Would You Move Here? – Old Ranching Town of 250

Jul 31, 2022 171.3K Views 743 Comments

Could you live in a ranching town of 250?!  What do they get that we don’t? What are they missing out on? What are we missing out on? Join me as we meet the locals of Kit Carson, CO and dive into a world that is foreign to most of us.

Fiona
► https://www.instagram.com/fionacjackson/
► https://www.tiktok.com/@goodenoughwel…

Collins Ranch (Amy)
► https://collinsranchco.com/
► https://www.facebook.com/KitCarsonRur…
► http://kitcarsoncolorado.com/

Flying Diamond Ranch (Fiona, Will, Lauren):
► https://flyingdiamondcattleranch.com/
► https://www.instagram.com/flyingdiamo…
► https://www.facebook.com/flyingdiamon…
► Lauren: https://www.instagram.com/laurenparke…

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

♪ country ♪
[calf mooing]
♪ country ♪
PETER: Kit Carson?
AMY: Going to Kit Carson.
-Are you excited?
-I’m super-excited.
WILL: Might stop by their
original homestead house.
Collins Ranch, and then
go to Flying Diamond Ranch.
PETER: And this is where
a woman from Silicon Valley left
to start a life in ranching?
– Yes.
PETER: From Palo Alto to Kit Carson?
LAUREN: Yes.
[music continues]
AMY: So this is fascinating.
This grain elevator was purchased
by Crossroads Ag.
Which is owned by Stefan Soloviev.
A Russian, one of the largest
land owners in the US.
Out of New York City.
PETER: Is Russian?
AMY: Is Russian.
PETER: I had no idea.
AMY: And he purchased the railroad
south of there and has purchased
quite a bit of land
in Colorado and New Mexico.
This is Main Street, Kit Carson.
PETER: Let me get the camera out.
Can we stop for a sec…
Can we stop in the middle of the road?
[laughing] Yes.
-Let’s do it, Amy. Let’s get out.
-I lost my wallet one time…
in the middle of the street
and someone turned it in to me.
[door closes]
PETER: Here we are, Kit Carson, Colorado.
Kit Carson Senior Citizen’s Center.
The bank.
[birds chirping]
Lutheran Church.
Post office.
We have four churches in town
and no liquor store.
-No liquor store?
-No liquor store.
No, it just went out of business.
I’ve never heard that in my life.
The liquor store went out of business
but you have four churches.
[laughing]
-150 people?
-250.
-Sorry 250.
-250.
No more or less so than anywhere, USA.
-Any small town?
-Yeah.
PETER: All right, here we are.
All you hear in Kit Carson
is the birds chirping.
Cars going by on the highway,
Highway 287.
State Champions.
[slaps roof]
State Champions, huh?
AMY: Yeah, and then my daughter has
five state championship rings.
PETER: For what though?
-Three in Volleyball and two in…
PETER: Wait, as in beating
every other school in the state?
-1A, yeah.
Kit Carson has athletes.
Little local market.
Nice park.
Oh God, I love getting into
these corners of America.
So interesting.
Got a main road coming through.
A museum.
For those non-Americans questioning
“What’s this whole
pickup truck thing all about?”
I guess you have to
experience it in these places.
It’s nice to be in a pickup.
I was anti-pickup for a while,
now I’m loving it.
You sit up a little bit higher.
Good for off-roading.
Put whatever in the back.
Make videos of Kit Carson.
We have the Kit Carson School.
Amy, what’s this story?
-Brand new $32 million school.
Opened in August of 2020.
100 kids K through 12.
-$32 million?
-$32 million.
PETER: Is this the big social event
in Kit Carson, the football games?
AMY: Oh yeah, every Friday night.
Saturday night ball games,
basketball games.
-Whole town comes out?
-Yep.
[door closes]
PETER: So $32 million?
$32 million, a $24 million grant
that the community matched
with an $8 million bond.
Of the hundred kids here
most of them, kids of ranchers?
Ranchers, farmers
school teachers, some oil field workers.
We have a helium plant in Cheyenne Wells.
PETER: A proudful icon of the town,
fair to say?
-With very good security.
PETER: Do you need security out here?
I hope not but we have it.
PETER: Oh, this is what goes on
in schools these days, huh?
-You have security?
-Yep.
[door opens]
-Didn’t know that.
-Yep, that’s the way.
AMY: Hey Carla.
CARLA: Hello, what’s going on?
AMY: This is Peter,
and I don’t remember your last name.
PETER: Hi Carla, Santenello.
AMY: I wonder if we can go in the gym.
All right, we’re gonna
get back out to the ranch soon
but I wanted to show you
the vibe of Kit Carson.
I mean this is amazing
that you have this out here.
This is the old schools.
This was a school that was torn down
to build this new school
and then that was the school prior.
But there was all these
little farm schools that people went to.
In, like, the country
<Okay, one school room?
<Oh, wow.
-What a court.
-So this is what’s cool.
AMY: The state championships.
AMY: Isn’t that fun? So awesome.
PETER: There’s more stands
than population of the town.
AMY: Although I will say we watch
Colorado Pep Rally on 9 News.
A lot of times we beat out
the big schools in terms of…
Because it’s the social gathering,
it is the thing to do?
It is, and then because
everyone supports everyone.
Okay.
So somebody who hasn’t had
kids in the school for decades
will still come to events.
PETER: Your daughter Tess?
AMY: Was managing
and then Haley, number 11…
right there, and number 3 right there.
-Isn’t that fun?
-Proud mom?
Yeah totally.
PETER: Built for $240,000,
sold for $110,000
So this is money
that’s not making money obviously?
Right, that’s why you gotta have grants.
It doesn’t work otherwise.
get people in the town?
-‘Cause your population’s going down?
-Yeah, and keep ’em here.
Two more houses
coming in on this site.
-Right here.
-Right here.
PETER: So you guys are really trying
to keep this population up?
Yep, because what happens is
everything in rural America
was built around the turn of the century.
Like when the railroads came out
towns popped up…
<Mm-hmm.
You know, you got your saloon,
you got your mercantile
you got your houses built
at the turn of the century.
Nobody really built since then.
So these houses are
all of a sudden 100 years old
and if they haven’t been kept up
they’re falling apart.
PETER: Well that’s cool, funky.
AMY: Isn’t that cool?
We did this park.
GOCO Park.
GOCO is lottery losers.
Lottery money in Colorado.
Lottery losers built that park.
money from the lottery went to that park?
Yeah, yeah.
[laughing]
Yeah, exactly.
PETER: What’s this building?
AMY: So this is going to be
a business incubator.
We’ve got two commercial spaces
and then an office for shared work space.
All built with grant money and donations.
So we got a barbecue restaurant
coming in here.
Over there, retail, and then
the shared work space on the other end.
Isn’t it gorgeous?
Yes, local guy that makes great barbecue.
Russ Watson.
It’s just so great in a small town
because when the kids graduate
they literally set up
tables outside the gym.
<Okay.
It’s like when you go to a wedding
and there’s a table
and you put your gift on the table.
Each kid has their own table
and by the end of graduation
they’re covered in gifts
from the whole community.
It’s the coolest thing.
some kids never been on a plane.
Yeah.
And they get to go on a sneak trip
where they will fly, go somewhere.
Hey, Brenda.
AMY: This is Peter.
PETER: How ya doing, Jeremy?
AMY: And I can never say his last name,
he has a YouTube thing
and he came out to do something
with Flying Diamond.
Oh.
So I picked him up at Flying Diamond
and I’m taking him back to Flying Diamond.
So I could show him Kit Carson
and I said, “There’s the mayor.”
AMY: And I said, “Right there.”
PETER: Can I ask a question or two?
JEREMY: Sure.
PETER: All right.
[laughing]
PETER: We have the great privilege
to meet up with the mayor of Kit Carson.
-Where’s your security apparatus?
-Yeah, right?
This is your driver?
How are things out here in town lately?
Good.
It rained, everybody’s happy.
[laughing]
AMY: That is definitely true.
JEREMY: That’s a good thing.
PETER: And next election
will Amy be your running mate?
JEREMY: She can’t she don’t live in town.
AMY: I don’t live in town.
PETER: I’m done with you, Amy.
[laughter]
What have I been hanging out with you for?
AMY: No future.
[all laughing]
PETER: Kit Carson wannabe.
[all laughing]
Thank you, sir.
[birds chirping]
AMY: This is where my husband and I live.
This is where the ranch
was founded, 1907.
Original adobe house that was
built out of the soil.
I think from just over there, west.
They dug a hole and literally
dug the adobe blocks up.
My sister went through
a weird vegetarian phase
and we would slap one on her car
when she would come out.
PETER: The “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.”
-She loved it, huh?
-And then my daughter’s, CU.
She’s got it.
-That’s a common sticker at CU, right?
-Yes.
Boy, you’re looking fine.
[door creaks]
Lexie
Lexie.
Yeah, unless we break down
and keep all three.
I don’t think we will.
[chuckles]
You did so good, mama.
You did so good.
PETER: So these old Hacienda,
they just wrap around forever, huh?
And that’s us.
-And this is your room, that’s great.
-Yeah.
♪ country ♪
[birds chirping]
[doors close]
PETER: This is the legendary Fiona?
AMY: Hey Fiona.
-Peter, nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
AMY: So he’s yours now, he’s pretty game.
-It was lovely meeting you, fabulous.
-That was great, good time.
-Fiona, you gonna show us the ways here?
-Yes.
And firstly, you really interested me
because you came from Silicon Valley.
Palo Alto, right?
Redwood City, but two towns away.
-So yeah, basically.
-Okay, from Redwood City…
-To Kit Carson.
-To Kit Carson.
-That’s a story, we need to get into it.
-[giggles]
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Now back to the video.
You’ve bucked the trend let’s say
and moved from the urban
affluent area out to Kit Carson.
Yes.
To live the ranching life.
Yes.
I mean bring us into that, what happened?
I think it started just growing up
having parents that were really
d*mn good cooks.
Liked to eat good food.
We just always had a garden
and I liked being outside and whatnot.
Fast forward, I went to Cal Poly
which is the big ag school in California.
Worked on the ranch there.
Worked on the farm there
and kind of like got some experience.
I guess exposure outside
and really liked working with my hands.
This is definitely very
labor intensive work but just very…
This girl’s calving right there.
-Calving, can we see that?
-Yeah.
-So…
-I’ve never seen this process.
So you can see she has a hoof…
It would be like the calf
is diving off of a diving board.
You’re gonna come like this.
Head first so…
-Wait, through the sack there?
-Yes.
This is what Will and Lauren
were talking about.
You see a lot of life and death out here.
Yes.
You’re constantly seeing
things being born and things dying.
-I think… Yeah it’s…
-Or more birth?
Definitely a lot more birth
on the scale that we’re at
but I think
knowing where your food comes from
supporting that, and yeah,
being realistic with that are all…
We’re not here like,
“Oh, we’re trying to hurt our animals.”
or “I want this calf to die.”
or “I want this mom to die.”
We’re gonna do everything
in our power to help these girls.
These are heifers,
so these are first time moms.
It would be like
a teenager getting pregnant.
Their frame size is smaller.
It’s new foreign territory.
<Okay.
Could be confusing.
So we try to do anything we can to help.
So like last night there was a girl.
She’d been pushing for three hours
in the pasture, no action.
I brought her into the corral.
Still no action.
So I pulled that calf.
In nature she’s probably…
You pulled the calf, you just got
your hands in there and
-started going for it?
-Oh yeah, I can show you the pulling barn.
Where you put, it’s like little bracelets,
you put little straps on ’em
and then
it would be their front legs
and you’re pulling them out.
You wanna sync it up with her.
-We’re not trying to hurt her.
-Right.
So I’m pulling every time she’s pushing
and when she’s not I give her a break.
I keep tension but I’m giving her a break.
go back to Redwood City?
What’s the feelings
when you go back there?
Oh my gosh, I love
getting pampered by my mom.
I’m like, “Let’s go to my
favorite pizza restaurant, Festa.”
Let’s go… Target is five minutes away
and all of that is just…
Yeah, it’s a trade off.
Like here…
I can have my dog outside and never
worry that they’re going anywhere
they don’t need a leash.
-I don’t need…
-This guy?
A doggie bag… Carlos, no.
I mean I moved out here and
I didn’t know anyone in the community.
<How’d they take you in?
I think I’m just a really friendly person
but there used to be
a liquor store in Kit Carson.
Okay.
And so we had the back room
and it was a room behind the liquor store
with like darts and ping pong.
And people would just come after work
and bring their own beer
and we’d just sit around
and kind of met people like that.
I met my neighbors and I like to garden.
So I’d always be out front of my house.
I’d have people drive by
and I’d offer them a beer.
I think I’m super fortunate there was
so many people in the community
that took me in and wanted to help me out.
Like Bob Mahan, who’s
like the OG Kevin Costner.
Like 85 year old that rides horses
better than anyone I know
and he just like wants to help me.
I’m rolling into my third season here.
So this is my third calving
at Flying Diamond.
would go back to another lifestyle?
I don’t think I’d ever move back to where
my mom’s house is in Redwood City.
I like how slow it is here.
I like how you can drive down the street
and I wave to everyone.
who is on the road here?
-100%, oh my gosh.
-Okay.
-We could drive into town.
-Yeah.
And I would wave
and tell you everyone’s name.
Everyone’s house that we pass.
I like that.
I like the fact that you can
go to the feed store and I can
talk to Brent
and shoot the sh*t with him and
then I’m like,
“Charge it to Flying Diamond.”
Not that that affects me but…
There’s just these relationships in
the community that you don’t get I think
or you have to try harder
when you live in the city.
♪ country ♪
[four wheeler]
Oh my gosh, we had a fire last week.
I was the one that spotted the fire.
[music continues]
I think this is cool.
So you can see this red white face mom,
219 and the calf 219 sucking.
I think it’s cool when you
come out to the pasture
and there’s pairs
that are still paired up.
That’s what it should be.
These moms know what’s going on and
we’re here to help ’em but we’re trying
to do as minimal intervention as we can.
out here but any challenges?
Any times you’re ever questioning it?
Or you’re like 100% loving it?
Gosh, you really have to do
like a little planning
like Costco in the springs.
When I go to Costco I literally have stuff
in Costco for my fridge and freezer
that’s probably a month old.
We don’t have
a liquor store in Kit Carson.
-Yeah, I heard.
-Not to make this about drinking but…
Gosh, if you just want a beer
at the end of the day
and you have to drive 25 miles
it’s like, “Do I really want a beer?”
That’s a 50 mile round trip
that’s an hour of my time.
Maybe I’ll just go to sleep now,
it’s 8:00 PM.
With gas prices that’s like a $15 beer.
I’m telling you it’s like I’ll just
go to sleep now
and then I just don’t need the beer.
-This is a real thing.
-So there’s AA…
<There’s cold turkey, or Kit Carson.
[both chuckling]
Yeah, right?
-That’s how you quit.
-I don’t know you haven’t met my friends
in Kit Carson, they like to drink.
-They go to Costco and stock up?
-Yeah, exactly.
-Amazon delivers.
-Okay.
The post office is great.
We know Jen at the post office.
-Shout out to Jen.
-Shout out to Jen.
[both laughing]
Oh, let me tell you a story.
Kit Carson has around
200-something people.
Our post office is open
from 8:00 to 12:00 every day.
Wild Horse,
there’s seven folks that live there
and their post office is open
from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm every day.
-Seven people?
-Seven people.
But that’s because the Loretta Lynn
fan club used to be out of Wild Horse
and they would get so much fan mail that
they had to keep it open because
there was just so much volume coming in.
-It’s no longer the case.
-Okay, big time rookie question…
Who’s Loretta Lynn?
Oh, she’s like an old country singer.
-Okay, okay.
-Yeah.
I think it’s important
when you come to a new community
whether it’s in the city,
whether it’s in tiny-a** Kit Carson
you have to make an effort
to integrate yourself.
So like me being on
the volunteer EMS department
I’m meeting folks that way
that I’m working with.
Like my crew members
and then folks that we go
and help in the community
or like being on the ranch
and going to other folk’s brandings.
Holy smokes, that is
such a communal event out here.
It’s like families cook and prepare
a meal for everyone that’s helped all day
and you go and help
your neighbor and vice-versa.
They’ll come to your branding
and help you.
Whether that’s a labor thing,
whether that’s a social thing
whether that’s a family thing.
I could move out here
and I could be miserable
and I could just go to work.
I work by myself, go home and whatever.
Do my own thing
but gosh, this community, I think
some of the preconceived notions
or political views
or family ties…
Everyone knows everyone.
It’s a small town but I just remember…
Oh my gosh, I moved out here.
My neighbor comes up to my door.
Knocks on my door and was like
“Oh, are you the lesbian from California?”
I was like…
“Well I’m from California and…”
“Whatever, but that’s not my cup of tea.”
“No, I think you’re mistaking me
with someone else.”
and he goes, “No, no, no.”
“My daughter saw you walking
around town holding hands with some girl.”
and I was like
“No, I literally just moved here.”
“I don’t know anyone.”
Well this was actually my mom.
Was out here helping me move out.
We were walking around at night.
Just going for a nightly stroll
when it cooled off
and this quickly turns into
“Oh, the new lesbian from California
is in Kit Carson.”
Like spins way out of control and…
Like it would be easy for me to just…
Whatever.
Not…
I don’t know, just, I think
saying, “Hey, I’m not here to judge you
or have different views
or have the same views.”
I think saying, “Get to know me
and then make an opinion about me.”
I think that’s so important.
Like coming out into
a new environment and being open.
<Yeah.
You have to be open and maybe…
<Well, there’s two ways of doing it.
You move into a new environment
and you don’t do what you’re saying.
Right.
And you try to push
whatever on other people
or you move into a new environment
and you try to get into it
and respect it for what it is, right?
Yeah, I don’t need to be
changing all my political views
or changing
everything that I do on the weekend.
And what are my new hobbies?
And what do I like to eat?
It’s not like that but, yeah…
I think respecting it is so important.
Like gosh
I think a lot of folks
could come here and be like
“Oh, I have more money.”
or “I know how to do this better.”
or “I went to this university and I could
educate you and tell you about that.”
I think that is like
the most dangerous thing.
We live in a country where
you’re not gonna get prosecuted
for having the opposing viewpoint.
However, whatever… Crazy things are right now.
It’s like it’s okay to have
a different opinion
but gosh, if I’m learning
or it could be a conversation
versus I’m gonna talk down to you.
<Right.
Or be condescen…
Oh my gosh, the condescending bullsh*t.
Like, miss me with that.
[chuckles]
I rode a horse for the first time
basically when I came out here.
I was like, “Gosh, if I hate it,
I do eight months, I don’t have a family.”
“I don’t have a house.
I don’t have a mortgage.”
“I don’t have kids.”
“If I hate it I get a great experience.”
“I get to work hard, I get to learn a new
skill set or at least dip my toes in it.”
and whatever…
I got an offer for a farm in Pescadero.
Which is right by Santa Cruz.
On the coast at this awesome place
that I’ve always just loved
and it was like
do I go to Kit Carson or Pescadero?
And I was like, I don’t know.
It’s like stepping out of
your comfort zone and I think…
the easy move for you?
Yeah, it is.
when I moved overseas.
<I’m like,
“If it doesn’t work I can move back.”
Right, it’s not the end of the world.
It’s just… [sighs]
where if you didn’t do it
that exposure, where the lessons come.
Right.
Something that you made me
think about when I go home is
the homeless folks
and not that there’s a raging homeless
community in Redwood City by any means.
But in Kit Carson
there are no homeless folks.
Like, A: There isn’t much
for these folks to be giving them
and then B: The weather is so gnarly.
Whether it’s 110F in the summer
and negative 20F in the winter.
You’d be tough living out here
but also…
I live on the highway
and my vehicle is unlocked.
The keys are in it most of the time.
And yeah, stuff happens
but gosh, I know
the sheriff in the county.
I know the deputies
and anybody that lives out here
is I’d say for the most part,
like just a good person.
No one’s out here trying to
pull a fast one on you.
[both giggling]
I think 90-95% of ranches in the US
are family owned and operated.
This in a big sense,
is a traditional operation.
I think we’re very progressive.
Which is why I’m excited to be here.
But traditional in the sense that
cow, calf, the females
are gonna stay on the ranch
and then they’re gonna get the opportunity
to have a calf every year and be a cow.
And then the males are gonna…
Yeah, at some point go off the ranch
and then be fed out under three years old.
I think people think you just
grab a little calf
and it just starts eating corn from
day one and that’s what grain-fed means.
I think most of the time
it’s like 140 days in the feed yard.
And that’s the last chunk of its life.
You couldn’t put any of those calves
on corn from day one.
Their digestive system, it’s like a baby.
You couldn’t just, say,
start eating meat and potatoes.
They drink breast milk
and then you slowly ween them like we do.
Ween them off of that, okay,
we start with mashed up potato
or baby food that’s soft or smoothies.
And then it goes into,
“Oh, we’ll try Cheerios.”
I don’t really know what babies eat but…
The demonization of like,
“Oh, it’s so this.” or “It’s so bad.”
I think a funny thing is everyone
is raving about “Oh, Wagyu steak this…”
“It’s so this. It’s so that.”
It’s so delicious because
it’s been in the feed yard
probably for, I don’t know, double
or triple the time of most steak and so…
Are those areas
where the cows are packed in.
Just feeding, right?
Before they go to the slaughter house.
[gate clanking]
Yeah, I’d say a feed yard
basically looks like this
and they have feed bunks that run lines
and there’s trucks that come and…
The cows have been out
in the feed yard longer?
Yes, I’d say generally, yes.
It’s like Wagyu beef.
I wouldn’t say like,
“Oh man, that cow was on this or on…”
I’d say their finishing ration
was up here.
They’re finishing for
way more than 140 days.
They get so fat they have cowboys
that ride those pens
because they get so fat they
can’t stand up and they gotta pull ’em up.
Yeah!
But I think people have
this dissociation with…
Yeah, I think everyone wants to be
the good person and look good.
“Oh, I eat my grass-fed.”
or “Oh, I eat my this or my that.”
but they don’t actually care
or maybe they just don’t take
the steps to know what it means.
The label “grass-fed”
doesn’t mean anything.
Every single animal is grass-fed.
<Okay, okay.
“Grass finished” is a label
that I think means something
because most thing is
grass-fed, grain-finished.
I’d say that’s conventional,
that’s what’s in your Safeway.
That’s what’s in your Whole Foods.
And organic is the same way.
You can have organic that’s fed
organic grain and finished out
or it could just be on pasture
and that pasture
could be certified organic.
[gate clanking]
They would walk in through there
and then you would shut this.
So then the girl is in this pen
and then you pull this here
and she gets head caught here.
PETER: Hmm.
[gate crashes]
And then this is cool because you can
[gate clanking]
open it like this and…
help pull her calf.
This is gonna keep her up
so she doesn’t lay down.
We’re not trying to hurt them,
we’re trying to help ’em.
FIONA: Hey girl.
PETER: Wow.
FIONA: Fresh little guy.
PETER: How does mom feel right now?
FIONA: I think it’s a good mom.
She’s protective,
she’s aware that we’re here.
[calf mooing]
She’s aware that there’s a dog behind us.
She’s like, “Hey, this is my baby.”
However, she’s not aggressive.
I think there’s a very big difference.
[calf mooing]
You want them to be protective
but she’s not up here kicking up dirt.
She’s not eyes locked on us.
She’s like,
“Hey, I wanna lick you off little baby.”
[mooing]
FIONA: Let’s see.
Kinda looks like the
calf’s face is already out.
Oh, there you go,
that’s the calf sticking out of her.
[mooing]
FIONA: 240.
What a great adventure today.
Another lesson.
Another new experience
and
I think what I gather the most
out of this is understanding.
Understanding a different way of life,
a different way of looking at things.
I feel good intentions out here.
I feel people that are in touch
with their land and their animals
and
I know for some
it’s a controversial issue.
Farming, meat…
But I would ask
you just try to understand it more.
That’s what I’m always trying to do
in every one of these videos
and every experience,
is try to get a better understanding.
To see the perspective.
Where people are coming from.
And I want to mention two things.
One, the Flying Diamond Ranch
has an amazing website.
I know they sell cattle, other things.
Check out their link below
in the description.
Also, I have a mailing list.
I would love for you to be part of it.
Some behind the scenes stuff.
Some other information
that ties into the content.
Link below, sign up for that
and thank you so much
for coming on this journey.
Until the next one.
♪ country ♪

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