Baby Barrett's Arrival - A Father's Story

At 5:01 p.m. on June 8th 2017, another prairie boy was added to the mix on the Cheyenne River Bison Ranch. Barrett Elton Jones came into this world weighing a hearty 9 lbs. 15 oz. and measuring 20.5 inches in length. His mother was flawless throughout her second time enduring the delivery process. Jilian proved to be poised and in control, which is a little different from the ambiance of the ranch in the days preceding Barrett’s arrival.

During the days leading up to Barrett’s birth, a series of events occurred that tested the old theory that it takes a village to raise a child. Our little family had a bout with the flu bug in which Grandma and Grandpa proudly took their turn caring for the ill while Jilian or I took our turns recovering. With Jilian being so close to her due date, the doctors ordered us to make the 40-mile trip to the hospital to be there well prior to giving birth.

The day of Barrett’s birth, the ranch was scheduled to give a 50-person tour. I woke up that morning with a weird feeling that something was out of place. Dan had been out of town, and everyone else had been sick. I knew the Bison had plenty of drinking holes in the pasture they were in, but I would normally not go this long without checking on their whereabouts. I got up early with Jilian the day of the tour as she was having consistent contractions that were six minutes apart. Nothing too serious yet, but I knew she was going to be having a baby within the next 24 hours. Once Jilian convinced me she was, "fine for now," I took off on a four-wheeler to confirm the location of the herd prior to the charter bus of 50 guests showing up.

My speculation from earlier in the morning was confirmed when I came across an open gate leading to the Cheyenne River. Off in the distance I could see our herd of 400 plus bison crossing the river heading for the Pine Ridge Reservation.

I called the main house to let everyone know what was going on. Jilian at this time informed me her contractions were becoming more frequent and increasing in intensity. I felt a sense of urgency now, but I did not feel panicked as, Jill was there to care for Lincoln and I could see Melissa (WIB sales supervisor) and Lucas (shipping supervisor and brother-in-law) coming down the gravel road that comes from Rapid City. They had volunteered to help that day, not knowing who might be where. The dust trail that followed them reminded me just what caliber of people come from our village.

Dan had showed up on another four-wheeler at this time. As we took off to begin the tedious process of maneuvering the herd the two miles back into the pasture they had escaped from, I received a message from Jilian saying she had spoken with the doctor and that he told her to gather her things and come into the hospital as she was in the late stages of pre-labor.

I know Dan could have probably got the herd back on his own, as he’s done it a hundred times, but it probably wouldn’t have been until late in the day. The goal was to get the herd back in before the tour group had arrived in the pasture to view them.

We made our way down to the river where the herd was grazing on the opposing side. I crossed and swung around behind them while Dan waited on the north side where he positioned himself to lead them. We got them pushed across and lined out back toward home. A lead cow walked as if she knew exactly where she needed to be going and for that I am thankful.

The lead cow only had about a ¼ of a mile to go when Jilian called and said we had to go to the hospital right now. I swung around to tell Dan and he was giving me a knowing “thumbs up” before I got to him. “Send someone back to help just in case I need it” and “good luck!” is all he said. I raced back to the main house to get Jilian and caught Lucas on my way. I gave him rough directions on how and where to find Dan and he sped off without any questions to assist.

Buffalo Tour

I called the house on my way back and found out that the village was in the process of improvising. The tour group had arrived as scheduled. Jill had filled in as tour guide, with son Lincoln as her wingman. Lucas and Melissa replaced Jill by spearheading the lunch set-up. Next I came up on Jilian, who was stopped in a random spot in the middle of the driveway. As I pulled up next to her I could see she was forced to stop while she battled through a contraction. Once it had surpassed, she moved over to the passenger seat while I took the wheel and headed for the hospital.

Although Jilian and I (and the rest) didn’t need the added chaos, we got through it with the help of our capable and resilient village.

We arrived at the hospital a little after 11 a.m. and 6 hours later I became a proud father for the second time. I was proud of Jilian too. I was proud of my new son Barrett, and proud of my older son Lincoln for being so patient and understanding for a 3-year old. Holding my boys in my arms is indeed the best gift ever! Wishing all of you fathers a Happy Father’s Day!

Older Post
Newer Post


  • I know this is a small detail, but I can’t help to comment on how good it is to have a “willing cow” ready to do her job. Love the post. Best wishes to all the family.

    Marie Johns
  • Blessings on you and family. I think good parents are saints.
    Now, eat your greens and be healthy like the Bison!

  • I remember reading your first book, Dan and where you were and what you were up to with the falons. My, my, look where you are now. You and Jill have been so blessed, Jillian, Colton, and two breath taking A dorable little boys to carry on the traditions you established years ago. We have passed on your story to many of our friends and delight to continue to do so. Planning to stop by in Rapid City this summer, God willin’ and the creek DON’T rise, we will stop by the shop. Care and gongrats to the family…wow what a Father’s Day gift.?

    Barbara Bartak
  • That was an incredible story. I loved it. You are a talented writer. Congratulations on your new addition to an already beautiful family.
    Happy Father’s Day, for real.

    Linda Shortley
  • Congratulations, Colton and Jillian, on the two beautiful children! You are living a wonderful life in a truly wonderful place to raise children in. Best wishes to all of you!

    Susan Seeman Pozehl
  • Congrats and God Bless all of you! Thank you for your efforts to keep the Bison and our earth clean and healthy!
    What an awesome story, happy father’s day! :)

    Shelly Boersma
  • Congratulations to you and your family. Your photo shows pride (and a little weariness) as a new dad. As a new customer of your bison thank you for the quality in the meat you sell. I recommend your products to my clients all the time.
    As a retired Nurse-Midwife ~Babies are God’s way of saying the world should go on. Blessings to you, your family, friends and neighbors~it sounds like a true community way of living and the way it should be everywhere.

    Natural Health and Wellness Center, Inc
  • What a great story, and you guys got it all handled beautifully.
    I put you all in God’s hands, and my you and your wonderful boys have God’s blessings all through life.
    Congratulations and best wishes, and happy birthday!
    May the blessings be.
    Love, Don

    Don Meyer
  • Major congratulations to you and your growing family. Bonnie and I wish you only the best fortunes in health, wealth and happiness as you continue on you life’s journey.

    Steve Glenn
  • Happy Fathers Day Colton, to both you and Dan! The generations continue!
    Julian did you proud and lil Barrett is lucky to have Lincoln as his big brother. You just THOUGht it took a village. Jill is a major asset in your family equation. This will be a real group project.
    Stay real, stay connected, and grow em up like you are doing with the Buffalo. Respect, responsibility, reliability, with a healthy dose of love.

    Toni Hamner
  • Oh Colton! I am so proud of you. You have turned into such a fantastic man!

    Dottie Heusman
  • Thanks for a wonderful story. Enjoy your family. Boys are really great!! Take care and and God bless.
    Love your stories. Thanks again.
    Hope we can join a “tour” maybe next year.

    Judie Maxfield
  • A beautifully written narrative of the day Barrett was born and the help from your village. Congratulations to all.
    P,S. My husband was Robert Hartman and about 7 or 8 years ago and many years before that he used to cross over onto the ranch to shoot prairie dogs, with Dan’s permission, of course. He has passed away but the years that he did that each summer were some of the happiest times of his entire life. He loved the grasslands.

    Susan Hartman
  • What a Great Father’s Day gift…!!!

    john &Linda Collier
  • Congratulations to all!

    Craig Lawson

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now
Adjust text colors
Checked mark
Adjust heading colors
Checked mark
Adjust background colors
Checked mark