The Colorado Ranching Glove
The eastern plains of Colorado is peaceful and I remember it that way as a kid. The sky is magnified here and stretches on an endless, deep blue canvas; spotted with clusters of cotton clouds and distant thunderhead. In the right conditions, the land looks like a sheet of gold wrinkled into flowing hills, knit together with farms, ranches and wheat fields. As a kid I always wanted to be a cowboy and spend my life riding horses in this dreamscape. As an adult, I ended up in the city with this image in my mind. A year and a half ago my wife and I had twins and one of my favorite activities is driving them, while they sleep to the wind-swept lands of the Colorado grasslands. I didn’t realize it until recently, but this was my chance to be part of the plains again as an adult. It was the motivation for our second glove design, the Buffalo Leather Colorado Ranching glove.
Ranching has a long-storied tradition in Colorado and not just on the eastern plains. Ranching in the arid part of northern Colorado boomed after the civil war in a time referred to as the “Beef Bonanza”. Demand for meat increased in places like Chicago and Kansas City as economic growth expanded. During that time a calf from the overstocked Texas market sold for $4. Ranchers could raise cattle on the free “public domain” (open range) until maturity; which took 4-5 years at which point they could sell for $40 - $50 a head. A large number of failed gold miners already in Colorado became ranchers during this time, making their fortune in ranching.
In 1882, while ranching in the mountains was not ideal it emerged on the western slope out of necessity. The flat lands between Texas and Montana were being fenced off for farming and there were abundantly nutritious grass lands in Grand county. The lands were considered “open range” until the 1930s making branding of the utmost importance. During this time a lot of cows from different farms would intermingle and your brand was the only way to organize the cattle.
Ranching gloves go back as far as the profession itself. An accessory of the upmost importance, this product protects the ranchers most valuable tool, hands. Made from 1mm thick, full grain water buffalo, our design is 3 times stronger than cow hide, more durable, has a higher tear resistance and ages with the owner. In addition, we added an extra piece of leather to the palm and reduced the wrist profile. This glove is not lined and is so strong it almost feels stretchy when you first put it on.
We designed this glove as an ode to farmers, ranchers and the history of this uniquely beautiful lifestyle.
- Jeremy Dougherty, founder of Maroon Bell Outdoor
Sources: Reyher, Ken. High Country Cowboys. Montrose: Western Reflections Publishing Company, 2002.
Peters, Aaron. Cattle Drives & Trail Drivers. 2003. 8 Mar. 2008
The New Empire of the Rockies: A History of Northeast Colorado BLM Cultural Resources Series (Colorado: No. 16) Chapter IV, The Rancher's Frontier https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/blm/co/16/chap4.htm
Photo Credit: Unsplash Joe Pilger