Anyone who has spent time on a ranch knows that working on one is very labor-intensive. But for Clint and Debbie Moosman, it is truly a labor of love.
Clint is originally from Idaho — traditional ranching country — but the ranch he and Debbie run today is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, an area far more well known for grape growing than cattle raising. To those unfamiliar with either industry, the type of cattle the Moosmans raise — Charolais — just might sound like a type of wine.
Debbie and Clint met in the late 1990s when they were both working for the same company. She lived in New York State and he was in Idaho. At the close of a business trip to South Carolina in 1999, Clint asked for Debbie’s number before she boarded her return flight.
“My first thought was, ‘Does this cowboy think he is going to call me for a date?’” said Debbie. After all, Clint lived thousands of miles away — what could come of chatting on the phone? But she gave him her number, and he gave her a call. And then another. Soon the cross-country phone calls turned into cross-country trips. In November 2001, Debbie flew out to Idaho and drove back across the nation with Clint, his belongings and his horses in tow. Debbie says, “If you ever want to know if love will last, drive across country for five days with someone.”
At the time he made his big move, Clint had been involved with horses for more than 20 years. He was known as a very good breaking/training cowboy in his hometown of Preston. He was also an accomplished breeder, and would have colts spoken for before they were even born.
Debbie, on the other hand, was a self-described “town” girl who had never been on a ranch. But a few days before leaving to escort Clint to New York, Debbie found herself putting up posts and wire to create a pasture for his horses upon their arrival. During the trip east, phone calls were made to contractors to arrange for a barn to be erected as soon as possible. Three years later another barn was built to include an indoor riding arena.
When the Moosman’s were married on July 16, 2005, they opted to make the celebration a surprise for their guests. Although their families were aware of the true nature of the planned festivities, 200 other guests were invited to their home on the pretense of attending a ho-down at 4 p.m., after Clint and Debbie put on a horse show at 3 p.m. When that time came, however, instead of a horse show, Clint and Debbie emerged from the barn on horseback and announced that the guests were gathered to celebrate their wedding.
“Everyone was shocked and happy. It was a great day and we did it the way we wanted,” said Debbie.
While horses had been a part of Clint’s life for a long time, he’d also had some experience working with cattle on a few different ranches during his time in Idaho. The idea of raising cattle in his new home came from a nearby rancher, a man named Jim Brown, who had been raising Charolais for decades. Clint and Debbie decided to start their own small operation — the 50/50 Chance Ranch.
“Charolais cattle are a good command breed that does very well at putting the pounds on, and we sell by the pound,” Clint said when asked what he likes about the type of cattle he and Debbie raise. Today, the Moosmans have three cow/calf pairs, one bull and four horses.
Both Clint and Debbie work full-time jobs, and they dedicate their spare time to ranch chores and enhancements.
Though Clint and Debbie came from different backgrounds and from opposite parts of the nation, when asked about the best part of ranching, both their answers have the same central theme: the joy of embarking on their new adventure together.
“The most satisfying part of working on our ranch is that we enjoy working together to make every thing better — the cattle, the horses and the ranch as a whole,” said Clint.
Debbie added, “It is the two of us making it the way we want it to be, making it our way and sharing the responsibilities.”