Twenty Miles of Fence

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Twenty Miles of Fence

Blueprint of a Cowboy

Bob West with Janet Fogg

228 pages
16 photographs, 5 illustrations

Paperback

March 2023

978-1-4962-3357-8

$19.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Twenty Miles of Fence recounts a decade of transformation when Bob West, a westerner at heart, decided to escape the pretense of his unfulfilling architectural life and to become, quite simply, a cowboy. A cowboy?

That old cliché about biting off more than you can chew fittingly describes the lessons learned when West and his family bought the Devil’s Washtub Ranch in Wyoming. Already owning two horses, housed in a stylish stable on five acres near the yuppie haven of Boulder, Colorado, West soon discovered that ownership of two horses does not equal twenty miles of fence, 3,200 deeded acres, 400 BLM acres, 154 head of black angus, two and a half miles of the North Laramie River—and what would become for him the very best of times. Little did West know how those years would test him, inspire him, and lead him back to his true character.

Author Bio

A third-generation Coloradoan, Bob West was an award-winning architect with thirty-five years of design and architectural firm management when he retired in 2015. He is now an accomplished rancher and cowboy, raising Scottish Highland cattle. Janet Fogg is an award-winning author or coauthor of eight books, including Soliloquy and Fogg in the Cockpit: Howard Fogg—Master Railroad Artist, World War II Fighter Pilot.

Praise

“You can take an architect out of Boulder, but can you make him a cattle rancher in Wyoming? Twenty Miles of Fence answers that question in gritty, unflinching detail. A searing, adventurous memoir about the cold, hard realities of pursuing the cowboy way.”—Mark Stevens, author of the Allison Coil Mystery series

“If you ever doubt that Wyoming is not for the weak, Twenty Miles of Fence will dispel you of that notion, with writing so vivid you’ll shiver at the January blizzards, smell the fresh-cut summer hay, and hear the river rushing on a cool evening. The reader is treated to an unfiltered look at what real cattle ranching is like, without the romance and legend. Bob West’s transformation from greenhorn to a man in tune with the land and animals shows grit and determination much like the landscape itself. This is a true story of homecoming, an unflinching look at the seemingly insurmountable challenges and the ultimate triumph.”—Shannon Baker, award-winning author of the Kate Fox Mystery series

Twenty Miles of Fence won me over. It is a charming story that is candid and open about the author’s fears, passions, loves, disappointments, and the growing-up lessons that came along the way. It will delight a wide range of readers, including those from the West and far beyond.”—Richard L. Knight, professor emeritus of wildlife conservation at Colorado State University

“Colorado architect Bob West was already half qualified for cowboy life when he bought a Wyoming ranch. He loved vast wild spaces, enjoyed hours on horseback, and had a deep respect for the land, its people, and creatures. The other half—backbreaking labor, a surprising reliance on machinery, gleefully fickle weather, and finances that rarely penciled out—he learned the hard way. Learn he did, and it’s a testament to West’s spirit that he held on. The take on ranch life in Twenty Miles of Fence, written with Janet Fogg, is both unsparing and yet so lyrical as to make readers yearn to give it a try themselves.”—Gwen Florio, author of the award-winning Lola Wicks Mystery series
 

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. The Bump in the Road
2. The Devil’s Washtub Ranch
3. Two Boys with Sticks
4. Our Search
5. The Best of Times
6. Funeral Music
7. Never Buy a Used Bull
8. A Bouncing Baby Bull
9. Everything’s Fine Except My Pride
10. Big River, Big Trouble
11. Horse Tradin’
12. Money Money
13. The Meeting
14. An Honest-to-God Roundup!
15. The Trout Whisperers
16. The Sale Barn
17. Scours, Scours, Scours
18. The Boys from Boulder
19. Murphy’s Law
20. Independence Day!
21. Bull Rider
22. Feeding Time!
23. A Red-Tailed Hawk
24. Buffalo Dance
25. The Boys from Boulder Return
26. The Calf
27. Zip
28. Midnight Visitor
29. Snake Snapping
30. The Boy Scout Camp
31. Number 72
32. Tepee Rings and Tools of Flint
33. Boobs!
34. Developers
35. Change
36. Road Trip
37. A Blizzard Is Coming
38. More Than Fishing
39. A Good Life
Afterthoughts
Bibliography

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