Rob Krentz: Husband, father, son and a good cowman

May 15, 2010
by WLJ

Don called Rob up one day and said, “Hey Rob, I’ve got this prolapsed cow over at the Double Adobe Ranch locked up in the corral and I was wondering if you could give me a hand?” “Sure,” says Rob, “just come on over and get me on your way.”

So the two men headed over to the Double Adobe Ranch, which is about an hour away from Don’s main ranch at Apache. They didn’t take a horse with them because Don had trapped the cow in the water lot earlier. Upon their arrival, they found a mean old hussy who was none too happy about her current uncomfortable condition or the arrival of the two “would be” cowboy doctors.

“You run her up the alley and I will catch her with the head gate,” Don instructed.

After giving Rob quite a run around in the alley, he finally got her headed up the lead-up. She was really moving fast as she hit the front. As a matter of fact, she hit the front with such a force that the old bolts holding the head gate in place just popped like buttons on a shirt! The old gal then proceeded to run around the water lot with the head gate on her head and Don still holding on to the lever. Don didn’t want to let her go for fear she would escape, or worse yet, chase him around while wearing the head gate.

After a minute or so of dragging Don around, the cow smartened up and back out of the contraption till she was free of it. She then chased Don around the lot until at last she cleared the top rail of the fence like a hurdler at a track meet.

Laughing at the sight of all this, Rob says, “Well now what are we going to do boss?” It would take about two hours to go back to the main ranch and get a horse, so Don rummaged around behind the seat until he came up with an old catch rope.

“We’ll rope her using this old truck,” declared Don. “You drive!” Rob says, “Your ranch ... your cow ... your truck ... you drive ... I’ll rope.”

So off they went across the mesquite flat, dodging bushes and arroyos chasing after the prolapsed cow. The rope was tied to the gooseneck ball in the back and Rob had fashioned a hand hold onto the headache rack for balance and support. After chasing the cow far enough that she finally began to wear out a little bit, Don was able to line out on her in a fairly level area. As Don pulled up beside the cow, Rob swung a time or two and then landed a loop that should have made a professional roper proud.

Rob threw the trip and Don turned the pickup off to the left just as if he was in Cheyenne at the Frontier Days! The truck didn’t quite work like a good Quarter Horse would have, so the cow was difficult to throw down. Don figured that after a while, the old cow would just choke down enough that they could tie her up and doctor her. The ole gal was too smart for that, though, and she always kept just enough slack in the rope to keep her breath.

As Don and Rob tried many different methods of getting the cow down, about all that was accomplished was she was mad. Very mad. So mad, as a matter of fact, that she spent all of her time trying to chase the two cowboy doctors. Around the truck, in the cab, on the back, it didn’t matter; she was after her antagonists with a vengeance.

Finally the two men came up with a plan; they had rummaged around behind the seat and came up with another catch rope. This one they tied off to the base of a larger mesquite bush.

Don says, “Let her chase you by here and I’ll heel her.”

Rob says, “You’re skinny and fleet of foot ... you chase ... I’ll rope.”

So as Don let the cow chase him around like a champion bull fighter, he finally got her to go by the spot where Rob waited. With a heel shot that was sent by the gods, Rob snagged a hind leg. Don jumped in the truck and took out the slack; the cow was tied down. Then, and only then, was she given slack.

Well, they got her stuffins put back where they belonged and sewed her up, then they cautiously let her go. Both men were wore out from the ordeal. As they headed back towards Apache, Don told Rob, “I sure do thank you for helping me out pard. That would have been quite a job for one man.”

Rob’s reply? “Well that’s what friends are for.”

This is a true account as told by a neighbor when asked, “Just what kind of friend was Rob Krentz?” The immigration vs. secure border issue has gotten more press lately than a political love scandal. It seems everybody has an opinion on the subject and most are quite vocal. But you know what they say about opinions . . . While this subject is not new by any stretch of the imagination, if you could point to one thing that has brought it to the forefront of political issues lately, it would have to be the murder of a southern Arizona rancher on his own property. On March 28, 2010, Rob Krentz became the poster child for the secure border issue. Unfortunately, it cost him his life.

At the time of this writing, Rob is without a doubt the most widely-known rancher in America, maybe the world. Just ask anyone, anywhere, to name an American rancher today and they will more than likely say Rob Krentz, or at least, “You know…that guy who got killed down along the border.”

As I read with interest all of the stories concerning the border and immigration, I started to wonder “just who was Rob Krentz?” I mean the person Rob Krentz, not the image or martyr that he has become for the secure border issue. I know several of the Krentz Ranch neighbors, and when one of them approached me about doing a story on the subject, I readily agreed on the condition that it was with the Krentz family blessing and that it would be a story on the man himself, not the political issues. I am honored that they agreed, because now I feel as if I know who Rob Krentz really was. I only wish that I could have met him prior to March 28.

While interviewing several family members and neighbors of Rob’s, I got a glowing report of a great man. Friend, family man, conservationist, good rancher and kind-hearted were all thrown about. Of course, they wouldn’t have bad things to tell me about one of their own, I thought, but you know what? I read articles and contacted several people who are on the other side of the political issue, if you will, and couldn’t find one single person who had anything bad to say about Rob. Even the most adamant immigrant rights people had nothing bad to say about the person Rob Krentz himself. All they could talk about was being against the reform issue. Amazing! Even the so-called enemy could not run down Rob’s character. Here is why; Rob Krentz was a man of

(l-r) Phil Krentz and Rob Krentz (brothers). This photo appeared in Arizona Highways in 2006 when the magazine did an article on the Malpai Borderlands Conservation Group. — Photo courtesy of David Zickl Photography

Sue and Rob Krentz receiving their plaque for being inducted into the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame. — Photo provided by Michelle Roles Photography