C6 Ranch and the Sonoita Community
In 1992 we purchased a ranch in the Canelo Hills of southern Arizona about five miles from the crossroads of Sonoita and moved our horse operation there. While Diane designed and built our house overlooking Mt Wrightson, I laid out the horse barn and started putting together the cattle ranch operation. Our range amounted to about 13,000 acres of rugged mountains and deep canyons located about twenty five miles from the Mexican border.
In 1998, we added the Seibold Ranch that brought Red Rock Canyon into our southern pastures. Red Rock Canyon is a live stream that had the endangered Gila topminnow living in it, and as such, was an area of critical environmental concern to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Red Rock Canyon watershed encompassed 51,000 acres that supported four cattle ranches, including ours, and we formed the Canelo Hills Coalition to deal with the problems of grazing in a habitat occupied by an endangered species.
The upshot was that over a period of about ten years, working with the Forest Service, we developed rotational grazing systems and new sources of water that meet the needs of both the ranchers and the fish. In 2005, the Collins Family Ranch was awarded Range Managers of the Year by the Society for Range Management (see picture). Also, the BLM and Forest Service riparian teams have used our grazing methods as a teaching example to their staff.
Conservation ranching is an important priority, and I have helped teach its principles in both local high school summer programs, at rancher workshops, and at the University of Arizona. The model I try to live by with respect to ranching and the environment is encapsulated in Wendell Berry’s aphorism “You cannot save the land apart from the people; in order to save either, you must save both.”
The Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association fairgrounds (see picture) is the social center of our community and Diane has been instrumental in its growth and operation for the past 20 years. She chaired the Quarter Horse show committee for 10 years, building it into the best little horse show in the Southwest. She also presided as President of the Anne C. Stradling Equine Foundation that funds horse activities and scholarships for young people from Santa Cruz County, Co-chaired the Racing Committee, organized the Ranch Horse Competition Committee, and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as the enthusiasm needed to keep this all volunteer facility thriving.
Alamo Springs - C6 Ranch
Sonoita Fairgrounds entrance
Diane on Tuffy