If life’s craziness has you craving something a little quieter, roomier, off the beaten path, consider walking a mile or two, or 10, in Kelly Hardy’s cowboy boots. Hardy runs a buffalo and cattle ranch in the far reaches of northeast Wyoming. It’s 10 square miles of rangeland and 40 miles from the nearest town of Gillette.
“The thing I like best about it is it’s really private,” Hardy said. "We’re surrounded by 50,000 acres of national grasslands.”
At Longreach Buffalo Company’s Buffalo Butte Ranch, rush hour means a herd of buffalo gathering around Hardy and his old feed truck, miles out on the range. “The animals will come to it like it’s an ice cream wagon in the city on a hot summer day,” Hardy said.
Hardy grew up in Gillette, population 32,000. He likes to shop local whenever he can. He’ll make the trip into town to buy his feed and other supplies, get his haircut, and take in his grandson’s baseball games. But when it comes to running his ranch, Hardy admits Gillette doesn’t have everything he needs.
“You can spend an entire day in town looking for something and still come back without it,” he said. “I got on Amazon and searched for ‘replacement bale spear’ and there it was. It’s pretty convenient, sitting down for 10 minutes at the computer, hitting that buy button and having it show up in a couple of days.”
Hardy is just one example of the rural life, reimagined. Gone are the days of long trips into town and beyond to track down often hard-to-find items. Amazon’s large selection, low prices, free shipping, and fast delivery with Prime, free him up so he can devote more time to the work that he loves. Amazon provides the conveniences of big city living, far out in the country.
“Time is the only thing you can spend that you can never get back. There are a lot of other things I could be doing instead of spending the day going from store to store in town not finding what I need.”
Work on the 6,500-acre ranch never stops. Springtime is calving season, so Hardy is up before the sun checking on the cows and calves, repairing any busted fencing, ensuring his water pipeline is working properly – and all before breakfast. It’s why Amazon has been invaluable to him.
“It gives me time. Time is the only thing you can spend that you can never get back,” he said.” There are a lot of other things I could be doing instead of spending the day going from store to store in town not finding what I need.”
On a recent spring morning, Hardy and his wife peered through binoculars taking in new wildlife dotting the range. They spotted several buffalo calves staying close to their mothers. “When you’re out living in this every day, you take it for granted sometimes,” said Hardy. “It was my dream to own a ranch. And we’re living that dream.”