The Chapman family has called Ardmore, Okla. and Rock Prairie, a cow-calf ranching operation, home for four generations.
Rock Prairie, a fourth-generation farming and ranching operation, thrives on family commitment.
The Chapman family (left to right) Morgan, Fred, Tracie, and Eric.
Rock Prairie has been here, in our family, for four generations. We run about 800 head of mama cows and around 2,000 stockers on wheat. Our son, Fred, manages most of our cow/calf operation. We’re a family operation, and most of it is pretty much hands on.
Technology, like the internet and phones, allow us to know where everyone's locations. I can remember when my husband Eric and I first started, we didn’t have a cell phone. We’re such a widespread operation and having a cell phone has probably been the greatest gift for our ranch. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it helps when you’re trying to find someone in 20,000 acres.
On the farming side of our operation, GPS is something our son has brought in. Our tractors all have GPS in them, and it really does help out. Paperwork and record keeping are all done electronically now. - Tracie
One of the biggest assets we have is our springs. During recent droughts, we didn’t run out of water. We have a couple sustainable water systems we call “blue holes,” but they’re actually artisan wells. When the world doesn’t turn right, or the weather is bad, it makes our ranch run. Over the course of four generations, close to 24 "Chapmans" have returned to the Ardmore area to begin their own ranches, work at Rock Prairie during certain seasons, or like Eric and Fred, work full time on our ranch. This, of course, makes our ranch timeless as it's intertwined into so many generations. - Tracie
The weather. It’s the biggest one, but also, the rising cost of everything and the volatility of the market are also challenging for us.
It’s a beautiful and wonderful life, and no other way I’d rather raise children, but it’s a hard life. You never know what the day is going to bring you.
Just because we love it. You love the land, you love the animals, you love wildlife, and I just think it’s in our soul. Once it’s there, it never leaves.
Prime rib is our staple for the holidays. I like to roast it in the oven with some peppercorn for about three hours, and that’s Christmas dinner.
Cows are bred and calves are born and raised every year on cow-calf farms and ranches, spending time grazing on grass pastures within sight of their mothers.