Longform

Can Triple M Bar's flock create a Colorado lamb comeback?

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Mary has been manning the stand at the Saturday market since 2011, adding that to duties that include delivering to the fourteen-plus restaurants that use their lamb, speaking on behalf of the state's Colorado Proud program as an agriculture ambassador, and actually ranching. Shortly after Triple M Bar started selling at the market, David was put temporarily out of commission after he fell sixteen feet from a trailer piled high with hay.

At that point, Mary had to decide whether to keep her job at the USDA or pursue the lambing life full-time. "I realized I can't do my job and the meat business; I had to do one or the other," she remembers. "It was a big ol' leap of faith. I really felt we could do well with the meat business, if I could devote all my time to that."

But retirement — if you can really call it that — has other benefits. "It is very rewarding when you're at the market and people come up to you and say, 'Oh, thank you for what you do. We know you work hard,'" she says. "We've had a lot of converts, haven't we?" she asks her husband, who retired from the USDA the following spring — just in time for last year's lambing season.

Ranching is hard work, but they don't regret a minute of it — or their work pushing Colorado lamb. "David searched far and wide for a wife whose name would match Triple M," Mary says. "I'm Mary Margaret Miller. I tell people that's why he married me."

The truth behind the ranch's name is not quite that cute. Before he passed on, David's father was the third M in the Miller brand. Today David, Mary and their son, Zach, are the three Ms. Kelsie and Cassie, Mary and David's granddaughters, help out at the ranch — four generations of one family, building on a life and livelihood that so many had fought and died for. "This had always been our goal," Mary says. "We always had wanted to be old sheep ranchers."

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Chris Utterback
Contact: Chris Utterback