Charles Rankin was born January 6, 1925 on the Rankin Ranch, where he has spent his entire life. The ranch was homesteaded in 1912 by his father, Robert. During the 30’s the dust blew so bad he had to cover his face walking the half mile to and from the school bus. The wind would pick up the cow turds and roll them across the ground and slam them into the side of the house.
In his youth, he was involved in 4-H, taking many projects to the County and State Fair. He loved driving horses, once even harnessing up two cats, but when his mom called the cats for dinner, the runaway was on. Charles and his sister would clean out the barn, pitching the manure on and off the wagon just so they could drive the team. He went to school until part way through the 11th grade when he decided his time would be better spent helping out on the ranch. Charles is a past member of the Farm Bureau.
In 1951 Charles married Zeila Dee Livingston, their life together produced five kids and later on a great niece came to live with the family. It was all hands on deck to keep the ranch going through the good times and bad. Charles has been a very progressive livestock producer, always trying to find a better way of doing things. He was primarily in the cow-calf business early in his career. Later adding yearlings to the mix and then changing over to a straight yearling operation, which it still is today. Along the way he has spent his time helping to raise six kids, custom haying, AI’ing cows, raising club calves, and good Angus cattle. Over the years many improvements have been made to the ranch including water lines, electric fences, new buildings, and corrals. He is a very good steward of the land saying “you only have one thing to sell and that is grass”, “when the grass is gone so are the cattle”. With this belief, the ranch now practices high density livestock grazing to improve soil health and carrying capacity.
Charles spent a lot of time driving the county roads in Wyoming and Montana buying cattle. Some of his fondest memories are of all the good people he has met and has done business with. He said, “until you do business with someone you really don’t know what kind of a person they are”. During the spring and fall months he would trade help with the neighbors, helping with branding and shipping. He has broke many horses to be used on the ranch. Charles has a good eye for cattle and horses. Spending many years in the saddle he always enjoyed riding a good horse, looking at good cattle, and green grass. He was in the saddle from his youth until he was about 75, when a bad hip forced him to stop. Charles still enjoys going to the livestock auctions. He is a member of R-Calf, believing they do a good job representing the rancher and looking out for his livelihood.
Charles has devoted his entire life to improving ranching and the quality of livestock, plus instilling in his kids his honesty and integrity.