Leaving a Legacy: A Cattlewoman's Journey

Contributed by: Shannon Bellis

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As the sun peaks over the horizon, she kneels beside her bed in prayer, thanking the Lord for His provision and blessings. The day has begun, and Kim and her trusted partner “Nala” prepare for the work ahead. Slipping on her dusty cowgirl boots she does a quick check of the cattle markets, and ball cap in hand jumps in her pick-up truck for the short drive to the ranch. There are cows to be fed, calves to be looked after, and fence to check. She has a busy day ahead of her, but there is no place she’d rather be.

“Even when I’m trying to doctor a cow or pull a calf, I love it here,” said Kim Ott in reference to working the land and cattle.“I don’t mind coming to work and I don’t mind working hard.”  

Kim didn’t grow up with cattle. The only exposure she had to the industry was with her uncle who owned cows when she was a young girl.  

Owning her own land and raising cattle was a dream. A dream that she would work years to achieve, and a lifestyle she desired to pass on for generations to come.

As a young girl growing up in Oklahoma, Kim understood what it meant to overcome obstacles and rise above challenges in order to achieve success and follow her dreams.

“I was the fifth to the youngest of thirteen kids,” Kim said. “We were poor, and I appreciate everything I have because of how I grew up.”

She married her high school sweetheart at 17 years old during her senior year. While she studied the books in order to graduate, her husband left to serve in the Air Force, but after an honorable medical discharge came home to Oklahoma without a job. 

“We didn’t have much,” Kim said, “but we found a way to put ourselves through college.”

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“My husband was just a hand starting out in the oilfield, but after years of hard work and dedication, he now runs an oilfield company,” she said.  “My husband and I push one another, and we challenge one another. When you struggle together, but then collectively work to achieve your dreams, it brings you closer,” Kim said.

Kim served as a probation officer for ten years and then as an assistant teacher for fifth and sixth grade special education for seven years while her son was in school. “When my son graduated, I knew it was my time to follow my passion and work with animals.”

“I didn’t know anything about cows,” Kim said. But with four pair on sixty acres where the Ott’s built their house, Kim began her cattle dream. As a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Texas Landowners Association, she is continually learning new techniques and strategies to improve her program. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can,” she said.

 

When the market turned up, Kim and her husband decided to expand their operation, and they now have about 75 head between their ranch and homestead.

“I love doing this,” she said. “Every day that I get in the working pen with a cow and there is a problem, I pray for God to give me strength.  

Everything we have is from God, there is no doubt. And we want to give Him all the credit for all we have and all we do,” she said.

“We want to be able to pass our land on to our family,” Kim said. “We put all of this together so we can leave it to our grandchildren. To have a piece of land today is a big deal… to leave land to family is special,” she said. “They’re not making any more land and I don’t think you lose value in that.”

When Kim and her husband decided to build a barn on their land, they marked another item off their bucket list. It took no more than two months for Southwest Metal Systems to build an equipment shed and hay barn combination building for the Otts. 

“They were fast,” said Kim. “Everyone was polite and they cleaned up the worksite every day. It was a really good experience.”

The barn houses the tractor, Ranger and all the ranch equipment. “We hope to eventually put a little room up here for when we come to the ranch for camping, horseback riding, and hunting,” she said.

It is no secret that Kim and her husband are passionate about pursuing God and their dreams as a team. “You only have one life,” she said, “and you don’t want to live your life in fear. I don’t want to look back one day and wish I would have done something,” she said.

Proverbs 31:25 makes reference to a woman who “Laughs without fear of the future.” This verse speaks of a woman who boldly follows her Divine calling and knows who she is in Christ. She does not let fear dictate her future, but trusts in His wisdom. This is a woman who is able to withstand opposition and continue serving the Lord despite her circumstances.

Kim Ott embodies these traits. She is truly a woman grounded in faith… grounded in truth… living a dream and leaving a legacy. As the sun peaks over the horizon, she kneels beside her bed in prayer. Kim and “Nala” are ready to work cattle… and there is no place she’d rather be.

Kim, Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your dream!

It was a pleasure!

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