“Ooops. There’s the other phone ringing. I better take it. I’ll call you back when I get done.”
Gayle Larson’s response was a typical busy day at the Diamond L Ranch.
Actually the picturesque homestead on Highway 4 between Dwight and White City is the most diversified Council Grove business.
First and still foremost Diamond L is a horse operation, but much more these days.
“We raise, train and sell horses while standing our stallion for breeding a limited number of outside mares,” Gayle said. “Rodeo events and practice opportunities are hosted regularly at our indoor arena.
“However, Diamond L Supply is also a major part of operations here. We sell metal roofing, siding and building packages as well as livestock equipment, bale beds, and waterers.”
Congenial Mrs. Tad Larson’s knowledgeable enthusiasm for it all shows through as she talks about Diamond L between business calls.
“My husband Tad grew up here on his family’s farm. It’s developed and diversified since we were married in 1993,” Gayle explained. “We both enjoyed horse activities growing up and now our children Ty and Cheyenne get to enjoy them too.
“Diamond L is really a family partnership with everybody an important and essential part in its success,” Mom added.
Tad Larson started competing successfully in rodeo competitions at an early age along with diversified other championship livestock projects.
Collecting high school rodeo titles calf roping, steer wrestling and team roping, Larson attended Allen County Community College at Iola. He won livestock showmanship titles in addition to rodeo awards.
Transferring to Kansas State University, Larson was a star rodeo team member graduating with an animal science degree. He put his education to work developing the ranch and assisting cattle operations while competing in rodeos.
“Growing up at Libertyville, Iowa, I cleaned stalls for my first opportunity to work with horses off our farm,” Gayle said. “My experience was unique to Tad’s in that I learned to harness and drive racing Standardbreds on a sulky.”
Cowgirl was in her blood though. “I was able to get my own horse and join 4H,” she added.
Attending Northeast Missouri State at Kirksville, Gayle graduated with an equine science degree.
“I worked at a Texas horse operation before being employed at Dean Parker’s horse breeding operation in Parkerville,” she said. “I also had the special opportunity to learn while working for renowned horse trainer Dean Smith at Council Grove.”
With their mutual horse interests, Tad and Gayle were destined to pursue lifetime equine endeavors together. “We wanted to raise horses. So we acquired mares as well as a Paint stallion for our use and breeding customers’ mares,” Gayle said.
Continuing to participate in rodeos, horse enterprises expanded as the energetic young couple soon had additional Quarter Horse stallions.
“We leaned toward working ranch horses with Driftwood and Blue Valentine bloodlines,” Gayle said. “We wanted horses with cow sense that would work in the pasture and the arena and have some color too.”
Stallions were shown successfully attracting patronage for their services and demand for their working ranch colts.
“The horses were nice to handle and were sold as prospects and started using horses,” Gayle said. “We did keep some fillies back to use and for raising horses of our own lineage.”
Diamond L Ranch Quarter Horse operations advanced fast forward with the purchase of Ranger Cookie as a two-year-old in 2006.
Sired by champion performer producer Playgun, “Ranger” is double bred Jewel’s Leo Bars and Doc Bar. His dam Peanut Butter Cookie by Holidoc was a superior all-around roping horse.
“We were really excited to get Ranger and he’s proven to be an outstanding asset to our Quarter Horse operation,” Gayle credited.
Shown by Jamie Stover of Abilene and Chris Littlefield of Henrietta, Texas, Ranger collected three American Quarter Horse Association Superior Awards. With more than 375 points, the gray stallion qualified for the World Championship Show in heading, heeling and calf roping.
“He was in the top five two years,” Gayle credited.
Best of all Ranger’s offspring are performing in every aspect of arena and ranch work. “He is a great cross on cow bred mares as well as running bred mares,” Gayle added. “His colts are very talented and trainable.”
Add frosting on the cake for Diamond L’s Ranger, Cheyenne Larson has ridden him collecting barrel racing checks.
“We knew Ranger was a top rope horse, but for our daughter to win barrel races really proves his versatility,” Gayle noted. “People usually don’t even realize he’s a stallion due to his kind disposition which carries into his offspring.”
Bred to Diamond L mares, Ranger’s mating services also go throughout the country. “All of our breeding is done through artificial insemination,” Gayle said. “I do the collecting and breeding work here as well as ship cooled and frozen semen to other mare owners.”
All of the family was especially credited for assistance in the breeding operations.
“We sell Ranger’s foals at auctions and private treaty, and always keep some colts back for our own use,” Gayle said.
Both Ty and Cheyenne have excelled in the rodeo arena collecting all-around awards in junior, high school and college competitions. Both youth followed in their dad’s boot steps as members of the Kansas State University Rodeo Team.
Diversifying horse operations, the Larsons built an indoor arena and hosted jackpot ropings and practice activities for several years.
“A wind storm damaged that building so we now use it for storage. Our new indoor arena, 130-feet-by-275-feet was completed four years ago,” Gayle said. It is complete with spectator seating, convenient rest room facilities and concessionary.
“We have our own cattle for team roping competitions at the indoor arena,” Gayle continued. “It’s available for rodeo practice and sometimes jackpot barrel races. We also lease the arena to several other groups for their horse competitions.”
There are 11 indoor horse stalls at Diamond L in addition to continuous steel fence horse and cattle pens.
Horses sometimes may seem to overshadow Diamond L Supply.
“We are one of the largest distributors of metal roofing and siding in Kansas since 1997,” Gayle explained. “We have the ability to get steel from different companies to provide the best quality service and product for the money.”
Tad Larson insisted: “Our specialty is a fast turnaround from time of order to delivery of product. We can usually ship within 72 hours and pride ourselves in making sure the order is correct.”
Diamond L Supply also sells to several contractors and offers free contractor referrals. “With deliveries throughout the country, we have the ability to do complete layouts so there is no wasted material,” he added.
“We offer steel and wood building packages, all steel buildings, and post frame buildings,” Gayle continued. “Livestock equipment for sale includes horse supplies, waterers, bale beds, cake feeders, panels, continuous fencing and more.”
Cheyenne is continuing education in health information management, and Ty also works in outside cattle operation. With Gayle always coaching and encouraging Tad and their children can be seen competing regularly in Midwest rodeo competitions.
“The phone’s ringing.” Diamond L is always busy just ask Tad, Gayle, Ty and Cheyenne Larson.
Layout of the diversified Diamond L Ranch is most picturesque in this aerial view. A world class Quarter Horse stallion Ranger Cookie heads breeding operations at the Diamond L Ranch as Quarter Horse broodmares graze ranch pastures. A key part of operations, Diamond L Supply sells metal roofing, siding and building packages as well as livestock equipment, bale beds, and waterers.