Hi! My name is Lissa. I run Blue Spoon Ranch located on beautiful Roger’s Mesa, near the small town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. I was born in the mid-1980s and was raised on my mother’s family ranch in Western Colorado. My father was a large animal veterinarian and while my parents raised me separately, I had enough cow experiences to know I had seen a plethora of cow rears to last me a lifetime. I loved all animals, however, I felt certain I was not meant to be a rancher. So, instead I pursued a career in nursing. While working as a nurse, I followed in my mother’s footsteps and became a single mama. I was beyond blessed by adopting 2 sisters from Ethiopia and 1 little boy from South Carolina.
As a nurse and a mom, I thought that I had fulfilled my dreams. Then the day came when my middle child’s medical needs required more of my time than I could give while working as a nurse. I quit my nursing job and returned to the family ranch as a hand, which gave me time to raise and care for my babies. I planned on returning to the nursing field when the time was right.
I didn’t anticipate that my family’s ranching heritage, I’m a 5th generation rancher, would come calling and change my life’s plan. For one reason or another my mother had tremendous faith in me. She knew that she had given me the lessons I needed, and she turned over the Angus cattle herd to me to manage. What I did with that Angus herd, assisted by the tremendous help and support of my mom and my 3 children, led to the creation of Blue Spoon Ranch. The final key came with the addition of a bull named Outspoken. Hang tight though, we’ll get to him in a minute.
While trying to get my footing during the early days of Blue Spoon Ranch, I tried raising several different kinds of cattle: Watusi, Brahman, Gyr, whatever face looked cute at the local sale barn. However, except for the Gyr, none really hit the mark for us. Then one Thursday, while walking through the corrals at the local sale barn with my mom and a ranching friend, we spotted a gorgeous bull. This bull had an unusual brindle hide and big horns, completely different than anything else we had seen. He also had big, sad eyes.
While my mom and our friend went inside, I walked over to the bull’s pen and looked him over. He was a good-looking bull, but I thought he looked on the older side. I thought that, depending on his price, I might bring him home to Blue Soon Ranch and give him a good last summer on pasture. Then, in the fall I could donate the meat to the food bank and have a great hide and horn mount. I went inside and told my mom and our friend my plan. Our friend replied “the bulls already went through. He’s sold.” I asked our friend if he knew who had purchased the bull. He answered with a head nod and the words “kill buyer”. The bull was going to be loaded onto a semi-truck with many other cattle and sent to a feed lot to be fed out and then processed. I was devastated. I couldn’t get the look in the bull’s eyes out of my head. This was not my idea of a good last summer for this beautiful animal. Or any animal for that matter.
I sat down and tried to watch the remaining animals that were going through the sales ring. My mind, however, kept drifting back to the longhorn bull. There was something special about this silly bull that I couldn’t let go. I was determined to talk with the gentleman who had made the highest bid. I strutted, while terrified and shaking in my boots, up to the gentleman and asked if I could buy the bull from him. He looked rather confused. I assumed he was wondering what some lady would want an old longhorn bull for. To my relief, he said “sure. You give me $100 and we’ll have them switch him to your number. You can pay the winning bid amount for him to the sale barn.”. Feeling very proud and sure of myself, we walked to the office, I claimed the bull, and I wrote a check. I then handed the gentleman $100, and the deal was done.
Later, while loading my new bull into the trailer for the ride home, I looked at his ear tag...which, for some reason, I had not done before. His birthdate and the name, “Outspoken”, were on the tag. He was only 2 years old! Now what was I, the brainiac lady, going to do with a young, athletic longhorn bull? Picture the proverbial head slap here.
When we arrived back at the ranch, I put the bull out with the Angus cows and kept my fingers crossed for a sellable calf crop. To my surprise, the next years calf crop was much better than anyone could have imagined. The calves were small at birth, which meant their mamas had no complications during delivery. The calves got up quickly, gained weight rapidly, and their coloring was spectacular. They had hybrid vigor, and fantastic temperaments. The meat quality was still unknown, but with fingers crossed again, I put Outspoken back out with the angus cows. We waited 9 more months for the following calf crop. Again, the calves were amazing.
During this time, I had studied and learned all I could about longhorns. Through this research I discovered my bull’s bloodlines. Turns out this sale barn bull came from some of the top genetics in longhorn history! This silly, can’t get him out of my head, bull was a 100% pure blooded longhorn royalty. Go figure! I also learned that the name “Outspoken” on his ear tag identified his mother and was not his name. However, we had called him Outspoken from day one and so it became his nick name. I worked with the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America to get this bull registered under the name “BSR Super Iron”, to pay respect to his dam, “EOT Super Outspoken” and his sire, the famous bull, “Drag Iron”.
Another thing I had learned while working with Outspoken was that he was truly a gentle giant. He loved head rubs and back scratches. I could sit on his back. I could move him from pen to field and back again on foot and by myself. He came when I called his name. He was a gentleman bull who rivaled all the rest!
Another 9 months later and it was decision time. I knew that Outspoken was an amazing bull with a fantastic attitude, heart of gold, and bloodlines that were top notch. However, it was time to discover what the meat he was producing was like. I took the first butcher-ready steer to the processer, and 2 weeks later my family and I sat down to a dinner of grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes, and rib steaks.
With fingers crossed again, we all took our first bite of steak. What we tasted was sweet, flavorful, tender, and juicy. The mouth feel was spot on, and the flavor was unlike any other meat we had ever tasted! The whole family swallowed, paused, and started laughing with delight. Because I’d been a strutting, shaking in my boots, brainiac who brought home this silly bull (the one who used to have sad eyes), we had produced the best dang grass-fed beef!
Blue Spoon Ranch produces the finest grass-fed and grass-finished beef that you can feed your family! (We also dabble with a few other meats and products for your enjoyment.) Our just under 100-acre ranch is home to three amazing kiddos, an amazing Grammy, an angus heard, one brainiac lady with a crazy idea and a lifetime of cow rears, a few overly chunky and spoiled, but oh so loved critters, and a giant bull that we call Outspoken.
Welcome and thanks for reading our story!