Warner Glenn and Kelly Glenn Kimbro, Ranchers
Warner Glenn and Kelly Glenn Kimbro are fourth- and fifth-generation cattle ranchers and second- and third-generation dry ground lion hunters in southeastern Arizona. They ranch the Malpai, J Bar A and Buckhorn Ranches in the San Bernardino Valley, Chiricahua and Pedregosa Mountains. They raise Black Angus cattle; they ride mules and good rough country horses; and hunt with Walker, black and tan and blue tick hounds.
They carry on a ranching tradition started in 1896 in the region and have been acknowledged by their peers for their course in conservation and will pass it all on to Kelly’s daughter, Mackenzie, the sixth generation.
Growing up: Warner grew up on the family’s J Bar A Ranch, cowboying, riding colts, dry ground lion hunting, rough country ranching, playing the guitar and the fiddle with his dad, Marvin. Kelly grew up on the Malpai and J Bar A ranches, cowboying, dry ground lion-hunting and contributing to all other ranch tasks.
Nature, the land, cattle, our horses, mules and hounds have been some of our best teachers. If you “see” what is happening before your eyes, you will learn.
Life on the U.S.-Mexico border was simple until about 40 years ago. Undocumented migrants, drug trafficking, border wall variations, politics and a Border Patrol presence are now part of our everyday life.
We learned to handle cattle as gently as possible, to “give them some air” in tight places, whether it was a close-sided mountain trail or a gate, and to ride rock-footed horses or good-handling mules so you could make a hand.
Roping with your granddaughter: “Mackenzie is a good hand and a good one to rope with in the branding corral,” says Warner.
Ranching with your daughter “is a joy. Mackenzie is a hard worker, compassionate about the livestock, the landscape, the traditions and her heritage,” says Kelly.
Warner and Wendy Glenn bought the Malpai Ranch in 1961, and Warner, Kelly and Mackenzie are still ranching it. “Malpai” is a volcanic land with fertile soil and lots of rocks!
A good rain “is worth its weight in gold and substantial enough to grow the grasses and forage that we need to continue ranching on the land without harming the natural resources,” says Warner.
Warner photographed the first jaguar the Glenns encountered in 1996 and then a second jaguar in 2006.
“A good mule is hard to pass up!” says Warner. “In rough country, they take care of themselves and in turn, you. They have stamina and endurance and when treated right, they are faithful! Mountain-raised rock-footed horses can hold a candle to a good mule now and then.”
Warner and his dad raised and trained their own colts with a gentle hand, firm follow-through, respect and a lot of miles under a saddle.
You try to train dogs to be good tracking/trailing/treeing hounds. It’s in their blood and their breeding, but sometimes it’s hard to channel in the right direction!
Our method of lion hunting is “dry ground.” Ninety-five percent of all tracking, trailing and scenting conditions are done in the dirt and dust or on rock surfaces. Glenns have always responded to livestock kills in the ranching community and controlled depredating lions.
Sunrise… “I use this phrase a lot: ‘as I stepped into the sunrise…’” says Kelly, “which is exactly what we do every day of our life and meet what is dealt to us that day…sometimes planned and sometimes a surprise!”
Wendy Glenn was a port in a storm, the rock we all leaned on, the hub in all that we did. She was a good cowgirl, a ranch woman extraordinaire, a wife who played a strong role in Warner’s success in life, an amazing mom and grandmother. Her love of the landscape, conservation, archeology, history, the wildlife and the animals we raised was intense and humbling.
“History is what builds us and makes us better, shows us a route to the future, gives us a resource to draw from for answers,” says Kelly. “History is worth recovering and preserving, respecting and saluting.”