Dave graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. degree in Animal Science in 1983 while Dawn graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1977 with a B.A. in Earth Science and minor in Business. While at CSU, Dave had an assignment to research which breed of cattle would work the best if he were to start a cow herd. After reviewing many breeds, he read about the Gelbvieh breed’s MARC data (1970’s) and became very excited about what the Gelbvieh breed had to offer – docility, milk, maternal qualities, and growth. He thought about a three breed rotation of Simmental, Gelbvieh, and Red Angus but settled on starting with registered Gelbvieh.
The Bowman’s purchased their first purebred Gelbvieh in the fall of 1983 from foundational breeders out of Colorado and Wyoming. For three and a half years, they grew their Gelbvieh herd near Laramie, Wyoming at an elevation of 8,000 feet. Then in February of 1987, they moved with their 30 head of cattle to their current location in the Uncompahgre Valley near Olathe, Colorado and established Bow K Ranch.
A few purebred Angus cattle were added along the way along with Balancers (Gelbvieh x Angus – both Red Angus and Black Angus.)
Bow K Ranch is the home base where the cows are bred (artificially inseminated or herd sire bred), calved, hay produced, and intensive rotational grazing is implemented from mid-January to the end of June. From the end of June the pairs are moved to Ohio Creek out of Gunnison, Colorado starting at an elevation of 8,500 feet elevation and going up to 9,500 feet. The approximately 800 acres of mountainous terrain consists of sage brush, irrigated meadows, aspen and pine forests. In September the calves are weaned and shipped home while the cows remain in the Gunnison area until the snow gets too deep (usually around Thanksgiving).
Horses, trained Border Collies, four-wheelers, and people on foot are the different methods utilized in moving the cattle. The Bowman’s attended a Bud Williams Quiet Cattle Handling seminar and have been implementing these methods over the years which works very well.
Dave and Dawn are co-managers of the “Pot of Gold” Bull Sale which is the last Friday of February. They have been selling purebred Gelbvieh, Angus, and Balancer bulls in this sale for 27 years and the website is: www.gelbviehbulls.net.
The Bowman’s son, Andrew and his wife Sarah (with Kyanne four and a half years old) also run about 15 head of registered Gelbvieh and Balancer cattle. The pairs are run above Ridgeway, Colorado during the summer and fall.
They also own and operate Master’s Hand Training – training and boarding horses and giving riding lessons. Registered Border Collie pups are available one to two times a year. Their website is: www.mastershandtraining.com.