Episode 017 - Sixth Generation Cattle Rancher, Mackenzie Kimbro

In this episode, we are joined by Mackenzie Kimbro, a sixth-generation cattle rancher from southeast Arizona. As a former Arizona Beef Ambassador and National Beef Ambassador Team member, Mackenzie passionately advocates for the cattle industry. Tune in as she shares her insights on ranching, fashion, and the cowboy way of life, discussing her business, blog, fashion, and coffee table cookbook "Roots Run Deep: Our Ranching Tradition."

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Podcast Transcript

Taylor McAdams: You're listening to the Kick Your Boots Up podcast where we swap stories of the West. Whether you're just waking up or getting in for the day, come on in and kick your boots up. Joining us today on the kick your boots up podcast is the sixth-generation cowgirl from Arizona, Mackenzie Kimbro. Kenzie, it's been so good getting to know your story over the years. And we actually got to have a fun kind of opportunity back in 2020. When the NFR came, you have your own show Roots Run Deep, and I got to be a guest on your show. So now of course, by default, and because I love you, I want you to be on this show as well. And we get to I get to take turns with you interviewing you and getting to know your story. So thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to be here. And I just can't wait to let everyone know how cool you are.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh, my gosh, Taylor, thank you so much for having me here. Like you said, we're good friends. And I got to interview you a while back and really excited to kind of switch roles today and see what you have up your sleeve to ask me.

Taylor McAdams: Well, hopefully it won't be anything too challenging. Hopefully this will be fun. For sure. I do want to get started with getting to know more about your background and more. So what it was like growing up on a ranch because there's there's people that live on ranches. And then there's you you document most of every every day and I was just telling our friends off the screen here that you are one of the very few that actually go with the ranch hands and help push the cattle through the desert. And that is so inspiring. So tell us about what it was like growing up in your background and what it's like living on a ranch growing up on a ranch.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh, definitely, it's been such a blessing. And it's really molded the way that I live my entire life. As you mentioned, I'm a sixth generation cattle rancher and I don't take that responsibility lightly. It's an honor and a privilege to be able to work with my family on a daily basis. We have three ranches in southern Arizona, we're in a very diverse Borderlands region and the landscape here all the way down to the way that we run our cattle is very unique. And it's really cool to be able to document that, as you said, with camera crews or with my phone, just sharing it on Instagram and Facebook, and kind of be able to share our Southwestern lifestyle with everybody else around the country. Growing up on the ranch was definitely challenging. And I think a lot of people would agree with that. It's not for the faint of heart. But it's also one of the most rewarding careers. And I always say I'm doing God's work and work in his landscape and raising his animals and taking care of it for the next generation. And for now, I'm proud to be the next generation.

Taylor McAdams: Oh, yeah. And it's no secret. He's using you for good. And you're getting to kind of be the vessel to showcase with the rest of the world what life is like. And one thing I admire about you is, I remember a long time ago probably was a few summers ago, in particular that you were pushing cattle through your I think switching pastures. I'm not really sure. But you had gotten in my eye for a little bit. And everyone was kind of like, where's Mackenzie, she's somewhere in the desert. And then you came back on and you looked like you had been, you know, in a desert with cattle, you weren't trying to put on makeup and make it look like a glamorous lifestyle. You had chapped lips, and you talk about how bad the wind was. I appreciate that you keep things real. And what's it like, you know, living the real lifestyle?

Mackenzie Kimbro: Well, I appreciate that Taylor, because you know, a lot of us that have a career on social media and sharing our lives there. It's really hard to be vulnerable and come on not looking 100% presentable every day. But like you said, that's part of the ranching lifestyle. And that's something that is important to me is keeping it really authentic. Because literally one day we'll be working cattle, and we'll be out in the elements in the wind. And I want to make up on cattle drive day, some days just because I feel like if you look good, you feel good, and you do good. But definitely spending that much time out in the sun and working in the elements and driving cattle through the mountains or rotating pastures is very challenging, especially with the Arizona weather it can change on a dime. So we are joking usually about wearing layers and we're layering even in the summer, you might start with a wild ride that morning and be wishing you had a pool to jump into by the end of the day. So yeah, that's that's an interesting part of it, for sure. But the other side of that that I just want to touch on real quick. What I share a lot of is the way that we ranch here. And as I said earlier, it's very different than some parts of the country, mostly because of the landscape and how our terrain is set up and things like that. What I usually am sharing when we're driving cattle for long days and long hauls, some of our ranches are up in the mountains and some are down in more of a volcanic area. And so very different forages very different pasture rotation management practices, and all of those things kind of have to work together for a healthy landscape. And of course, at the end of the day, that's our goal is ranchers is of course to take care of our cattle and raise healthy beef but also to take care of a working landscape. So a lot of those images and videos and stuff that I get to share our US rotating pastures with our cattle or working on improvements, building fences, improving water pipelines so that there's water all over the country and we can really utilize every bit of the tension We can and our cattle are happy with that. So it seems like we're doing something right.

Taylor McAdams: Oh, you definitely are. And I really appreciate that you share with the rest of the world your journey along the way. But I think I'm getting a little ahead of myself, I want to back up just a little bit you mentioned about being a sixth generation cow, cattle rancher and cowgirl also. But the family aspect is really important for that. Obviously, if they wouldn't have made their way here and established, you wouldn't be where you are today. And I remember one moment in particular, I got to jump into the truck with you and your mom and a few of the other crew camera crew people for your show back in Texas whenever we were filming for your show. And I just was just was so in awe of your mom and you and your mom's relationship. You guys work so well together. So let's talk back it up and talk about the family aspect. Tell us about your family, how they work together, what it's like, you know, with your live doing it every single day with them, and just all the elements of that.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Yeah, so mom and I have a very unique relationship. And I'm very lucky in that aspect. Backing up even further, my family arrived in Arizona, from Texas in 1896 and homesteaded here, so our family has really deep roots in Arizona and in ranching, we've been ranching in every generation. And that is something that was actually instilled in me from a young age kind of an appreciation for that, because growing up in this lifestyle, like I mentioned earlier, not for the faint of heart. And it's something that if you look at it with the right lens, and you really pay attention to the importance of what we're doing with our work, but also what we're doing to continue this legacy for the next generation. It's something that I take to heart deeply. And so on a daily basis, I get to work with my grandpa, Warner Glen and my mom, Kelly Glen Kimbro, and between the three of us, we are going and blownin’ all the time. And people are always saying, you know, you guys are kind of hard to keep up with. And I would agree that we are, but we definitely can't do it without each other, we are very blessed that we get along well, we don't fight much. And I think that it really just comes down to a mutual respect for each other. And also, we just don't have much time to fight. So that's true, there's really no way Just don't let that get in the way. Yeah. Being able to work with them on a daily basis is such a blessing. And I will say that until I am blue in the face, because it's an opportunity that I share, don't take for granted.

Taylor McAdams: that for you. I can tell you're so genuine about that. And that's why I really respect you a lot and kind of go moving on to my next set of questions. It's got to be really cool and humbling at the same time to think about your next, you know, once your grandpa moves on, and of course, your mom will get older in many, many, many years from now, of course, it's gotta be kind of a cool feeling, knowing that, that you're the next generation, it's up to you to live on the ranch and family name. But now that I'm talking through it, you probably have a lot of pressure too.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh, I would say so yeah, um, I think that's something that you almost have to take in stride at this point, because I have chosen to be the next generation. And it's my life's goal to stay here. And, of course, something that we'll talk about in a little bit is kind of diversifying what I get to do with my career and the different ways that I can kind of dive into a bunch of different passions. But in the short term, of course, we're all working together. And that's great. I actually gave up a few really good Ivy League offers after high school to go to college, because I knew that ranching was going to be what I would do, no matter what else I decided to go into ranching was always going to be the basis for it. And so I figured I should learn as much as I can from my grandpa and my mom, while I have them. And while I have such a unique opportunity to work with them every day, and even just conversations, we all usually get together at the dinner table every night and just hearing the conversations of what happened in each of our days if we were in separate places, or just kind of recapping what's ahead this coming week or things like that is what helps kind of keep me grounded in knowing that, hopefully, I'll be able to be successful. And many, many years from now, as you said, when things change, and I'm the leader of the Dynamic, then I'll just have to be able to rest on knowing that I've learned as much as I can from the generations before me and I hope that I can make them proud.

Taylor McAdams: And you will I have no doubt. So no pressure there. No, no, no pressure at all. And kind of moving on to that I mentioned earlier that it's nice following along and getting to see you in the day to day life. But let's let's break down a normal day. I know it's starting calving season. Now you're going to be doing branding soon in the spring moving on to summer. So talk about like a normal day in your life because your life really isn't normal.

Mackenzie Kimbro: No, I would say it's not normal whatsoever. And I think that's what makes it so special and so unique. It's something that not a lot of people get to experience necessarily, but when people ask about it, and like you know what, it's a whirlwind and we're exhausted 99% of the time, but at the end of the day, there's such a fulfillment in what we're doing also. So walking through a normal day is kind of something that I don't I don't necessarily have a great answer for every single day is diff right here. And literally, we have big calendars laid out on the tables in the office that we have to go through a couple times a week between mom and I and my grandpa Warner, because one day, we will literally all be riding and gathering and you know, branding as calving seasons coming up, and then we'll be branding. In the fall, we have fall works. So like I mentioned, we have three ranches. And the dynamic on those is a little bit different at the time of year that we can run things. So one day, we might be working cows, one day, we'll be putting in new fences or fixing a busted pipeline somewhere. And the next day, I might be having an opportunity like this where I get to have a meeting with you. We've also hosted a lot of people through the years, which is kind of a cool deal. Our family has always been really known for hospitality. So the uniqueness of the valley that we ranch in has brought a lot of visitors, whether it be people looking at conservation practices and ranching, or people looking for wildlife diversity, and how that all coexist in a working landscape, whether it be a little bit of politics, because we do live on the border, things like that, we've always been known for hosting. And so we, that might be one day, we might be cooking lunch for 60 people. And the next day, we might be working cows. And the day after that fixing broken fences and pipelines. And it's never a dull moment, that's for sure I am perpetually behind on office work. Like anybody that works with me knows, if you don't hear back from me in an email within 24 hours, give me a minute, because I promise I will get back to you. But definitely cool to see how diverse just a week schedule can be. It's never, never the same day in a life, that's for sure.

Taylor McAdams: And that keeps it exciting and interesting and fresh and new. I feel like and you really can't plan for the things that happen on your day to day like if a fence breaks busts, or, you know, you mentioned a pipe busting. It's just all different, right? And so that's that kind of makes it I guess harder and easier at the same time to be a control freak, but also not, you know, you kind of have to just let the good Lord take care of you in moments like that. And that's what I find really encouraging about your roll off the shoulders mentality. That's really inspiring. So let's kind of talk about I mentioned a little bit about the harder parts when things go wrong. But what are the hardest parts of the ranch life that you live? Obviously, it's been modernized to today's time, but there's got to be some challenges that you face. So what are those?

Mackenzie Kimbro: Well, it kind of honestly that even kind of depends on the day, I would say personally, the biggest challenges for me are looking at improvement projects. So those waters and fence lines, and trying to kind of map out best ways to make them better. Because a lot of them have been in place for many years now. And on one of the ranches that actually just came back into our family it was originally homesteaded by some of ours and then left the family for a while and just came back in. It definitely needed some big improvements. And I'm very fortunate that my mom took that in stride. And that has been like her baby project. But the biggest challenges of that is just figuring out the literal logistics of it all, like you mentioned. Having that let it roll off your back mentality and kind of go with the flow and hope for the best and pray about it, if it all falls apart is crucial in literally every aspect of what we do. I think the other kind of cliche, but honestly most challenging part of ranching in general, is just dealing with the weather because you're raising cattle and you're working with nature, and hopefully you're working with it and not against it. So in times of drought, we're here in Arizona, drought can be six months drought can be 10 years, you don't know and you just have to be able to like I said Roll with it and adapt and lean on your resources and kind of know what past generations before you have done to get through and and like you mentioned, lean on those newer technologies and better feed supplements and asking your neighbors and going into forums provided by NCBA and the beef councils to try to learn as much as you can and handle those situations to the best of your ability. And like I said, Pray about it and kind of hope for the best.

Taylor McAdams: And definitely in a lot of people are starting to see that I guess in the new series of shows Yellowstone. But I feel like you live it every single day. And while it's much different than Montana, I'm getting the serious vibes of when it's time to move cattle to different pastures. And, you know, you're you're afraid of over grazing and maybe there is a disease. And so talk to us a little bit about the cattle drives in particular and what it takes to to get there from one pasture to another because it's around your area. It's not just an easy task.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Definitely not. We as I said earlier, we live in one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the world actually. And that's kind of a neat, that's like my fun fact when I go to introduce myself somewhere, especially in the ranching industry, and that I mean that provides its own unique set of challenges. The terrain itself can be really hard to navigate and honestly finding good help that our neighbors help each other a lot. And we all kind of do work for each other, but trying to bring in Cowboys to help with those bigger days for the cattle drives and for moving pastures and gathering in the fall and trying to make sure we don't leave anything behind. And then also gathering in the spring, making sure we don't leave a baby calf somewhere and take its mom into a hole in the pasture and things like that. It's a little bit tricky down here, just because the terrain is so diverse, we have flatlands all the way through volcanic activity. So really rocky country, you've got to have good rock footed horses and kind of mountain room and meals, we ride meals quite a bit around here, just because of their ability to navigate the country and go where the cattle go. And sometimes you're still on a mountain and it gets a little hairy, but you know that a meal is going to take care of itself. So you just got to trust him. And that's part of the process. But it'll go all the way up to mountain country and really rugged pieces. And in the winter things freeze and boulders break. And it's a little bit dangerous. But just kind of growing up here and learning how to navigate this piece of the country is really important. And that's that's something that I don't take for granted. And it's something that's kind of reiterated every time that we have some of the college rodeo guys out to help us gather whatever, we usually don't let them write their expensive arena horses out here, because we definitely don't want to cripple something. But to hear guys from all over the country say, Man, this is some tough country to work in it, it definitely is. And it's something that makes it unique and challenging. But it's also beautiful, and it's good counter entry when we get good rain. So I'll take it.

Taylor McAdams: I have so many questions about that. And unfortunately gonna run out of time if I ask them all, but I really am intrigued by the meals. And then I also think too, it's a great really good practice for the college rodeo guys to to come out and get the real world cowboy experience and get to get away from classes too. So that's, that's awesome what you guys have going on there. But one thing that I feel like that I keep every time I think of you I think of this one picture in particular that I saw a few years ago that that kind of sets the bar for your style and in talks is going to help us talk through the next questions that I have for you. I remember in particular you're posing by a cattle dog cattle loading chute, and you're in you know, a Western top and jeans are you know, you know, cute trendy, and then you have high heels. And to me that is just such an iconic look for you. Because that represents that you can dress up and go to the city. But you also still live it every day to.

Mackenzie Kimbro: For sure. And I know exactly which patient you're thinking of, because that's one of my favorites for the many years that I've been doing this. So quick backstory about seven years ago, I got started completely by accident into the Western fashion influencing community I was serving as a state and national beef ambassador on behalf of the beef councils in NCBA, and, and CW. And through that I had to start a blog. That's when blogging was still a big deal and started talking about beef and sharing our ranch story completely accidentally fell into the fashion side of things and got started doing photo shoots and working with brands and really growing a community online through social media. And so a big part of what I do is roots run deep. And that's important to me and of course, continuing legacies and sharing stories of how we do things in the southwest. But the other side of what I do is a great and glam concept. And that's pretty important to me. Also, I come from a long line of really tough ranch women. I have paintings all over the wall behind me of cowgirls. And the way that the cowgirl has been depicted over the last couple 100 years is she's tough, but she knows how to dress up and go to town also. And so I really embrace that. And I think that's really fun. Because I fully am firmly believe just because you want to wear high heels one day does not mean that you can't wear jeans and boots and get down and dirty with the rest of them the next or the same day. Some days it's the same day, I have definitely been in the branding pen and had to clean up for an event one night. So really embracing that grit and glam concept super important to me. And I like to kind of share that also. And when I'm trying to empower other women in how they want to dress if they think they're too tomboy, to look nice, then kind of show them off options for that. And if they think they're too city to work on a ranch or really try to, you know, get right in there with the men, I'll help them feel confident in that too. 

Taylor McAdams: I cannot agree more you do that. So well what a class act you are when it comes to fashion because you kind of lead the way and you're not afraid to be yourself. A lot of girls I feel like get in their head a little bit but you are so so free. And you'll do try ons whenever you go shopping and you'll do the different you can dress it up, dress it down. I love that you give several different looks for maybe a staple piece. And then the same thing as wild rags. Obviously, I'm a huge fan of them, you dress them up so well. So what are some things that you notice right now that are becoming trends that you're really into? And what are some of the fashion things that you see maybe even becoming a thing in the future too?

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh, well, first off, thank you very much. That was a very kind compliment. I sure appreciate all of the love that you have given me through the years you've seen me come from the RFD TV days all the way through and now with everything either of us is doing. You've seen a lot of my style through the years. 

Taylor McAdams: Yeah. And they have changed. Let me tell you all the styles across the board like the headbands, I used to do the whole headband thing.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Yeah. We all know, to the headband. At one point. Yeah, that one's fine. Just talking just a little bit about some of the trends that I've seen, especially in the last year. And in the last couple of months, even during last year and into the fall, we saw cowboy culture, of course, taking over mainstream America. And I I give large part credit to that to Yellowstone for kind of bringing that back to the forefront and showing a dramatized split, romanticized version of what we all do. And honestly, fashion trends and fashion brands. And designers have always had a respect, I think for the cowboy lifestyle, I think there's always been a little touch here and there, especially with some designers more than others, Ralph Lauren is always a good example of that. But the last year, last couple of months, and even headed into spring, some of those elements are really taking over mainstream fashion. And I think it's neat to see the consumer base of shoppers really gravitate back towards Western brands to kind of source those look. So cowboy boots, of course, are always in trend for those of us in the western industry. But they're taking over, I was just looking at some stuff before we hopped on here from New York Fashion Week, which was just here recently, and cowboy boots were all over the streets of New York still. So that trend in mainstream fashion is not going anywhere anytime soon. I'm also kind of liking Western and mainstream fashion are embracing wild rags and silk scarves a little bit more through seasons. Of course, traditionally, on the ranch, and in the cowboy lifestyle, we're gonna wear them for functionality. And the dressiest we may get with them is I don't know tying a Buckaroo knot instead of a square knot. But seeing the different ways that we can style those from ranch to runway, honestly, there's people styling them by tying them on their handbags taking them into spring that way, maybe the lighter weight should find type materials being worn as accents to an outfit so So bringing in those touches of our lifestyle and just styling them a little bit differently. I've also seen a lot of cowboy hats, some we're working on it, some are not shaped, as those of us in the western industry would prefer. But you know what, thank you.

Taylor McAdams: Say it louder for the people in the back. The back

Mackenzie Kimbro: backwards, and the people who don't have them shapes quite right, well work on it. But honestly, I say this a lot when I have these conversations with people in the Western industry that may not be fully embracing the fact that contemporary fashion has tried to bring in some of those elements and maybe just aren't educated enough about them to do them justice. I say this is an opportunity for those of us in the western industry who know better to start a conversation that has your foot in the door to advocate for the industry to tell your own story of agriculture, of ranching, to really have some kind of a common ground with these people. And they're interested in hearing what we have to say, obviously, they like the look of our cowboy culture, but let's tell them a little bit about it so that they can have a respect for it too.

Taylor McAdams: Oh, yes, I'm so thankful you brought that up and just encourage them along the way, because the only way the western lifestyle is going to continue on getting the love and the support that it needs is by being an advocate and speaking the truth and involving and being inclusive. So could not have said about him or better myself. That's so awesome. And I'm going to kind of speed things up a little bit. So throughout the seasons, a pair of cowboy boots you mentioned are a staple item. What how would you go from wearing the same pair of boots whether that be summer, spring, fall, winter all throughout the season. So what's something you would do?

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh gosh, this is something that I have tried to hone my craft on in the last couple of years because I own way too many cowboy boots by most people's standards and unapologetic about that I like we won't judge you for that when we're here we have a pretty solid section of that's for sure. But honestly styling them from through seasons is not as hard as people think I think overlooking even the simplest stylings is where we kind of fall short usually. Of course you can go classic and wear them with a good stack pair of jeans. That's important getting an inseam that's long enough so that you have a little bit of a stack on him that'll go through all seasons and of course is versatile and functional. But then if you go more towards the fashion side of things, a trend that we're seeing a lot is kind of an exaggerated cuff of our jeans. So especially on a straight like style. That gives you an option that's not tucking your boots into your jeans but still allowing for a little bit of that more artistic boot top to show and I think that's a really cute option especially headed into spring, summer, summer dresses. I'm here for styling those with tall boots especially one of the most flattering fits is the taller the top the prettier that the whole silhouette is also here for a good pair of booties but if we're looking at the exact same style of boots throughout the year, covering the jeans gives you an option able to kind of dress it up and ended up a little for street style. Checking your jeans into your boots. Never or something I'm gonna frown on. I love the way that looks with like an oversized blazer and maybe a Concho belt headed into fall. And then winter just layering them up. And also a classic thing that I think brands like Double D ranch and cowboys and Indians has shown this a lot through the years, those bigger kind of velvet broom skirts that are a little bit longer. But maybe for those of us that are tall don't quite touch the ground. That's an ideal situation to wear the same pair of cowboy boots have them peeking out from the bottom so that you have that cowboy classy style. And you can carry it all the way throughout the year.

Taylor McAdams: Oh, yes. I'm so glad you brought that up as a tall girl myself. I'm like, Yes, that's a staple for everyone. So unfortunately, we're out of time for today. But I still want everyone to have the opportunity to learn more about you and to get to see what I'm talking about to get to see you live your everyday lifestyle and to continue on to support you and watch you and learn what you do. So where can we find you tell us about your website, social medias, we just want to support you in the best way we can.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh gosh, Taylor, I so appreciate you guys having me on the podcast today. If people want to follow along and reach out and be part of the community. I'm on Instagram more than anything. My handle is Kinsey, tNZ i e g k. I'm also on Facebook roots Randy Mackenzie Kimbrough, and then my website is roots run deep az.com. You can find all kinds of stuff on both of the social pages. And then also on the website. And as you mentioned, the TV show that we've been filming the last couple of years, specifically during the NFR. All of those episodes are on my website and on my Instagram page. So if you guys can't find something here, if you have questions or whatever, just don't be afraid to reach out because I'm an open book and I appreciate you all for being there. 

Taylor McAdams: You are an open book and you always include everyone and you always start with Hey friends and I love that I love that you immediately make people that follow you feel like they're in your friend circle your friend group your family and over time like us you do become actual real friends in real life. So very good. Continue doing everything that you do for the industry. Very thankful that you took the time out of your busy day to be on here and keep doing you girl. This is awesome and keep sharing your light with the rest of the world.

Mackenzie Kimbro: Oh Taylor, thank you so much. That means the world to man. It's been an honor to be part of this podcast.

Taylor McAdams: Thanks for joining us on Kick Your Boots Up. I'm your host Taylor McAdams and we can't wait to share the next story of the West. Until then, feel free to like subscribe and leave us a review. Follow us on social media at Justin boots to keep up with our next episode. And we'll see you the next time you kick your boots up.