A winter campaign created for outdoor retailer Filson.
Perhaps no other image visually captures the idea of the American spirit as the horse mounted cowboy. It is a legacy of the West that has endured by nature of the hard work and craftsmanship of ranchers across the country. It is an icon immune to cliche, as the cowboy has adapted and persevered through changing landscapes and industrial advances; a struggle shown proudly on their calloused hands.
One word sums up the cowboy; a timeless label for a timeless profession: Genuine.
The Walchuk Ranches
Pete Walchuk originally homesteaded in Ronan, MT in the 1930s, raising cattle and horses. Earlier, the family had homesteaded in Malta, MT, but a severe winter nearly starved the family, and facilitated a move. In their new home, conditions were still difficult, and Pete wound up distilling and selling moonshine to provide food for the family. These days, the Walchuk family operates two ranches in the region. The Hereford cows raised on the ranches are the same bloodline of cows raised by Pete in the 30s. For this family, ranching is a tradition.
Ronan, MT, a town of fewer than 2,000 people is situated on the Flathead Indian Reservation, and serves as the agricultural center of the Mission Valley. Once called Spring Creek, the name was changed in 1893 to honor Major Peter Ronan, superintendent of the Reservation. The Mission Mountains are a common backdrop for ranchers in the region.
These days, more than ever, it’s hard to make a living ranching. And while many people have to take on several jobs to make ends meet, they choose to continue ranch work. It’s not just a tradition or a way of life; it’s in their blood.
VIDEO: BROTHER (Dan Windsor, Nolan Grose)
PHOTO: Zach Doleac, Travis Gillett
STYLE: Teo Griscom
MY CONTRIBUTION: Creative, concept development, producer, location art director, writer