Cowgirls Have Your Back
When Tru Western sat down to interview Marcy Bate last Tuesday, she described her morning leading up as something like this:
Feed the herd, including 10 cows, 6 horses, a couple of dogs, one pony, one baby goat, and two wild little Cowgirls. Break the ice, haul the hay, gather the grain. Drive the kids to school and back in time to log on for eight hours of remote work, while assisting the ranch in between—unstick the feed truck, move the cows, exercise the horses—you name it.
Did I mention that it wasn’t even noon yet?
Life doesn’t slow down in the afternoon, either. Marcy goes on to describe their “after school activities.” In the warmer months, she and her husband will spend their evenings attending rodeos or riding their horses and pony alongside their daughters. 5-year-old Mesa can already run the pony at a full gallop on her own (when she’s not busy decorating it with the pony paint) and 3-year-old Talley, not old enough to ride by herself but old enough to have an opinion, proudly claims to, “rides horses only.”
Marcy’s typical day in the life requires her to wear many hats, sometimes all at once, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. With three separate notebooks always open for organization, a can-do attitude, and the mantra, “whatever is happening now gets my focus” at top of mind, it’s clear that Marcy is no stranger to the hard work that comes with busy days.
“I was raised by a strong woman.”
When asked where she gets her drive, she attributes her success in large part to her parents. Early on in life, her father instilled in her the motto, “the only limits are the limits you put on yourself,” and she witnessed this mindset in action after her parents lost their feed store to a recession. Rather than wallow in the circumstances of their situation, her dad wasted no time finding new work on a ranch, while her mom worked a variety of odd jobs to make ends meet, including substitute teaching, sales at a coffee company, and eventually working for a bison meat company, where she still works today.
The pair were an unstoppable team, and Marcy says that witnessing her mother’s work ethic and passion towards achieving the family goals inspired her to do the same in her own ventures.
The 2017 Consensus of Agriculture revealed that 36% of U.S. farmers are women, a statistic that has tripled in the past three decades, and 56% of all farms have at least one female decision maker.
Inspired by her parent’s success despite the odds, as well as by female creators on social media, Marcy decided to attend college with a major in Agricultural Business, a traditionally male-dominated field. Her pursuit for a degree opened her eyes to additional doors in the world of agriculture and western industry, and thus, a passion was born.
“Social media is such a great thing. Like, if she can do it and she's being brave about it, then I can do it. Or I can do something similar."
After graduation, Marcy got her first job in agriculture working with farmers and soil health, married her husband, Mike, and together they started their family with dreams of one day owning land—or as Marcy says, she’s, “been a cowboy’s wife ever since.”
The pandemic prompted Marcy to apply for and eventually land her dream job with Country Natural Beef, distributing all natural, no hormone beef to major grocers like Whole Foods, while her husband works alongside her father as a manager on a large ranch with over 2000 cattle.
“I really found that there is a place for me in agriculture and within being a mom, a cowboy’s wife, a cowgirl going to rodeos and having a job in the beef industry”
While western industry has made great strides in the past few decades to shine the spotlight more on women, Marcy believes there is still some progress to be made within the community—particularly surrounding the conversation of child loss.
In 2021, Marcy was asked to be on a Women’s Ranch Rodeo team that competed throughout the summer and ended up placing third overall at the Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association Finals. The next year, they qualified for the finals again; however, Marcy was unable attend after experiencing her second miscarriage that same year just ten days prior.
“It was eye-opening, right? Because in the moment you feel so alone. And then there's this huge, great big world of, what? Like, 7 billion people? And how many women just in my circle of friends have gone through the same thing?”
The outreach that Marcy received from the women on her Rodeo team served as a crucial support system for her during a difficult and lonely period of recovery. From cards with heartfelt notes to Facebook messages from near strangers offering their condolences, the Cowgirls in Marcy's circle showed up in meaningful ways when she needed it most. With the help of the women in her community and her family, she learned her capacity for survival, and in turn, resilience.
“I survived and I keep surviving knowing that at the end of the day, cowgirls have your back.”
By leaning on and sharing with her Ranch Rodeo community, she discovered just how many other women had been affected by a similar trauma—yet, no one seemed to be talking about it.
“I think it needs to be talked about more in the Western Industry. These women go through so much day-to-day within their own ranching and farming and rodeo, but there's so much more behind the scenes that happen behind closed doors that needs to be talked about."
If you or someone you know has recently experienced a miscarriage, you can find support here.
At this time, Talley (the youngest of Marcy’s children) climbs onto her mom’s lap with a stuffed unicorn in hand, signifying the end of the interview. Marcy doesn’t miss a beat—her attention is now completely on her daughter. The transformation from tough to tender is quick and effortless, a well-practiced skill demonstrated masterfully. You’d never know the heaviness of our conversation topic just 30 seconds prior.
An expert of versatility in action, the Cowgirl way.
Looking to break into the world of agriculture? Here’s Marcy’s advice:
"Just be yourself. Do not change to fit what everyone thinks that you should be. Take charge and know that at the end of the day, if you put in your best effort, you will get where you want to be.
Posted on by Janis BateWhen Mike was a little guy I started praying for the perfect spouse, God is so good he answered my prayers above and beyond!!!
Posted on by Orana WoodIn this world we need more Marcy’s. She is very deserving of this tribute and she is the epitome of Cowgirl up. I am blessed to know her, her parents and her strong Mother. I can’t wait to see what she chews up and spits out next! Way to go Marcy!
Posted on by Barbe DuebinMarcy is our granddaughter and is one of the best mom’s we know. And she and Mike are such a loving and caring dad and mom. Their family is everything to them. We are so happy to be a part of this family. There are two sets of grandparents and two great grandfatherS and four great grandmothers. And we are always included with Marcy and Mike with the girls. They are very living. Gif bless this family.