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Family keeps Old West tradition alive

06:35 PM PDT on Friday, October 29, 2004

By CHRIS  TOPPING / Evening Magazine

    Did you know that there are more than 13,000 ranchers and cattlemen in Washington State? Meet one who's keeping some Old West traditions alive
and well.
"The crisp fall air is somewhat indescribable,” said cattle rancher Dave Konz. "We don't have the smog, the noise pollution, the traffic…its just quiet."

This is the K-Diamond-K ranch just a few miles south of the tiny town of Republic, 125 miles north of Spokane, Wash. The 1,600-acre ranch spreads out across the valley as far as the eye can see and it all belongs to the Konz family.

The explosion of fall colors signals that winter is on its way to the high country, and that means it’s time to bring the herd home to their winter pasture.

"There's a feeling that is like no other - just you and the horse underneath you," Konz said.

It’s an annual rite of passage for ranchers that has changed very little since the days of the Wild West a century ago.

Except today for second-generation cattle rancher Dave Konz there is something very different.

"We're just trying to keep our way of life going," he said.

The ranch his father Steve built in the 1960’s has made a nice living on big herds and high beef prices but things have since changed.

"It’s been kind of rough,” Konz said. “Everybody’s moved on, other ranchers sold out, the profitability has been lost."

Instead of giving up the ranch life and following so many others to the opportunities in the big city, Konz chose to stay home.

"This is my folks’ dream and my future - to carry on the tradition," Konz said.

So the whole family decided to transform their cattle ranch into a working dude ranch and keep the family's dream alive by sharing the spirit, the folklore and the adventure of the cattle drive with city folks.

"I'm a horse lover and a country lover, this is God's country, there's no doubt about it," said Andrea Purvis, a guest at the ranch.

"The main thing is to show our way of life and show people that there's more out there than just sidewalks and skyscrapers," Konz said.

Dave, Steve and the other ranch hands on the K-Diamond-K .are wearing another hat hidden beneath their worn old cowboy hats. They have become educators and ambassadors of a truly wild Western experience.

"There's no standing in line,” said ???. “Its just people with the same wants and needs, just wanting to relax and get out in the country."

"They can still maintain the ranching philosophy, still make money, and expose city people to this sort of thing," said Purvis.


"This has become an addiction,” said Dave Konz. “I can't imagine doing anything else, being anywhere else. This is where
I was born, where I was raised, and there's nothing else for me."


Do you want to win a trip for two for an overnight stay at the K-Diamond-K Ranch?  Just send us a postcard by Nov. 5 to: K-Diamond-K Ranch Getaway, KING TV Evening Magazine, P.O. Box 19640, Seattle, WA 98109.



1-888-345-5355  or  509-775-3511    Email us:

15661 Hwy 21 South, Republic, WA 99166  ( 5 Minutes South of Republic )

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