Chico Basin Ranch

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch


The Chico is an 87,000 acre cattle ranch on the eastern plains of Colorado. Its sprawling ranges of short grass and sandsage prairie, spring-fed lakes, and creeks are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Ranchlands, the Chico also offers education, farming, recreation, sporting, arts, and hospitality programs.

July 1, 2014


The cholla cactus just started to bloom last week. At first you just would see one flower here and there, but after a few days, there were blossoms everywhere. They don’t last very long, but the bright, purple flowers are pretty astounding against the blue skies, and offer a contrasting color to the greens and golds of the prairie. 

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June 28, 2014


The summer solstice was here and now behind us.  It’s still dry, but we always forget that June is mostly like that, and how it also brings the heat on.  Michael is on vacation with his family on a lake somewhere, I’m pretty sure.  Thinking of him, reminds of cool places, like the mountains where the streams are beginning to slow down as the winter snow fields melt. We are seeing pronghorn females loitering alone in the pastures; we’ll soon

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June 26, 2014

More Babies

Yesterday, Amy and I wrangled the broodmares from the north part of the ranch to bring them to new pasture.  We stopped by headquarters to look through them and inspect the new foals. There are still a few more to go but so far they are all healthy and vibrant. Here’s a shot of Amy petting a young one that decided to nap before going back out. 

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June 18, 2014

Back in the Saddle

It’s a busy time of year on the Chico. We are still branding calves, sorting dry cows and turning out bulls for the summer breeding season. That all translates to a lot of riding and roping, my favorite things. But we’ve also been busy preparing and hosting for the concert last weekend. It was a great event and fun for everyone but I’m happy to turn in my carpenter’s tool belt for a little while. This shot is my view

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June 17, 2014

Steve Earle and the Dukes

Steve Earle and the Dukes (the name of his band). What a show last Saturday night.   What a party!  Duke Beardsley was here and we joked about how the three Dukes should have cornered Steve E. and taken a photo of Steve and the Dukes.  Would have been fun.  I kept thinking about how much time and energy and money it took to put this show on, and then when the cars started streamed down the road coming at

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June 9, 2014

Ranch Roundup

Bird banding, bison babies, lambing and more branding kept both the Zapata crew and the Chico crew busy this May.

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June 3, 2014

Hoping for Rain

The little green up we experienced in April and May is dwindling fast.  The only bright spot is moss growing in the water trough where the bulls are drinking, in the photo.  We were taking them to the Long Branch pasture, staging them for turn out with the cows June 15.  Big thunderstorms have missed us as of the last several days; people in town raise their eyebrows when I tell them how dry its getting, “Why we’ve been getting

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May 29, 2014

Steve Earle and the Dukes

With less than 3 weeks until the Steve Earle & The Dukes concert at Chico Basin, we are busy tidying up the venue. The first of this year’s Ranchlands Concerts will take place in the stunning Bell Park on the north part of Chico Basin Ranch in a grassy meadow surrounded by cottonwood trees with perfect views of Pikes Peak. The concert is a benefit for our education program and will include a bonfire, food by Western Daughters, American Grind

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May 27, 2014

Prairie Dog Pups

Our prairie dog town in the south part of the Chico Basin Ranch is currently overflowing with pups.

May 26, 2014

Down Heifer

This heifer has been getting breakfast in bed for the past several days, although I’m sure she would rather be out enjoying grass with her fellow herd mates.