In the Bullpen with MLB Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf - Modern Farmer

In the Bullpen with MLB Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf

An in-season pitcher and off-season rancher, Ross Ohlendorf is part Washington Nationals player and part Texas longhorn wrangler.

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Ohlendorf grew up spending weekends and summers on his grandparents’ farm in Texas, and now runs a longhorn operation, Rocking O Ranch, on about 2,000 acres in Austin, Texas, with his dad. During the season, he manages the website and advertising (and uses his transient sports gig to visit longhorn ranchers around the nation) and during the off-season, he gets his hands dirty on the farm.

What are your duties like on the farm?
When I’m home in the off-season, I start my day by working out for a couple of hours, and then drive out to where the cattle are, weaning calves, making sure the fences are in good shape. When the calves are weaned, we brand and vaccinate. We don’t have anyone that works for us; my dad is taking care of them all by himself, so I help out when I can.

Why longhorns?
There are a lot of different characteristics that you can breed for in longhorns, but color is something we’ve always valued more highly than a lot of people. The fact that a longhorn is the U.T. [University of Texas] mascot helped pique our interest as well. There is so much variety, both in the color and the horn shape, and the historical element. They’ve been in Texas for so long and have done well in rugged conditions.

Do you feel like you’ve learned anything from ranching that has helped you in baseball, or vice versa?
I feel that they both involve a lot of hard work, physically. When I was younger my dad would have my brother and I work on fences. We would have to fix the fence, carrying posts and wire pretty far, so we certainly learned to work hard and not complain, which I think helped with the physical demands of baseball.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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