Westwind Ranch – Holden Family
Written by Linda Holden
The Family And The Land
Westwind Ranch was founded in 1967 by John and Linda Holden. The ranch is located eight miles west of Valier and offers a unique panoramic view of both the Rocky Mountain Front and the vast rolling plains of north central Montana. John and Linda’s four children, Laura, Jack, David, and Janelle, grew up on Westwind Ranch. They are all married now, and the five grandchildren, Blake, Bryce, Hannah, Brooke, and Bradley, enjoy being frequent visitors at Westwind Ranch. Laura and Mick live near Calgary where she works as a financial banker. Jack and Tresha run Holden Hereford Ranch just a few miles from Westwind Ranch. Holden Herefords was established by John’s parents, Les and Ethel Holden, pioneers in performance testing with their registered Horned Hereford cattle. David and Paula work and live near Red Bluff, California. Janelle and her husband Doug live and work in the Bozeman/Livingston area. The Dream Of Excellence Becomes A Reality
In 1953, while in high school, John purchased his first registered cow from his Uncle Jack who started Cooper Herefords. This purchase began John’s ambition to raise top quality, fast growing, trouble-free seed stock. John attended Montana State College at Bozeman and received a degree in Animal Science in 1962. He and Linda were married while he was completing his Masters Degree in Agronomy. After serving as an officer in the army, John and Linda returned to Montana where they purchased the land they would call “Westwind”.
Over the years Westwind has been home to a variety of animals including the trusty cow dogs, registered Polled Herefords, Mammoth Donkeys, Quarter Horses, Montadale Sheep, Duroc Hogs, Guinea Hens, and even a lost Yak. Wildlife such as deer, coyotes, gophers, raccoons, rabbits, skunks and foxes continue to roam Westwind Ranch.
Westwind Polled Herefords were started in 1965. From 1965-1985 one of our bulls sired a national champion Heifer and had several bulls in major A.I. stud services. We have sold cattle into 36 states, Chile, and Canada. In 1985 we dispersed the Polled Hereford herd.
In 1971, the Holden’s established Westwind Angus. By the use of proven genetics they established themselves with high reputability selling to progressive cowmen everywhere. Constantly tracking of the Westwind line for select genetic traits has allowed the ranch to produce superior seed stock. This constant quest for excellence is reflected in the outstanding EPD values, consistency and uniformity of the herd. We continued in the registered angus business until April 2002. The angus herd was sold intact to the Harts of Frederick, South Dakota.
The opportunity for the expansion of the Hereford breed looked good, so we expanded into the Polled Hereford business in May of 2002. To quote John, “Herefords are my first love in the cattle business and their disposition is compatible with my age and abilities. Registered cattle are not a business, they are a disease. My banker says maybe disability would be a better description. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what we can do since breeding good cattle takes many years.”
See Picture in Gallery of:
The steer that started it all.
John showing the Reserve Grand Champion 4-H steer.
This Hereford steer was raised as a 4-H project in 1951and sold for 52 cents per pound.
John purchased a registered Hereford heifer with the money which started him on his way in the registered cattle business.