It’s early morning, it’s still dark out, and it’s time to GET UP. I know I have a long day ahead of me on the ranch. That snooze button is really tempting, and it’s times like these that I’m thankful for good coffee! I roll out of bed, fix myself up and head out, ready for whatever comes my way.
I’m a cattle rancher in southeast Arizona, and I LOVE what we do for a living. I’m the sixth generation in my family to live this way of life, and with that comes a lot of pride, some high expectations, and a rich heritage in our area of the world. I know that I am blessed beyond measure, and I am thankful for everything I have in my life.
Being a part of this rancher lifestyle, I have an inborn appreciation for the land, the animals and the people involved. I value our history, and I understand that we wouldn’t be where we are today if not for the sacrifices made by past generations. I also know that those past generations instilled in us a burning passion for what we do, day in and day out, regardless of the challenges we may face.
As a cowgirl in these modern times, I will come right out and say that I embrace technology and I DEFINITELY embrace fashion! I am almost 6 feet tall and blonde, which is kind of a standout in our border town community. No matter, though, because I embrace these differences as blessings. Every day, whether I am working on the ranch or going into town for a meeting or to do other business, I make sure that I present myself with class (and some sass, of course). I always style my hair, whether it be curled, straight, braided, or whatever works out that day. I always wear makeup, whether it be the whole shabang or just the basics of mascara, eyeliner and lipstick. And about every 2 or 3 weeks, I make a trip in to the salon to get my nails touched up (either with gel polish or have my acrylics filled in) and my eyebrows plucked into order. I am a girly girl and proud of it, but don’t for a second mistake those acrylic nails for someone who doesn’t work hard, because let me tell you what… It is a lot easier to get through those long days of hard, dirty work when you know you at least started the day by putting your best foot forward.
I have to give credit where credit is due because the western fashion culture has evolved greatly from the traditional straight-leg Levi’s (nothing wrong with those) to hundreds of different styles of jeans, shirts, hats, you name it. I am a huge fan of online boutiques because they offer adorable clothes and accessories at an affordable price! I also love social media, and I try to keep up to date on trends and happenings in the western lifestyle world by following pages and blogs, including The Bleacher Babe (Brianna Hall Bigbee, rockin on Insta and Facebook, plus her Fitness, Closet, and Babies projects too!), Alexis Bloomer (Insta and FB), Adrian Buckaroogirl, Kadee Coffman, Quincy Freeman (Lipsticked Cowgirl blog and owner of Rodeo Quincy), Shea Fisher and many others (future blog post about fabulous boss babes is in the works!)! And, I am so humbled and honored to be a part of the Bleacher Babe Squad, a fun group of gals each with our own unique style, sharing our tips and tricks and fashion that works in our lives with women across the country, (follow along on Instagram @bleacherbabesquad, and keep your eyes peeled here for a blog about the squad VERY soon!).
On a daily basis, you can definitely find me wearing a fashion-forward button up shirt or fun blouse, some jewelry (not usually hoop earrings though… I wouldn’t want a tree limb to hook through one of those! And yes, I have lost a few earrings along the way, usually when I’m running horseback to catch a cow or turn a herd!), a bling belt and Cowgirl Tuff jeans (because they’re cute and they come in lengths long enough for my legs, even when riding!). I am a lover of denim, turquoise and pearls, leather, fringe, bold prints and things that shine. I am definitely not afraid of color and I embrace it because I am surrounded by vibrancy in our diverse landscape.
Modern cowgirls, as taught by those that come before us, are tough as nails, have true grit and aren’t afraid to get dirty to get the job done. We can put in 20 hour days in the blistering summer heat, feed cattle in a drought, break ice on livestock waters, cook for branding crews of anywhere from 3 to 20 people, collaborate with agencies and other agriculturalists in meetings (we cook for those gatherings too-upwards of 30-80 people), work diligently to raise quality beef while preserving our nation’s resources, utilize partnerships to get work done efficiently, bottle feed orphaned calves in their time of need, and rope a wild cow in the roughest parts of the ranch when need be.
We are blessed to work under endless blue skies, appreciating the diversity of our landscapes that include valleys, rolling hills and rugged mountains, and a wide variety of unique wildlife.
We pray for rain to replenish the soil, give life to the plants we depend on to feed our cattle, and give hope for continuity of our livelihoods. Personally, wildflowers, prickly pear cactus blooms and gorgeous Arizona sunsets inspire me, and I am known for buying fresh flowers from the supermarket to bring that vibrancy into our home.
Modern cowgirls are breaking down barriers, with a passion for living our lives to the fullest and an ambition to never quit and look good doing it.
We love deeply, and hope to find cowboys to fall in love and share our lives with. We are at peace knowing that we work hard, pray hard and live a life that others only dream of.
At times we laugh uncontrollably, smile through everything, and cry no longer than need be before putting that smile back on our faces and turning up the fire that burns inside our hearts. We are fierce, we are devoted, we are strong and we are women of grace and elegance who can be elbow-deep in muddy water to fix a broken pipeline or be covered in dust after a windy day in the branding corral. We can pull off worn cowboy boots or stylish heels.
We hold our heads high through early mornings and late nights, happiness and hardships. We know the meaning of true love, good neighbors, the optimism in new life, the wisdom of our weathered elders and the value in upholding tradition and embracing advances.
By the grace of God, I am a cattle rancher… I am a cowgirl, and I can embrace my life with grit and glam, and for that, I am thankful.
So to all of you, I say this: Be bold, be brave, keep busy and be a force to be reckoned with. Live each day with courage, take pride in your work, always finish what you start, keep your promises, ride for the brand, talk less and say more, and know where to draw the line. Be hopeful, keep your faith strong, find joy in the little things, lift each other up and rock your dusty spur rowels and beautiful squash blossoms because true cowgirls (no matter the age) live their lives with grit, glam and grace.
Here’s to good rains, great friends and healthy cattle,
P.S. This post has inspired me to branch out into some very special projects, shining a spotlight on some wonderful women who fit the modern cowgirl persona, and featuring some special small businesses who help women live life with grit and glam! Be on the lookout for those posts! And don’t forget… You can subscribe to my blog, and you can follow me on Instagram (@kenziegk @colablancaproductionsllc) to keep up with all the latest!