The 100th Cattle Drive For The Shannon Cattle Ranch
Written by: Kelsey Lane with the help of Toro Lane
For the love of family, land, history, heritage and tradition
The Shannon Cattle ranch just celebrated their one hundredth bi-annual five day cattle drive. Not only is this the longest cattle drive in all of California, but it is also one of the oldest running cattle drives in California. The Shannon Ranch is based in between Terra Bella and Porterville, California. Every summer in the first week of June the Shannon family pushes their cattle up from their ranch, through California Hot Springs, up the western divide, passing Ponderosa and finally settling in Grey Meadow in the Golden Trout Wilderness.
Reuben and his brother George Shannon first started their ranch in 1917 with the help of Reuben’s wife Ione. Around the 1960’s Reuben and Ione’s son, Jack Shannon, took over the ranch. Jack, and his wife Sandra, kept the family tradition alive until the day he died. Around 2012 Jack and Sandra’s sons, Bill and John Shannon took the reins on the ranch. To this day they run a full crew made up of mostly family. John is married to Carla and they have two twins sons, Blake and Jake, and a daughter Tabitha. Bill is married to Sherry and they have two daughters, Summer and Sarah. All of which work together on the Shannon Ranch. They also have three ranch hands, James Ward, Dan Shew, and Chuck Sandborg; who are all “just as close as family,” says Carla Shannon.
The Shannon’s believe in saving the land. Their cattle graze in the meadows along their drive which provides a fire safe forest. It also helps reduce the unnecessary vegetation within the meadows keeping these historical meadows the same as they were a hundred years ago. “It’s amazing to see a meadow that has been grazed by cattle for years…The cattle help the environment,” says Carla Shannon. The Shannon Cattle Ranch isn’t like any other cattle ranch. They are not only ambitious, hard working people that love what they do, but they also stand for something. They stand for preservation of land, history, heritage, and tradition. They have preserved the test of time and have made monumental strides in keeping our forests and home safe and healthy.
If you missed this spring’s cattle drive, on an early morning in the middle of September the ranchers will drive their cattle back home. I am sure that with their endurance the Shannon Ranch will surpass us all in continuing their way of life for the next one hundred years.
I’m Tanya Ione Shannon, daughter of Donald Lee Shannon, grand daughter of Reuben and Hazel Ione Shannon. I lived on my families ranch until I was 4 and visited until I was 10.