Shaun and Lacee Sims are die-hard University of Wyoming Cowboy fans but their real jobs are centered on ranching in southwestern Wyoming. Like many of the ranches in Wyoming, the Sims property is spread out and divided with many miles between land parcels. In fact, you can cross Sims Ranch property in three Wyoming counties, and one county in Utah. In addition to raising delicious and nutritious beef, the Sims family raises sheep, produces wool, and grows hay. The photos that accompany this story were taken by Lacee, an award-winning photographer.
Shaun, a fifth generation rancher was born and raised in Uinta County, Wyoming. Although he studied electrical engineering in college, his love of ranching brought him back to his roots. Shaun, along with his Father and brother own and manage the people, livestock, equipment and property that make up the Sims’ spread. Shaun’s engineering background and ability to take things apart and put them back together has also made him the chief welder, mechanic and go-to fix it man on the ranch. “He repairs and builds equipment, rides horses, four wheelers, drives trucks, pulls livestock trailers, nurses livestock, cuts and bales hay, shoes horses, shears sheep, repairs leather, moves sheep camps and commissaries, repairs flat tires and still manages to train the dogs, the kids and me, ” laughs Lacee, “And that’s just the start.”
“What I love about ranching,” says Shaun, “is that every day is another set of challenges and accomplishments. I like to look back at the end of every day and see what I have done. My success or failure is of my own making. Each day is different; the animals, weather, equipment, and attitude make my life a controlled state of chaos and I thrive in it.”
Lacee was raised in the city and recalls that the change from city life nearly 20 years ago was a big change for her. “It took me years to understand the hours ranchers put in, and the unfailing loyalty that Shaun has towards this land and the livestock,” says Lacee. Although she worked as a veterinary technician before marrying Shaun, she had only worked with cats, dogs and small exotic pets. After their wedding, she moved to the Evanston ranch and began working at a clinic near the ranch which also treated horses, cattle and sheep. “It was a crash course in livestock reality,” she remembers. “And to boot, I had a camera fetish. I took it everywhere. I could not get enough pictures of lambs, puppies, calves, hay bales or just fields and old barns. The things this city girl had never seen or been exposed to became my passion,” she explains. Lacee’s captivatingly heartfelt photography chronicles the real life of agriculture in Wyoming. More of her work can be found on her website: Leather-N-Lace Photography.
Shaun and Lacee have three daughters, three sons-in-law and two granddaughters with the first grandson expected to join the clan this spring.
Feature date: 2014