Ranchers brace for blizzard heading to Colorado

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ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. — Ranchers on the plains are bracing for the blizzard expected to move through Colorado this week.

The winds that howl across the plains here are no stranger to the folks at the Abbot Ranch, just outside Kiowa in Elbert County.

But now, blizzard like conditions are in the forecast and owner Cevey Pennington is bracing for the worst.

His job before the storm is to protect his herd of cattle.

Pennington said, “The wind is huge. That’s my biggest concern because they get chilled. it’s just like us. When the wind blows it blows right through ya….the cows can take it pretty good. The calves are what will suffer a little bit.”

Winds here are forecast to blow as strong as 65 miles an hour.

Mix that with rain and several inches of snow and conditions can be life threatening.

“This is what we do for a living. This is our livelihood. This is every from paying the mortgage on this ranch to feeding my family…” said Pennington.

The Pennington’s are also preparing a bed of hay in a creek bed.

The lower elevation provides a break from the wind. Plenty of feed is key here, too.

Cauy Pennington, Cevey’s son said, “We just gotta feed ’em so their bellies are full. It just really helps em so if the storm does hit… they’ll be able to go without feed for a little bit longer than usual.”

The storm, if it comes, will not be their first rodeo.

They’re prepared to ride into blizzard – as they have before – to save newborn calves from Mother natures fury. On this day, the Pennington’s will work til the sun goes down.

There is lots to do save a hundred calves and their mothers. No time for complaining.

The Pennington’s say their storm preps must be ready before the sun goes down Tuesday.

Time is ticking as the blizzard heads this way.

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