Legacy Award recipients Lynne and Ron Pulley have been married a long time, but the connect between their families started many years before when a wood and paper airplane dropped out of the western Nebraska sky and crashed in a pasture.
The fatal crash site was about 20 miles from where Ron was raised on a dryland wheat farm. The pilot was a pioneer in the aircraft business – Walter Piper of California – and Lynne's grandfather.
"That was nothing we knew about until we were married and I brought her back home and suddenly one day as she was introduced to one of mom's friends, the friend looked up and says ‘Oh, I've written to your grandmother for years because the crash site was in our pasture," relates Ron. "It's a small world."
Lynne points out that, as far as she knows, there was no relationship to Piper Aircraft. "That wasn't his first crash, but that one got him," she quips.
Ron Changes Career Course
Many years after the crash, coast again met heartland when Ron decided to attend University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. There were relatives there and a comfort zone. His goal for a career as a pharmacist was cut short. "After one class of organic chemistry, I didn't like that whole idea, so I took some business classes and changed to psychology and received a bachelor's degree in psychology. It's been very valuable to me over the course of the last 45 to 50 years."
Meanwhile, Lynne, a Glendora, California, native, graduated from a small (10 in her graduating class) high school and was never far from agriculture. Her grandmother raised Aberdeen Angus and Arabian horses. She met Ron while attending University of the Pacific. "I was a Girl Scout forever," she says. "So I was outside all summer long at camps. I was outdoors working with horses, things like that. It came natural. My grandmother loved animals and that came right down the line. I wanted more, but it didn't work out that way."
Always Ag Oriented
They've now retired after a life of taking care of just about every four-legged animal a person would find on a farm or ranch. They've lived in western Iowa, eastern Nebraska, Grand Junction, Colorado, and Cheyenne then Huntley. Ron and Lynne raised swine, managed swine operations, and Ron, in a career turn, worked in banking.
"In a nutshell, we've been agriculturally oriented most of our lives," says Ron. "Yes, I've had white collar jobs but until about two years ago it was 42 years of the famous 24/7, where someone was home taking care of some type of four-legged creature." They did so as a crew of two because, says Ron, when committed to agriculture a producer is not going to find a whole lot of help that is as committed as the producer and "you are not comfortable leaving your "children" with other people because you always are worried they are not being taken care of quite like you would have."
Adjust to Retirement
They raised mulefoot hogs and Scotch Highland cattle. When the couple found a place in Boulder for their hogs, they slowed down.
"You have to adjust to the fact you can now get up in the morning, put your clothes on and go someplace rather than go out and do two hours of chores, hurry to someplace, and get back and do more chores," he says. "We miss the animals obviously, but the nice thing about it is our hogs are basically in hog heaven down in Boulder."
The Pulleys don't have to worry about how their hogs are handled. The hogs are in comfortable facilities, says Ron, being used by a restaurant chef who raises all the food he serves.
"We are very comfortable with what he is doing and, if we really want to see them, we can go to Boulder and scratch them behind the ears," says Ron.