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Jeff Scheid

When the cattle gets close to the corral, the cowboys move the herd the rest of the way.

Exploring One Of Nevada's Oldest Ranches Through Photography

Sometimes, amidst the flashing lights of the Las Vegas Strip, it's hard to remember one of Nevada's first industries: ranching.

The famous Fallini Ranch – on the edge of Great Basin – has had generations of farmhands tending cattle over an area around one thousand square miles in size.

Jeff Scheid knows the area well.

He's documented the Fallinis through a series of photographs that have now made their way to the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas.

Scheid wanted to photograph the family while they branded cattle in the spring. 

"They did it the old-style way," he said, "Everything they did is what the great-grandfathers of all the generations past did it."

It took some time for Scheid to persuade the family to allow him to photograph them, but his background as former Montana ranch hand while growing up helped.

"I think being a westerner, I think there's a trust," he said. "There's a bond being a westerner."

The ranch is 30 miles north of Rachel along Nevada State Route 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway.

"That's what I love about Nevada -- there's a lot of fascination, a lot of dreaming out there, a lot of imagining what it was like," Scheid said.

While a lifestyle that many people would consider old-fashioned is still a big part of life in rural Nevada, what the future holds for ranching in Nevada and for the family is unknown because of how much things are changing in the world around them.

"It's kind of a dying business," Scheid said. "The family doesn't know if that ranch is going to go another generation or more."

But for now, Sue and Joe -- 70 and 74 years old, respectively -- are working on the ranch, passing on the traditions of ranching in Nevada to their family. Scheid captured Sue's ability to do the work of people half her age -- under sometimes extreme conditions -- in many of his photographs.

"There are some strong, strong women and men out in rural Nevada," he said. "It really gives me hope that I can be that strong when I get older."

Scheid has been photographing Las Vegas and Nevada for 35 years. He worked for many years at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but now his goal is to capture what he can of the Silver State.

"The next phase of my life now, I want to document Nevada," he said. 

 

 

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Jeff Scheid

Horses get a water break as cowboys share ranching stories. In one of many nods to the modern era, Twin Springs rounds up temporary ranch hands for branding season through 21st Century methods such as Facebook status updates.

 

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Jeff Scheid

Joe Fallini pilots a helicopter while herding cattle while bucking 40-mph winds.

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Jeff Scheid

Sue Fallini holds a jack knife during a branding while her daughter Anna keeps the rope tight.

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Jeff Scheid

Giovanni Berg,6, gives love to a horse before branding begins. Giovanni is named for his great-great-grandfather, Giovanni Fallini, an Italian immigrant who moved to Nevada from Italy in the 1860s and began Twin Springs Ranch.

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Jeff Scheid

The cowboy dance: Pook Hoots, left, and Ty Berg dodge ropes, horses, worried heifers, a small fire for branding irons and each other in the harried hustle to secure a calf and begin branding.

 

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Jeff Scheid

Sisters Anna Fallini Berg and Corrina Fallini Jackson stop for a snack. Anna is eating the Rocky Mountain oysters her mother prepared the night before, fresh from newly castrated calves. Corrina sticks with an apple.

 

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(Editor's note: This interview originally aired October 2017)

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Jeff Scheid, photographer

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