Family: Daughter, Tiffany McCarter; and grandchildren, Raylee and Blakely
Hometown: Chouteau, Okla.
In Town: “My husband Ray worked on the pipeline and was gone a lot. We were looking for a way for him to stay home when the kids were little. Consequently, in 1998 and with the help of another family member who had a similar operation,, we opened a restaurant called the Pizza Corral in 1998 in Chouteau, Okla. We chose Chouteau because there were no other pizza restaurants here at the time. Ray died of a heart attack in 2013 and our son Derek died in a car crash on his way to work here. With the help of Ray’s family, I transitioned into running the restaurant and taking care of our ranch. I love talking to the people who come here and to the many Amish that Ray used to sell liquid feed to.”
In the Country: “Both Ray and I were raised on farms and wanted the same life for our children. My father, Lynn Jarrell, raised beef cattle and still team ropes at 77. Thelbert, Ray’s father, raised rodeo stock in addition to cattle. After Ray passed, I had too much land and sold 160 acres. Now I run my commercial Angus cattle operation on 270 acres where my daughter and her family also have their home. My herd consists of 55 Angus-influenced mommas bred by two registered Angus bulls. I prefer spring calving and sell at Tulsa in the fall at weaning. Calves are vaccinated in the spring with help from my brother-in-law Rob Pierce, the pastor at my church and another parishioner. However, I run this place mostly by myself, pastures are mostly Bermuda with natural clover. Because of all the fall rains, I even had some clover come up in the fall. I fertilize with chicken litter when it’s available and commercial fertilizer if it’s not. I raise some hay and buy the rest locally. Brush hogging and spraying are sources of relaxation, and I am currently looking to purchase a skid steer to improve some of my pastures and get even more relaxation time.”
Future: “Thelbert always said I was hardheaded and tried to do too much. I’m finally going to take his advice because Rob and I are soon to become partners. I’m going to keep 20 of my younger bred females to combine with 40 of his, 20 of which are fall calving using his Pharaoh bull, which is more resistant to worms and produces highly efficient calves. When I retire from the restaurant, I plan to travel, including watching my granddaughter more often as she plays softball as part of a traveling team. Of course, I’ll still work on the ranch and probably not slow down nearly as much as Thelbert would advise.”