KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
Sisters Megan and Kaylee Baker raise steers for auction as part of the 4-H program

The Ely Times

On an early Sunday morning, before most people have had their first cup of cofee the Baker sisters Megan, and Kaylee Baker are cutting hay, feeding livestock and taking care of morning chores before they head off to work or school.  

For Megan, work is at the Baker ranch when she’s home from college for the summer. For Kaylee, it’s a job at the Great Basin National Park. While they are busy with life, they have found a way to raise their two steers for this weekend’s livestock show and auction.

Megan explains how she has been participating in 4-H since she was 6, and started in the cloverbud program when she was 7. Megan has raised three sheep, and this is her seventh steer.  Kaylee has been participating since she was 5. 

The girls note they have a selection to choose from the family ranch. 

In November and December you can see what potential they have, Megan says, by December when they are 10 months old, and weigh roughly 700-900 they transfer them over to pens they have built and begin raising them, spending lots of time, and effort so that when fair time comes around they are ready to go.  

The steers will usually end up in the 1,200-1,400 pound range, which put them in the popular bidding range.  

Having the goats and dogs around helps the steers get familiarized with other animals and distractions.  

A day in the life of these two young ladies could be considered vastly different from your average teenager. Ranch life is work from dawn to dusk. 

Megan said, “We get up and feed around 6:30 a.m.  before we go to work, and then feed them again when we get home around six.” 

Megan is assigned to checking pivots on the ranch,  which could take her about an hour on the way to school.  

An assignment that if not monitored could cause the wells to break.   

Work ethic is something that is part of the families lifestyle and livelihood.  The White Pine 4-H livestock program has been a piece of history, and cultural part of this community for decades.  

The Baker ranch, located 62 miles from Ely, in a remote area, has held strong with their family roots.  Participation in the 4-H program has traveled through several generations of the Bakers.   

Ranch life is not easy either.  Kaylee spoke about how she had a sheep she was raising the previous year for the fair, and several days before the fair, it was attacked by a mountain lion.  

Mother Janelle speak about how several of their goats, who have become victim to the coyotes as well.  

When asked if they get attached, Megan answers, “when you’re 8 and 9 years of age, it’s hard not to.”   

Meghan  named her steer Bubba while Megan notes that she doesn’t usually name the livestock she raises, she usually just calls them Buddy.

Indeed an impressive sight to see a young lady manuever a 1,400 pound animal around a pen.  Kaylee said, “You really get attached to them even more when you’re at the fair, their all you have, and they rely on you for everything.”