Celebrating Generations

In 2014, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival begins a three-year program “Celebrating Generations.” The goal is to listen, learn, share and save the memories of our western families — dreamers, all of them, who live and work the land and are the keepers of open space.  

The year begins by honoring the visionaries, those first families who found a piece of western land that matched their dreams. They made it home, made it their life’s work, cared for it and fed the country from its bounty. Their stories are those of the first settlers who never gave up on their dreams. Their stories tell us of what used to be and why they stayed. There is an urgency to listen and collect their memories.

The second year we follow families into today’s hardworking second and third generations, the landowners of today who survive depressions, droughts, fires, pressures of a rapidly developing west that can put them out of business in a heartbeat. Can they hold onto the family vision of open spaces and working landscapes around them against demands their parents could never have foreseen? What are their stories of triumphs and loss?

The third year we look at the next and future generation. Will they hold onto the dream of their parents and grandparents or find an easier life for themselves? They have struggled along side of parents and grandparents, moving cattle, cutting hay. Do they share the dream? Is a life in ranching moving into the 21st century with a new appeal and challenges or just the same old fears? And what are the childhood memories of the generations before them who stayed? What does it mean to be raised a child on the land? Where is the dream and what does it look like today? Please join us and bring your families!