About Us

In 1976, Montie Ritchie said, "Nobody or organization succeeds alone in the world, so the fact that we are able this year to celebrate our 100th birthday is due in large part to the wonderful loyal men and women, leaders who worked for and with us, men of imagination, men of skill, men of courage, men who braved the elements day or night, men who took pride in their crafts, loved their horses, and understood their cattle, and were eager to enhance the reputation of the JA and proud to be part of it."


JA Ranch Management

Ninia Ritchie   ◦   Jay O’Brien   ◦   Andrew Bivins   ◦   Dale Smith

Texas Ranch

Randal Gates - JA Texas Ranch Foreman

Randal Gates - Ranch Foreman

Randal comes from New Mexico, where he worked with his father at area ranches from a very young age. After graduating high school, Randal attended South Plains College, and then to the Clarendon College Ranch and Feedlot program where he graduated with an Associate Degree in Ranch and Feedlot Business. Working in different ranches and feedlots, Randal developed an eye for sick cattle and the traditional sense of how to handle cattle. Randal’s humble approach to integrity, honesty and hard work were strengthened by working with some great people at some of the most historical ranches that America has to offer. The Chappell Spade Ranch in 1997-1999. The JA Ranch in 1999-2003. The XL Ranch foreman from 2003-2008. The Swenson Ranch Wagon Boss from 2008-2010. In August of 2010 Randal returned as foreman to the JA Ranch, with his family. In his spare time, you can find Randal cooking on his grill or chasing kids.

Logan Putnam - Headquarters cowboy

Adam Woods - High Lonesome Camp cowboy

Les Freeland - Excavator Operator

Les Freeland - Excavator Operator

Les and Alesia Freeland came to the JA Ranch in March of 2008 from New Mexico. Les is the Excavator/CAT operator at this time.

Both are New Mexico natives, although Les has worked in Miami, Texas on a farm & ranch and has driven combines on a grain harvest which went through several states from New Mexico through Texas up to Rapid City, South Dakota and back to New Mexico. Les comes from a family of cowboys. His family owned and operated several ranches in New Mexico; one near Capitan, one near White Oaks, on in Arabella (near Ruidoso), and one near Carrizozo.

Les grew up on ranches and has worked as a cowboy on ranches in New Mexico and Texas. He was also half owner of a water well and windmill business for over 20 years.

Ron McCurdy - Maintenance man

Kerry McCurdy - Mess Hall cook

Colorado Ranch

John Anderson - JA Colorado Ranch Foreman

John Anderson - Ranch Foreman

John has been with the JA Colorado ranch since 1994. For over 22 years John has been working to improve and streamline all of the working elements and efforts of the ranch. Blueprinted goals were created and implemented over the years for less stress regarding the management of the cattle, that has improved weight gains and calmer cattle. John also contributes the success of the operation to the great quality of JA bred horses that are indeed the backbone of the ranch operations. While John literally wears two totally different hats, the cowboy hat is his passion and labor of love. Coming up in 2018, John will call it quits after serving 40 years wearing a Police Officers hat. During 34 years of that time, John has served in a leadership role as a Police Commander to include 18 years of that as a SWAT leader. John still finds time to be a husband and father. Lisa Anderson is Executive Assistant to the Town Manager and Town Council of Castle Rock and enjoys helping out on the ranch when she can. Jason, the oldest son, served 4 years in the U.S. Marine Corp and is currently a Police Officer in the Denver area, Brycen served 5 years in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and is now in college majoring in Engineering, while 18 year old Matthew is excelling in his 2nd year at Colorado State University majoring in Project Management, as well as working on the ranch.

Contributing Photographers

Lisa Freeland - Paloduro, TX

Lisa Freeland - Paloduro, TX

Alesia is a professional artist and photographer. The JA Ranch has allowed her endless opportunities to photograph and create artwork which portrays the naturalistic style of her work. Charities are her passion, 2nd only to her artwork. She has donated her work to the following charities; New Mexico: Roswell Tri-Club Pediatric Support Foundation-Children with Cancer, The Assurance Home for Children, The Boys & Girls Club, UNICEF, Elks Lodge-Children with Cerebral Palsy, The Albuquerque Christian Children's Home; Texas: North Texas Rehab Center, West Texas Rehab Center, and the West Texas Boys Ranch.

Herb Crowell - Amarillo, TX

Herb Crowell - Wagner's Studio (Amarillo, TX)

We enjoyed assisting with the restoration of photographs for the JA Ranch exhibit at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in 2008. Since 1945, Wagner's Studio has provided Amarillo and the surrounding community with the finest in portrait, wedding, photo restoration and commercial photography.

Pam Schulz - Parker, CO

Pam Schulz - Parker, CO

For the past 4 years, Pam has been hiking on the JA, putting her expertise as a field geologist and photographer to use in studying and documenting the geology of the ranch. In addition, she has compiled a vast archive of wildflower and scenic landscape photographs, showing the extraordinary beauty of this property.

Zetta Jones - Littlefield, TX

Zetta Jones - Littlefield, TX

Many of the photos from “our living history” photo album are taken by Zetta.
A self-taught photographer, Zetta has an uncanny sense of detail and sees the beauty in places the rest of us never even look.

Additional Photograph Contributions From:
Raymond S. Matlack PHD - Associate Professor of Biology West Texas A&M
Ninia Ritchie, Julie Gates, Lisa Anderson, Jennifer Jones