Riki Keremers and her husband Justin run a commercial Angus cow-calf and stocker operation near Lance Creek. The Kremer family, which Riki says, has ranched “forever,” run 350 pairs year-round on 8,000 acres.

“We’ve gone through the estate-planning process, and it wasn’t a smooth transition,” Riki says. “I’m the daughter-in-law and come from a ranching background. I taught math for five years before meeting my husband. My brother-in-law and his wife had been married for six years when we first started looking into estate transfer in 2006, and it looked like they were more likely to be in position to take over the ranch.

“Since I taught math, I was running numbers for Justin and my brother-in-law, telling them how things could work out. I would explain it to Justin, who was my fiancée at that time, and he would approach his parents. But something got lost in the middle, so we had a family meeting where I explained the numbers. It ended in a blow-up,” she says.

“No plan was underway and, in early 2007, my brother-in-law knocked on our door, and said he was done – he was walking away.

“That put things into motion; by that July, everything was signed over to my husband and me. But, those two are brothers, and we told him we wanted him to come in and take all the equipment and some other things like that along the way. This Thanksgiving was the first one since 2006 where there was no tension in the room; it’s taken that long to get past it,” Riki explains.