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Art of Ranching: Engaging Youth in Community History   arrow

The Art of Ranching project (AOR) is a collaborative community history project that works with 4-H youth and community members to research historical topics related to Colorado agriculture to make visible the agricultural labor and legacy of Colorado communities. Operating a farm and ranch and doing agricultural work is an art form in itself and every operation and agriculturalist takes a unique approach. Capturing these stories and making visible the significant contributions of these operations in these communities reveals that art. Partners of this project include Colorado State University’s Office of Engagement and Extension Rural Engagement initiative – Vibrant Communities, Colorado State University Department of History, Public and Environmental History Center and History Colorado.

Doing Community History

Community history is a collaboration between researchers and community members to collect and preserve the stories of local communities. It uses oral history techniques, archival research, and shared authority models to collect historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life.

The histories produced by the Art of Ranching are created in collaboration with the Historical Topic representative and are led by 4-H youth with the support of the Colorado State University Department of History and Public and Environmental History Center. The Art of Ranching produces these histories in conjunction with participating families. They are slated for publication through Colorado Encyclopedia.

4-H Art of Ranching Project Guidelines

  • Youth will identify a Historical Topic related to Colorado agriculture (a ranch, farm, family, business, entity or landscape) who wants to participate. This could be their own family ranch/farm, a local ranch/farm/business/landscape, or a local long-time agricultural family.
  • Make contact with a local historian, historical society, library, or museum to learn more about local history and to do some research on their project. Complete the History Sketch found in the 4-H manual.
  • Complete the Oral History training.
  • Schedule the interview. Be prepared with a list of interview questions and bring the completed History Sketch. Make sure to secure the narrator’s signature on the Informed and Use Permission form (found in the manual).
  • Complete a narrative of your Historical Topic and submit it to the Art of Ranching project historian at CSU for submission to History Colorado’s Colorado Encyclopedia.
  • Present your completed project twice (ex. – club demonstration, local museum, classroom, assisted living program, etc.).
  • Leaders helping youth with the Art of Ranching project can:
  • Art of Ranching Project Resources:

Suggested Project Timeline

Note – this is a suggested timeline.  Youth can join later but will have a shorter amount of time to complete the project requirements (if competed within a 4-H year).  And youth/leaders can take advantage of the support the Art of Ranching team has set up or complete the project on their own.

  • October – February:  Recruit youth, research historic topics and pick a topic for each youth to complete for this project.
  • March – May: complete the Oral History Interview training (video or via Zoom training) and set-up your interview with your Historic Topic narrator (the person the youth interviews).
  • May – July:  Write your narrative and share with the Art of Ranching intern for critiques. Present your project twice before your Exhibit Day.  Compete at Exhibit Day.
  • August 23 – help at the Centennial Farm and Ranch award celebration at the Colorado State Fair.  This is not required but is a lot of fun.  Routt County makes a trip out of it and stays in the dorms and enjoys a day at the state fair.

Leader Resources

  • The Art of Ranching team has put together a statewide support system for you to implement the 4-H Art of Ranching project in your community.
  • We will be hosting monthly zoom calls for youth/parents/leaders on the last Tuesday of each month at 7pm starting in January 2024 to help guide you and your youth through this project.  This is a great place to ask questions, facilitate accountability, and to learn what other youth are doing across the state.  Please reach out to Tami Eggers for the Zoom link.
  • Leaders/Volunteers – we host a weekly AOR team call every Thursday at 11am.  Feel free to join this call and ask questions, get updates and learn what other counties are doing across the state.  Please reach out to Tami Eggers to be added to this weekly Team call.
  • We have two CSU Intern/s to support the project this summer and they may be able to travel to your county too.
  • Leaders helping youth with the Art of Ranching project can access project leader resources in the Art of Ranching manual.

Participants to Date

Summer 2021 – Routt County

Jacie Rex, Researcher

Tim Bedell, Christopher Stone – Monger Ranch

Alley Kvols – Fetcher Ranch

Olivia Rossi – Heart Mountain Ranch

Bowden Tumminello, Emmitt Meyring – Soash Ranch

Summer 2022 – Routt County

Dale Mize, Researcher

Tim Bedell – Brown Ranch

Trevor Hagenbuch – Kuntz Ranch

Alley Kvols – Hitchens Overlook Ranch

Justin Stanko – Stanko Ranch

Bowden Tumminello – Summers Ranch

Summer 2023 – Routt County and Douglas County

Sean Nelson, researcher Douglas County

Leona Thurston, researcher Routt County

Jessica Bedell – Semotan Ranch

Tim Bedell – Perry Ranch

Alyvia Cox – Zehner Ranch

Trevor Hagenbuch – Gay Ranch

Alley Kvols – Green/Crags Ranch

Kenzie Summervill – Bell Ranch

Art of Ranching Locations in Colorado

Click HERE to view the map of Colorado and Art of Ranching locations, narratives, pictures, videos and more.

Want to get involved?

Contact Tami Eggers at