Family Run Operation for Over 50 Years
Trailing Cows at GDAR late 60's.
In 1950 Russell Denowh married Patricia Gartner, the oldest daughter of Joe Gartner, and the young couple moved to Sidney
to farm with Joe in 1951. Joe and Russ bought their first Angus bull in 1953. Gartner-Denowh Angus Ranch was born in 1957
when Joe and Russ bought twenty head of registered Angus cows from a dispersion sale in Montana. Since then the ranch has
grown, but the philosophy behind it hasn't changed. The main focus is still to raise efficient and functional cattle bred
for the commercial cattle operation.
Mick at halter with Russ
and regional manager Ray
Buchanin standing behind.
Joe and Russ started their program wanting to develop high maternal and performance cattle with good structural soundness.
Russ was a strong advocate of performance testing, and joined the Montana Beef Improvement Federation in 1957. GDAR later
started participating in Angus Herd Improvement Records, which is the program offered by the American Angus Association to this day.
Crowd at the 1st GDAR bull sale.
GDAR's first sale was held at the ranch in 1968. It was one of the first Angus ranches in Montana to offer yearling Angus bulls by auction.
Prior to 1968 bulls were sold by private treaty at the ranch.
1969 GDAR bull sale.
In 1974 Russ and his son Mick bought out Joe, but kept the corporate name. By this time GDAR was calving about 150 cows and selling around
60 bulls per year. Russ's other son, Paul, joined the operation in 1984.
The operation expanded in 1990 when the Blue Mountain Ranch was purchased. The ranch consists of around 13,000 acres of native range and is
used for summer grazing. With the addition of the Blue Mountain Ranch, GDAR expanded its herd to calve around 700 cows each year.
Building a Foundation Cow Herd
Rachel Rito 813 GDAR
Lady Forever 1100 GDAR
GDAR Rachel 5115
GDAR Rachel 817
GDAR Miss Blackbird 510
LT Forever Lady 395 GDAR
GDAR Forever Lady 718
GDAR Forever Lady 719
GDAR Forever Lady 98
GDAR Forever Lady 9300
GDAR SVF Forever Lady 226D
GDAR SVF Forever Lady 157C
GDAR Forever Lady 5E
Russ thought that efficient and functional females were very important. From day one GDAR has selected for females with lots of femininity,
high milk, eye appeal, and reproductive performance. They never wavered in their selection criteria, always steering clear of fads, and
selecting females that fit their program.
The success of the GDAR program can be attributed to the foundation cowherd that has been developed over the years. GDAR females have
become renowned and sought after for their quality, consistency, and proven pedigrees.
One very influential cow born in 1969 was Rachel 966 GDAR who was double bred to Highland Evaxus Lad A50. 966 posted 6 calves with an
average nursing ratio of 119. Many of our great Rachel cows will go back to this foundation female. She is the dam of Rachel 813, the
mother of the legendary Traveler 124 GDAR. She is also the grandam of Traveler 3173 and Lady Forever 1100, pictured at right. Forever
1100 is the dam of Rachel 5115, listed below.
GDAR Rachel 5115, born in 1985, was the dam of Executive 727 and Royce 131. Both of these bulls left their mark on the Angus breed.
5115 sold in 1989 to Beartooth International for $15,000.
Another foundation female is the dam of the great Rito 2100 GDAR, Blackcap Lady 999 GDAR. Her influence is seen throughout the breed
through the extensive use of 2100. 2100 daughters are long necked, and feminine with lots of maternal ability. 999 sold in 1984 to
Jolly Roger Angus for $24,000.
A cow born in 1985 influenced our herd greatly. GDAR Miss Blackbird 510 is the dam of Wham 021 and Quantum 1245, and also the ancestor
of several great cows we still have in the herd today. She sold in 1994 to Harmony Farms for $14,250.
Another foundation cow family is the Queen Caries. GDAR Queen Cary 092 was one of the more significant ones. 092 is a 6807 daughter
and is the ancestor dam to a lot of good cows in our herd today. 092 sold to Quaker Hill and Brownwood Acres for $16,000 in 1998.
LT Forever Lady 395 GDAR boosted the Forever Lady cow family from great to legendary. 395 was one of the most prolific cows to graze
the pastures of GDAR. Her influence is still felt today through her sons which included: Oscar 711, Lone Tree, Connection 01, Chief,
and Rito 156C. More influential have been her daughters some of which are: Forever Ladies 718, 719, 9300, 9500, 9600, and 157C. These
daughters went on to become some of the most well-known cows of the breed.
GDAR females are the foundation of the GDAR program. A program designed to select for maternal productivity and efficiency. Russ once
stated early on in his career that if you breed for great cows all the other pieces will fall into place. That still holds true today.
GDAR Herd Bulls - A Tradition of Excellence
The GDAR program has been based on raising efficient and functional cattle through balanced trait selection of economically important
traits since it started in 1957. Russ wanted to raise bulls for commercial operations in his area, so he selected genetics based upon
what would mean the most profits in the Eastern Montana environment.
When Russ started the Angus operation he saw that the extremely short framed Angus that were popular during that time period were not
the high performers. He decided to select for bigger, lengthier cattle with volume that performed better, because they were more
realistic for the commercial operations of his area.
In the early sixties Russ purchased an important herd sire from Washington, Highland Evaxus Lad A50. A50 was big for his time weighing
in at 1 ton as a mature bull. Other foundation herdsires included: Bardolier 786, Bardolier 51, Bardolier 200, Bardolier 717,
and Bardolier 011. Most GDAR pedigrees will trace back to these foundation herd sires.
Two Forever of Wye bulls had a huge impact on the GDAR herd in the 70's. Forever 1100 GDAR was a Forever of Wye grandson that was used
heavily in the GDAR program. Candolier Forever 376 was double bred to Forever of Wye, and was the number 1 maternal sire in the Angus
breed during his time. The Forever Lady cow family started with this sire.
GDAR became involved with one of the Angus breed's most groundbreaking sires in 1979, QAS Traveler 23-4. Traveler broke records with
his gain and performance at Treasure Test, and with his $60,000 price tag selling to GDAR, Sitz Angus, Stevenson Angus, and Rollin' Rock
Angus. Traveler is one of the most extensively used bulls in the Angus breed and has sired many sons that have become prominent themselves.
In 1982 GDAR raised a double bred Candolier 376 son named Rito 2100 GDAR. 2100 went on to be a very heavily used bull in both the registered
and commercial industries. The next year GDAR Rainmaker 340 was born. Rainmaker was a guaranteed calving ease sire with high maternal values.
Wayne Stevenson and Bob Sitz purchased Rainmaker in the 1984 GDAR bull sale, and changed his name due to the extended drought in Montana.
Many other GDAR raised bulls have played important roles in the Angus breed, several of which have been leased to bull studs. All of these
bulls are a testament to the GDAR program of balanced trait selection for economically important traits to raise efficient and functional
cattle that will make the commercial cattleman a profit.
Still Writing History
GDAR has always been a family run operation, and will remain so into the foreseeable future. Even the family members that don't work
on the ranch day to day still help out when they can.
Russ and Pat Denowh
Pat serving sale lunch with 3 of her daughters
right to left, Loretta, Gail, and Pam.
Pat is still doing great, living in town and leading an active life. She still comes out to the ranch to make sure things are getting
Mick, Debbie, and Pat
Mick and Debbie
Mick and Debbie live and work on the ranch every day. Debbie also substitute teaches in town, and watches her granddaughters whenever
she can. They have four boys: Chad, Chuck, Chase, and Chantz. All of whom help out when they are needed.
Chad, Jenn, Danica, and Cambree
Cambree and Danica
In 2001 their oldest son, Chad, graduated from college, and moved home to the ranch. He started his own Angus operation in 2005, which
he runs in conjunction with the GDAR herd. He is now married to Jennifer Arntzen with two daughters, Danica, and Cambree the 6th generation to live
on the ranch.
Chuck and Barbara
Chuck working the office at a GDAR bull sale.
Chuck is married to Barbara Barrett of Dillon, and they operate a consulting business in Helena, MT. They often work on agricultural
issues at the state and national level.
Chase, Jenn, Barbara, Chuck, Chad, and Chantz
Chase lives on the ranch and works in the oil field in North Dakota. Chantz is attending college at Montana State, getting his Ph.D in
mechanical engineering, working on sustainable farm and ranch energy systems.
Paul and Tracy
Jamie, Tracy, Casey, Paul, and Pat
Paul and Tracy live and work on the ranch. Tracy is a nurse at the local hospital. They have two children: Jamie, and Casey.
Jamie is back in Sidney and also works at the hospital in the pharmacy. Casey works for a local trucking company, and also helps
out on the ranch a lot.
Paul, Tracy, Jenn, Chad, Pat, Deb, and Mick Denowh
The GDAR program is proud to be a family run operation, now marketing around 200 bulls a year. A great number of new methods and
technologies have been added to the toolbox since 1957, but the core principles behind the program remain the same. GDAR is still raising
cattle that go out and get the job done for the commercial cattleman.