Family Run Operation for Over 50 Years
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.
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.
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.
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 800 cows each year.
Russ and Pat
In 2001 Mickey's 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. In 2014 Chad rented a ranch close to the Blue Mountain ranch and now runs some commercial cows along with his registered herd. Paul's son Casey joined the ranch in 2014, and is working there full time.
Russ and Pat are gone now, but their legacy lives on. GDAR is still a family run operation focusing on raising quality, common sense Angus genetics that will produce long–term profits for beef operations in a variety of environments .
Building a Foundation Cow Herd
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.
Mick, Debbie, and Pat
Mick and Debbie
Mick and Debbie live and work on the ranch every day. Debbie is a librarian at an elementary school in town, and watches her granddaughters whenever she can. They have four boys: Chad, Chuck, Chase, and Chantz. Chad is back on the ranch. Chuck is married to Barbara Barrett, and is a political consultant in Helena, MT. Chase works for a pipeline company in Watford City, ND. Chantz now has his Doctorate in mechanical engineering and works in Houston, TX.
Chad, Jenn, Danica, and Cambree
Cambree and Danica
Chad married Jennifer Arntzen in 2004 and they have lived on the ranch since then. They have three daughters, Danica, Cambree, and Peyton. Chad has been back on the ranch since graduating from Montana State University with a degree in livestock management in 2001. Their daughters are the sixth generation to live on the ranch.
Paul and Tracy
Casey, Tracy and Paul with Jaimie and Jake Parker
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 married to Jake Parker. They live in Sidney and Jamie also works at the hospital in the pharmacy. Casey moved back to the ranch in 2014.
Paul, Tracy, Casey, Debbie, Mick, Danica, Cambree, Chad, Jenn and Peyton
The GDAR program is proud to be a family run operation, now marketing around 225 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.