When the first bell rings in the morning, Marion Killgore is in her classroom waiting to greet her high school students. When the afternoon bell rings she heads south on the notoriously curvy Highway 10 to her and her husband’s 1,120 acre ranch. Marian has been teaching for 32 years and she coached for 26 years. She taught 29 years in Northwest Arkansas and four years ago she started teaching at Kansas, Okla.
Marian enjoys attending and working in her church and since being at Kansas, Marian has brought back the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) club, which had not been active for several years. The Kansas huddle runs between 50 to 60 students each week.
This was an easy venture for Marian because of her past coaching experience. She describes herself as a cheerleader for her students as they play sports and as they make their way through the challenges of being a high school student. Her encouraging spirit towards the students also spills over into life on the ranch.
As a lady rancher, wife and mother, she can’t be faint at heart. Daily work can include checking cattle and rotating pastures on horseback (usually a colt she is training), doctoring, calving, mowing, hauling hay or running a D6 dozer. On most snow days teachers are snuggled up under a blanket reading a good book, not chopping ice from ponds and warming up newborn calves.
Marian had always loved horses, cattle and country life, but never experienced it until she met her husband Hank. He taught her all about training and riding horses. As newlyweds, Hank and Marian lived in Hiwasse, Ark., but in 1995 they bought 1,120 acres along the Illinois River next to Hanging Rock Camp between Kansas and Tahlequah, Okla.
The Killgores raise Longhorn/Corriente cattle crossed with Ankola Watusi. They got their foundation bull from the Wilmoth’s at the Gentry Safari.
Ten years ago they started raising Brahman cross bucking bulls on a small scale (15 bulls in a calf crop). The rest of the cattle are Longhorns bred to Charolais bulls. One of the reasons they prefer raising the Longhorn cattle is because they are hardy and utilize the ground available to them, whether it is a deep hollow or a long ridge.
Life on the ranch plus being a full-time teacher is not easy but Marian relishes every minute of both.