Raised in the midst of a multi-generational family located on Indian Creek east of Billings, Montana, on the ranch which has been in her mother’s family since the early 1930s, Linda lives today at Camp Runamuck, just a couple miles north of her family’s ranch with an ever-changing number of Border Collie dogs and saddle horses, a Russian cat, and a cowboy husband who sells ranch real estate to eat and ropes for fun. Linda is surrounded by family and considers her piece of real estate and her position in it as heaven on earth, truly a piece of God’s Country.
Since 1995 (with a three-year sabbatical from 2005-2008), Linda has been editor of several well-respected weekly ag newspapers published in Billings, Montana. In that position, she has earned a reputation as a gutsy, tell-it-like-it-is news woman. She loves her job, but her passion is for preserving history—the stories and the photographs—for the generations to follow.
In that capacity, she has researched/written On Flatwillow Creek: The Story of Montana’s N Bar Ranch, published in 1991; edited/written Les Leachman’s autobiography, No Better Bull, published in 2003; edited/written Treasures from Bill’s Warbag, published in 2006; co-edited/co-written Setting the Record Straight: The R-CALF Story, published in 2007; researched/written the biography of former Montana Governor Tim Babcock and his wife, Challenges Above & Beyond, published in 2008; and co-edited/co-written The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana, published in 2008. In addition, she has helped many folks self-publish their life and/or ranch histories and has written and delivered numerous eulogies. At this writing, early in 2011, Linda is working on a half-dozen worthwhile projects, including the biography of livestock industry icon Pat Goggins.
In her spare time, Linda helps her brother and her nephew work cows on the family ranch; spends as much time as possible with her beloved grandchildren; teaches children to safely ride horses and work cattle; delivers motivational and humorous speeches to industry organizations; writes, edits, researches, formats, and/or publishes personal and ranch biographies; and raises money for children whose parents have been rudely taken away far too early. The Vanek Benefit Trail Ride-BBQ-Dance is her fourth such endeavor. You are hereby invited to enthusiastically support this latest project in any way!
Raised on a guest ranch out of Augusta, Montana, Susan is a fourth-generation Montana cattle rancher. She and her husband Remi still own the ranch at Musselshell, Montana, which her great-grandparents homesteaded in 1915. Susan lives today on Lower Deer Creek, southeast of Big Timber, where she and her husband Remi raise cattle, horses, kids, grandkids, a couple dogs and cats, and occasionally chickens until the varmints get them.
Susan graduated from Melstone High School in 1977 and attended Montana State University in Bozeman, graduating in 1981 in English Education with a minor in Home Economics. She taught junior high English for 25 years at Big Timber (Montana) Grade School before she retired from teaching to become the County Superintendent of Schools for Sweet Grass County. She is currently serving her second term in that position.
Susan has been writing "Cooking in the West" every Sunday night since Linda put her to work for Agri-News in June 1996. The column is pretty much her life blog as she describes the exploits of her family and friends and what happens on the ranch and during ranch vacations that they host for extra income and when she cooks in the wilderness for K Lazy 3 Outfitters. Susan loves to cook, write, and ranch, and she strives for her column to reflect those loves and solicit a few giggles. She has published two cookbook-storybooks entitled "Cooking on the Run" and "Cooking on a Long Trot." She claims she is working on number three, which will be entitled "Cooking on a High Lope." However, she hasn't promised a release date yet.
Susan is most proud of the charitable causes she has helped promote through her column in the Agri-News, the Western Ag Reporter, and other weekly newspapers in Montana. The Vanek Benefit Trail Ride-BBQ-Dance is the latest worthy cause of the Warpath Women (who started out calling themselves WAR Women but had to change it to Warpath Women to reserve a domain name and to indicate that they are on the warpath to raise college money for kids who have lost one or more parents in a tragic accident).
Susan and Linda are very excited about the latest benefit, and they invite you to participate in any way that you can. Join them on July 3 at Linda's home, Camp Runamuck, for a fun-filled day of riding, eating, dancing, toe tapping, and all-around, good, old-fashioned family entertainment!