Montana Running Ranchers logoThe following is a repost of a column by Nicole Ginley-Hidinger shared on the Ragnar Road Blog. The Montana Running Ranchers are very thankful for Ragnar featuring our team prior to the recent Ragnar Relay Hawaii. Be sure to read all my coverage of our relay team, the Montana Running Ranchers.

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Two-time Olympic Medalist, Bernard Lagat, ate a steak before he won the 2007 World Champions. Which is a pre-race dinner the Montana Running Ranchers support. The team works in the agriculture business in Montana and is running Reebok Ragnar Hawaii on Team Beef. Their goal is to spread the word about ranching, farming and eating beef while leading an active lifestyle.

“Usually before a Ragnar, we’ll go and try to find a local steak house, not only to get a little bit of the local food fare but also to enjoy some good beef that will give us protein,” says Team Captain, Ryan Goodman.

Ragnar Hawaii will be the team’s fourth Ragnar. Once a year, they dawn their cowboy hats, put on their red “Team Beef” shirts, hop into two vans and hand out beef jerky to other runners.

“Only 2% of the population is raising food for the other 98%,” says Christy Gerdes, a Montana Running Rancher. “I think it’s so important to be educated about what we’re doing because there are so many people who are so far removed from the food system that they’ll believe anything.”

Ragnar, and the other 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons and marathons, that Team Beef partakes in, allows the Ranchers to interact with their customers and meat eaters to learn a little bit about the people that supply their food.

“We’re certainly proud to raise beef in Montana and be involved in that process, says Ryan. “We’re proud of the quality of the cattle we raise and the mountains and the pastures in this beautiful state.”

In fact, many of the ranchers are from families of ranchers and for Christy, it’s important that she teaches the ranching lifestyle to her kids.

“I grew up working side by side with my family and you really learn a good work ethic,” she says. “You learn to appreciate and understand the cycle of life. You’re going to raise them and you’re going to take good care of them because you’re going to eat them and other people are going to eat them.”

While in Hawaii, they are looking forward to learning about the ranching on the Islands. The Big Island is home to the Parker Ranch, which is the fourth largest cattle operation in the U.S. The ranch has a long history intertwined with the culture of the Big Island. John Parker purchased the land in 1850 and 1851. He then leased land to King Kamehameha III and taught the Hawaiians to rope and handle cattle. Now, cattle is one of the largest commodities on the island.

“Ranching is very important to the Islands and their economy and also their land use,” Ryan says. “It helps supply local beef in the state of Hawaii. They ship a lot of cattle. They are raising cattle just like other states across the country.”

The Montana Running Ranchers are also looking forward to running the race and meeting people from all over the country.

“We have a lot of fun. We usually meet a couple of vegetarians or vegans along the way and we get along with them just fine because everybody has to have a diet choice of their own,” Ryan says.