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☛ YIPPIE KA-YAY, THE RUSSIAN WAY-11-5-18

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, FEATURE ARTICLES, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

YIPPIE KA-YAY, THE RUSSIAN WAY

 By Rick Dennis
Information derived from The New York Times and Valuets Journal
Nov. 5, 2018

Quietly secluded in the Russian interior, amid Russia’s wilderness fabric is a seldom heard of but emerging new industry modeled after the United States economy and the cowboy way of life. That new industry is the Russian beef industry.

Russian Company Rustles Up Cowboys To Help Beef Up Demand For Steaks

The firm Miratorg is building an American-style beef steak industry from scratch. To make it work, it has to import everything from the cows, to the feed — right down to importing American cowboys. And now we have a story from Russia of a massive effort to import something that’s very, very American. Russia has lots of open land, which is good for grazing cattle, but steak remains something of a foreign idea. So one company is trying to single-handedly build a steak industry from scratch in Russia – importing American cows, importing American grass, saddles, horses, and even importing American cowboys.

 

Russians Learn the Ways of the Cowboy From American Ranch Hands

 VALUETS, Russia — A visibly tiring but stubborn Aberdeen Angus cow sank all of her four feet in the rich black mud of central Russia, refusing to budge. Try as they might, the two Russians yanking on the rope lassoed around her wide, wet neck could not pull that massive body out of the icy December slush.

 

The cowboys on this new Russian ranch here still have a few things to learn. And unlearn. In a throwback to the old Soviet way of doing things, while the two were trying to move the recalcitrant cow, four others were standing idly by shouting advice.

 

Watching the greenhorns from afar was Ashley Chester Corlett, one of 10 American trainers brought in by the ranch’s owner, the Miratorg company. It chose them over Brazilians and Australians in large part because of the similarity between the climate in Wyoming and central Russia, where temperatures can drop to 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 29 Celsius).

“At first people always want to use pressure to handle the cattle and don’t realize how much like a predator they seem to the cow,” said Mr. Corlett, a thickset fourth-generation cowboy from Riverton, Wyo. “If you want to get the best out of that cow, you have to understand how it thinks. It opens so much understanding.”The aspiring cowboys also have to get used to working long days in harsh conditions, a concept that often seems novel to many of them.

 

“Working here is hard. Many people cannot stand it, especially the need to stay sober,” said Viktor P. Buivolov, who installed elevators in Moscow before becoming the manager of the ranch. “We even have a Breathalyzer here,” he said, navigating a Russian UAZ Patriot sport utility vehicle through a herd of cattle.

 

Agriculture all but disappeared from this and many other parts of Russia years ago, after the final screw was turned into scrap metal at the last surviving Soviet collective farms. But as oil prices have collapsed and Russia has imposed retaliatory sanctions against Western food products, reviving the economy with import substitution has become a priority for the Kremlin. President Vladimir V. Putin has said Russia has the potential to become a world leader in food production, and has set a goal of self-sufficiency by 2020.

 

Russian Cowboys Learn To Wrangle A Brand New Beef Industry

 As far as rodeos go, everything resembles an American rodeo, but the proceedings were just a little different. No swords here, but plenty of horses. And tons of people who came to watch. They brought signs and applauded their teams as they struggled to rope steers in the arena.

 

The Russian Rodeo embodied more than entertainment. It was a cacophonous celebration of a fledgling beef industry clawing its way into the Russian countryside. It was also part of a larger national goal to gain self-sufficiency with food production.

 

By copying the structure of Western beef operations, Miratorg skipped more steps. Miratorg is single-handedly trying to create an American-style beef industry, but in a very condensed time period. It now has about 400,000 cows, the largest herd in the world. The company has had to build fences in a country without any, to train veterinarians, and to also import everything from horses and grass seed to tractors. But the hardest part of managing this immense operation is not the science or the planning.

 

It’s finding workers. Cowboys. So the company imported some of them, too. One of them, Shawn Weekes, has been in Russia for two years. He’s a fourth-generation, Montana-born cowboy with a great, big mustache, Western boots, a hat, and a tucked in button up shirt. “I grew up doing this,” he said. “A rope was actually my first toy.

 

“He’s worked on ranches all over the U.S. but the growth of Miratorg, from zero to the largest herd in the world, stood apart. “I’ve never seen anything grow this fast. Ever. And sometimes it kind of set me back a little bit, like, whoa, let’s slow this train down a little bit. But this is their program and this is what they want, so I just try to help them,” Weekes said.

 

His job is teaching locals to cowboy. The new hires, mostly young men from nearby villages, have no experience. Most of them have only seen cowboys in black and white movies. Miratorg now employs 1,000 Russian cowboys, though they call them ‘operators. “The difference is they’re starting out from scratch, there’s only a handful of us here to teach all these people how to do this,” he said.

 

Which ever way the Russian beef industry turns out, I’m sure the American beef industry and entrepreneurs supporting this industry will have a boost in their sales economy.

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: richardedennis51@gmail.com
Website: http://www.richardedennis.net

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