Comrade Cowboy, in Pictures


Parts 1 and 2 of the three-part feature, "Comrade Cowboy," appeared in the July and August issues of Western Horseman. The story chronicles how a Montana rancher is working to establish a large-scale, Western cattle operation in Russia. Darrell Stevenson sent more than 1,400 cows to the former communist nation last January. Relying on a crew of American cowboys and a string of seasoned ranch geldings, Stevenson contends with a multitude of challenges in starting his Russian ranch.

The photos below illustrate Stevenson's ambitious endeavor, as well as document the adventure of freelance writer and photographer Ryan T. Bell.

Kraig Sweeney works horseback at Stevenson Sputnik last winter.Darrell Stevenson with his daughter, Claire, on their ranch in Montana in the summer of 2010.In Chicago, crate of Stevenson's Black Angus cows is loaded onto a 747 cargo airplane, bound for Russia.Cows walk through a snowy pasture in Russia last winter.Matt Gravely (left) and Sweeney doctor a cow last winter.Sweeney heads into the frigid night air to find more newborn calves. In part 2, the crew works frantically to save an onslaught of calves born during an intense snowstorm.Using a small sled, Gravely drags a newborn toward the warmer calving barn.In addition to writing and photographing the experience, Bell worked alongside Stevenson's crew. He even took a break to dance with a local Russian lady one evening.Bell rides into the snowy landscape of Russia. The Montana writer, photographer and outfitter returned to Russia this past summer. Bell will write about the experience in part 3 of Comrade Cowboy.


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