
He operated Everett Ranches Inc. for 31 years, selling his red Limousin bulls to local ranchers before running a commercial cow/calf herd for another six years.
Has seen hard times
Everett admitted he has seen some hard times.
Its been tough, Everett said. Ive seen three of these depressions in my lifetime. Right now the cattle industry is in good shape but I went out on my own in 1972-73 and cow prices dropped 200 percent in two weeks. So whats going on with the rest of the country now, weve seen three times. Were used to these cycles, he said.
Everett shrugged and said hes gotten used to it.
Theres been more tough years than good years, he said.
In 1974, Everett became Secretary of the Bauer Lakes Water Company, a dual reservoir water surplus that has provided water to ranchers north of Mancos for decades. Its a role he still fills to this day. He also directed the Mancos Soil Conservation Service for more than 30 years.
A proud accomplishment was his effort in establishing the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. A past president of the fair board, Everett was one of the original nine board members that organized the facility construction. It was significant addition for the county.
We didnt have a fairgrounds, we only had the American Legion Rodeo grounds, which is what the county used as a fair grounds. It wasnt that good, Everett said.
In 1995 Everett became involved with the Montezuma County Land Use Advisory Group. The group worked to protect ranchers from government land regulation policies and also to secure property values.
With an eye for looking out for ranchers concerns and as a former president of the SWCLA, Everett wholeheartedly believes in what the association stands for. He voices concern for future land management and says that organizations like the SWCLA help watchdog political regulation that impact ranchers and cattle grazers.
Its an organization to promote goodwill and to be a spokesperson for the stockmen to the Forest Service, and public lands, Everett said.
He described the SWCLA as a strong entity in the county, important to a politicians success.
With so much experience and a lifetime of chasing and rasing cattle, Everett also helped others get their start in agriculture. He found loans for aspiring farmers and cattlemen and helped others keep their places. His 10 years at Farm Credit Service of the Mountain Plains more than tripled the companys assets, from $300 million to $1.2 billion in value.
A family man
Everett has four children that have stayed close to their Colorado roots. His oldest daughter Wendy is an accountant with Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Jennilynn is a Montezuma County judge, his son Walter works in the oil industry as well as on the ranch, and another son, Paul builds log homes in Aztec, N.M.
Everett taught his children to stand by their values, that their integrity is everything, and to shoot for the highest of goals, Jennilynn said.
He didnt just say that, he modeled it in every way, she said. He lived what he taught us. I still learn from him everyday.
Walter remembers working with his dad, often chasing cows from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. The hard-working lifestyle made for an adjustment away from the ranch.
Wed long trot those horses 20 or 30 miles some days chasing cattle, Walter said. It was kinda hard for two boys in high school trying to get dates with girls.
Wendy agreed. We went to school for a vacation.
Dad also helped them show horses and raise seven champion Limousin steers in 4-H.
Reflecting on a ranching life, Everett, in his calm way, said he enjoys living here He likes the country and its seasons. But hes not fond of the spring winds, he said with a chuckle.
In harder days, he had to subdivide the homestead ranch in order to keep the ranch and his family afloat.
I hated to do it, Everett said.
The property once held one thousand acres, but much was sold over the years, and now about 100 acres remain.
They can take away your house, your car or any material possession, but they cant take away your knowledge, he said.
He has been known to give his grandchildren such advice, passing on his hard learned lessons.
The remainder of his grandfathers homestead ranch has since been put in a conservation easement.
The main part now, its gonna have to stay in agriculture, Everett said.