Cattle Wrangler

A loyal Ford owner runs his ranch with the help of Ford vehicles

By Donna Zucker

Michael Olson and his wife, Heidi, own and manage Oak Ridge Ranch in Boyceville, Wis. The 30 acres of rolling hills and creek is home to chickens, goats, dogs and now 26 registered Texas Longhorn cattle.

These majestic animals are the pride of the place. “There is a fear of the horns,” Michael says. “People tend to think these cattle are wild, but Longhorns are very docile. It’s one of the reasons we got them.” In fact, when he drives out to the pasture, he says, the cattle are so friendly that they will come right up to his truck.

Michael has been a Ford owner since 1976, when he purchased his first F-150. His last truck was a 2013 SuperCrew® XLT with EcoBoost® engine. It easily kept up with the demands of the ranch—from tackling rough dirt roads to providing ample space in the cab to transport bales of hay and bags of feed. And, of course, it had the grit to pull a trailer hauling the cattle along back country roads. (The steers, on average, weigh 1,000 pounds.) “It’s a great truck,” Michael says. “Multipurposed—it did everything we need it to do on the ranch.”

Recently, they invested in a 2015 F-150 SuperCrew XLT with a 5.0L engine to replace the 2013. It was a practical move: A snowplow will be added for the winter months. Heidi, meanwhile, drives a 2012 Ford Flex, which is perfect for transporting family. The Olsons have four grown kids and four grandchildren.

At Oak Ridge, workdays begin at 3:30 a.m.; Michael has chores to do before he leaves at 4:15 a.m. to drive a grain truck. “It can be a long day,” Michael says. “But I enjoy the freedom of having my own animals.” Both Michael and Heidi have agricultural backgrounds. He spent his childhood on his grandparents’ dairy farm.
Their eldest daughter, Nicole, and her husband help manage the operation.

When deciding to expand their livestock early in 2015, they settled on Texas Longhorns because of the animals’ temperament and their look—their coats can have warm tones or be speckled in a range of colors. “You never know at calf time what color will come out,” Michael says.

Eventually, the cattle will be sold for breeding stock or to a butcher. “Longhorn meat is lean and excellent,” he notes.

For nearly 40 years, Michael has been driving Ford trucks. For him it’s not only the toughness of the vehicles, it is also the confidence he has in Ford vehicles and the pride of owning these trucks. It’s the performance, Michael says simply. “I just like the way they ride!”

Tags: F-150

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