Don Wilford Finds a Home on the Range

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Until three years ago, ICI Homes division president Don Wilford was plain city folk with a long-held dream of trying life as a cowboy.

April 01, 2003

 

Up on his regular mount, Buckshot, Don Wilford rounds up "doggies" at Flitner Ranch in Wyoming.

Until three years ago, ICI Homes division president Don Wilford was plain city folk with a long-held dream of trying life as a cowboy. Today he is getting to be an old hand, planning a fourth visit to a 250,000-acre cattle ranch in Wyoming.

Wilford's trip in October will involve sleeping under the stars on a multiday cattle drive. The goal is to move the ranch's herd down from the Bighorn Mountains and drive part of it to a transportation center miles away.

It's a world away from the stresses of running a large home building division in Jacksonville, Fla. "The neatest thing is I don't take a phone and I don't talk to anybody and I never know what time it is," Wilford says.

He could take it easy at the ranch, opting for lazy rides through the picturesque backdrop and spotting eagles and deer, but he likes the exhausting work involved in a cattle roundup, including caring for the animals.

"Sometimes you find an injured calf and doctor him up," Wilford says. "They give you a medical kit so you can clean up sores and things. Of course we have supervision."

But there are luxurious touches. Each guest gets a spacious cabin and dines on "excellent" food at the big house, he notes. "After all, it is a vacation."

Have an interesting off-hours hobby? E-mail Patrick O'Toole at potoole@reedbusiness. com.

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