Best Angus started in 1987 when Pete was offered the opportunity to select a 4-H heifer out of the replacement pen at McCumber Angus Ranch of Rolette, ND. Since then, additional females have been added to the herd, but a majority of the brood cows trace back to that original McCumber heifer.
In 2004, Best Angus began utilizing embryo transfer (ET) to maximize the influence of time-tested, proven cows in the herd. A similar philosophy has been used when selecting AI sires. Best Angus focuses on bulls that have high EPD accuracies, are balanced in their trait profile, and have proven that they produce good daughters and ones that we think will flourish in the unique and demanding dry land environment of the western North Dakota badlands.
Our cows are not a hobby and they are our sole source of revenue generation here at Best Angus. If they are not profitable, neither is our ranch. They are expected to be problem free, have excellent udder quality and extreme fertility. They must have easy to manage dispositions, be efficient with their limited feed resources and flesh easily. They must be sound on their feet and legs and athletic enough to travel the rugged, 30-plus acre per cow summer and fall range that they forage with an extended grazing season (our goal is to only feed hay 90 days out of the 365 day year). All of these things are expected of our cows while still providing as much feedlot performance and carcass quality as possible in their calves year in and year out, with a percentage of their body weight in live calf weaned being considered.
Elkhorn Creek Ranch is the home of Best Angus and Quarter Horses. The ranch inventories approximately 275 head of registered Angus cows, 125 head of commercial development heifers, and a small band of registered Quarter Horses. The ranch is family owned and operated. It is headquartered in the badlands of western North Dakota in McKenzie County, 15 miles southeast of the town of Watford City. It is a second generation ranch that was purchased by Vawnita’s father, Kurt Hovet in 1968. Her parents actively operated Elkhorn Creek Ranch until her father's passing in March, 2013.
Until 2006, Elkhorn Creek Ranch was stocked solely with commercial Angus-Sim cross cows. At that time, Pete and Vawnita moved their 30 registered cows home. Those cows were managed on shares with Angus friends from 1991 (when Pete left home for NDSU) to 2006. We began using the ranch's commercial cows as recipient mothers in our embryo transfer program.
Our horses are as essential to getting our work done as any other piece of equipment on a farm or ranch. Vawnita grew up with her dad riding colts for neighbors and she understood the value of what long days, challenging terrain, and wet saddle blankets with purpose do for the development of the hearts and minds of young horses.
Our program focus has been to blend the proven mare families at the Pitzer Ranch with the highly athletic Carol Rose Quarter Horse lines. All of the horses are ranch raised with a handful being marketed annually through our production sale and private treaty off the ranch. Our philosophy and expectation for our horses is similar to that of our cattle – athletic, durable, trainable, quick and willing to learn and go to work, and to have good common and cow sense.
We invite you to come visit anytime and see our ‘blue collar’ cows and mares at home working in their blue collar world. We live and ranch in beautiful country and we love sharing it with appreciative folks that like to drink coffee and talk ANGUS and QUARTER HORSES.
From EVERYONE at Elkhorn Creek Ranch, we truly hope you can come visit us sometime!