The early 49ers brought fame and fortune to the Golden State, but the ranchers and farmers are the ones who fed and anchored it.
Pete Gillham Senior, the driving force behind Cattlemens, spent the first fifty years of his life on the ranches. He grew up on his father's dude ranch in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. After attending Stanford University in 1933, he returned to ranching, working on the "U Circle Ranch" near Oracle, Arizona, running 1,000 head of cattle. "It was the first ranch I owned, a nice little place. It's where I cut my teeth on the business and, of course, Pete Junior was born there." The 1940's saw Pete expanding his knowledge of ranching and cattle, working on the Tanqueverde Ranch near Tucson and later managing the Petan Land and Cattle Company (formerly the YP Brand Ranch) near Elko, Nevada. "The YP was quite a spread. At 15,000 head it was one of the biggest outfits in the area." As a partner in a feed lot and auction yard in Casa Grande, Arizona, he further refined his eye for the best in beef, returning to ranching in the 1950's as a partner in the 3C Ranch near Ely, Nevada.