Flying B Bar Ranch is proudly family owned and operated! We are also excited to announce that we are now a second-generation ranch! Our son, Will, joined Margaret and I as a part-owner recently so he can continue building on the work that we have done since we founded the ranch 17 years ago. If you’ve ordered a custom order, or gotten our items shipped, or came out to the ranch, you’ve seen a small glimpse of the work we do, but we got to where we are today only through the skill and thousands of dedicated hours our team puts into the ranch.
Meet the team at Flying B Bar Ranch
The Visualizer: Brad
I didn’t plan on continuing the cattle operation on the ranch property I bought in 2006, even though it had been an active cattle ranch for over 100 years. I just wanted a nice quiet place to relax, enjoy the wildlife and the beautiful native grasses and riparian landscape of the Kiowa Creek bottom on the weekends. But the rancher we bought the property from, Charles Robbins, just couldn’t believe we weren’t going to run cattle on the place. Charles would come visit on Saturdays to see how we were doing and to help us work through whatever mystery we were trying to solve that week; fixing a fence, starting a cold tractor, rebuilding something or another, that was all foreign to me but second nature to Charles. On Saturdays Charles would come by and say “Hey, let’s go get a cup”. He wasn’t headed to Starbucks, even if there was one to go to, which there wasn’t, but he would take me to the nearest cattle auction. He claimed they had the best cup of coffee, which they always did, it was coal black, and way strong to get you wired like a banjo string for the bidding. But I told Charles, every weekend, “No cows Charles, I’m not looking to make more work out here”, and we were city newbies, so it was all very intimidating.
I think it was our 5th or 6th time we went for “coffee” and I had gotten a bit of the lay of the land around cattle values, when I knew enough to tell there were some great genetics selling that day and that bid prices were very attractive. So, with Charles’ coaching, I raised my hand and bought 22 very pregnant mama cows. I remember calling Margaret on the way home and asking her to check to make sure the water hydrant in the pens next to the barn actually worked, I was bringing home cows. 2 months later we had 22 calves and our herd size doubled. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I had a vision in 2006 that we could raise beef in a new way that emphasized harmony with nature and animal welfare. If you had told me in 2006 that we would eventually be serving beef AND pork to thousands of customers across the country, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are, years later, a proud part of your family’s kitchen table! And Charles, who passed in 2015, is somewhere on high, looking over the ranch that he tended with care for decades, smiling from ear to ear.
The Customizer: Margaret
We couldn’t have gotten the ranch to where it is today without the courage, tenacious help, adventuresome spirit and support of my wonderful partner and wife Margaret. She too, was an urban newbie and rode the steep learning curve ride we had in the early years of the ranch. In those first years, she was our only ranch hand; calving, feeding, watering, and going in every possible direction that our cattle would lead her down. She and I did everything, and we loved it, most of the time. We managed tough winters, learning about calving, how to farm the way Charles taught us to, and how to fix just about anything. Margaret has always been an “animal person” as her friends would refer to her. But they were talking about the larger than most family’s number of dogs and cats we always had. When we moved to the ranch Margaret’s affinity and connection with animals went to the next level. She has always been an animal whisperer, but when it came to our cow herd she could tell from a hundred paces which mama cow was close to calving and could always tell if any animal was having any kind of health issue, before anyone else could see it. We built a calving shed area where she would tell me what mama cow to put in for the night, I would argue with her for a while because it was work to make it happen, but 9 times out of 10, that cow calved that night, and I learned to just say “yes, Ma’am, and do what she said.
She’s a cowgirl badass too, she’s found herself and gotten herself out of more situations with cattle than I care to remember. Like the time two bulls got out and no one could get them back into the pasture. I wasn’t on the ranch that day and she was texting me that “the bulls are out”. Not a good moment. I waited nervously for an update until she texted me “all good, bulls are back in”. I asked her how she got that to happen and she said, “I just asked them”. She just knows and I, and every cowboy on the ranch has learned to respect her abilities and her instincts. That’s an important part of what makes this ranch different, and the experience of every steer or heifer that grazes our pastures, so special.
Margaret also has a huge heart for our customers, and she manages all of our custom beef and pork orders. Specifically, she specializes in walking customers through cut sheets to ensure they get all of the cuts they want, exactly how they want them. She is especially good at holding the hand of our “first timers”, and we have a lot of them. We’re happy to introduce folks to their first ranch-to-table purchase and to demystify the process. The result is a long list of 5-star online ratings, most of which say something about great customer service. If you have a question about any cut of beef, give Margaret a call!
The Fixer: Will
My son Will first cut his teeth, literally, in the cattle business when we moved out to the ranch, and he became our second ranch hand after my wife Margaret when he was old enough. I’m referring to the time he got kicked in the face, yes, the face, by his 4H Steer called “Treadwell”. He’s made of tough stuff though and he not only learned and persevered, he thrived. It was like he was supposed to be here, living the ranch life. When he was 13 or 14 , he would grab his pillow and ride in the tractor all night long as we baled our hay for our winter feeding. Yes, we bale our hay at night because that is when the humidity is high enough to make sure all the nutritious leaves are baled too, and not just the stems. Will learned to fix fence, move cattle, help with the farming, muck a stall and do whatever was needed, whenever it was needed. That progressed into sophisticated and nuanced intensive, rotational grazing design and animal nutrition science.
He learned about hard work, and the responsibility of caring for other living things, and how that happens every day of the year, no matter how hot, or how cold, or how sick you feel that day. He learned the discipline that every rancher and farmer that raises the food we all eat every day has to have in order to live this lifestyle, take care of the animals and to make ends meet. In high school it was clear he was developing an interest in continuing to pursue agriculture. He started to do some rodeo and decided to pursue agriculture for his college education. He went to Kansas State where he got a degree in Agricultural Economics and minored in animal nutrition.
After graduation, he came back to help us out on the ranch. Now he manages all of our ranch operations: grazing planning, herd health and nutrition, moving cattle from pasture to pasture, fixing fence, feeding and watering, and any other little thing that comes up daily. And he’ll tell you that something ALWAYS comes up! In August of 2022 Will officially became an owner in the ranch, we evolved into a second-generation family owned and operated ranch.
The Organizer: Zach
Zach went to high school with Will and has started and run several successful businesses since they graduated. Zach also worked in a local bank where he developed an expertise in finance and business management. Zach and Will have always been close friends, they’re hard workers and entrepreneurs at heart, and they love the ranch lifestyle, and the commitment to hard work that comes with it. In 2020 we saw an overwhelming demand from customers for quality local meats after grocery stores ran out of good beef, so we asked Zach if he would be able to help out at the ranch on his “off time.” He came on board part time to do whatever we needed, mostly the grunt work. But we immediately noticed that Zach had an amazing intellect and creative thought process.
Over time the relationship and respect, grew between us all, and so did Zach’s role on the ranch. Now, three years later, we can’t imagine the ranch without him! His vision and drive have helped us grow this business to be a regular and reliable partner with our customers, and he has helped us solve bottlenecks and grow our operations so that we always have good meat in stock. He helps everybody at the ranch and wears any hat we can throw at him, whether it’s ten gallons or a ball cap! I like to call him our “Zach of all trades” because of his ability and depth of knowledge around so many topics. Zach became a partner in the ranch in 2023.
“About us” would not be complete, not even close without a serious shout out to all the four-legged members of the family
In Loving Memory
On October 2nd, 2015 we lost Charles to a hard, quick fight with Mesothelioma. I miss him every day.