keeps Old West tradition alive
06:35 PM PDT on Friday,
October 29, 2004
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
"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
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
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
"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
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.