Longtime Jamieson ranchers Steve and Mary McBride are the 2018 Vale 4th of July grand marshals. (The Enterprise/Jayme Fraser).

JAMIESON - For more than 70 years, Steve and Mary McBride have worked in the Treasure Valley cattle business.

His first cow was a gift from his dad when he was 5. Her grandfather gave her a calf around the same age.

They’ve been ranching ever since, and retirement eludes them.

“I thought I was going to get out a week or two ago,” Steve joked, noting that the recent rain finally turned the grass green and given his cattle something to eat.

He also bought more cattle.

The McBrides will be grand marshals of the Vale 4th of July Rodeo after being selected by the rodeo board.

Jim Mendiola, rodeo president, said the couple is well known in the community for their service and the two have been active in the area cattle industry.

“They’ve lived in the area all their lives,” Mendiola said. “He’s been in the ranching business a long time. She’s been right next to him all this time.”

The McBrides, who live north of Vale in Jamieson, were surprised to be selected.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Mary said.

“It’s a great honor and puts us in some pretty darned important company.”

Steve graduated from Vale High School in 1960, and Mary graduated three years later. They have been married 53 years. Their two sons also live and work in the area.

Mary said Steve served on numerous area boards, including those for the Orchard Water Company and Willow Creek Schools before it merged with Vale. Asked what his greatest accomplishment with the ranch was, Steve quipped it was making it to old age. Mary gave him a stern look.

“What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?” he said.

“There’s only ever been one boss and one peon, and I haven’t been the boss,” she said. Both smiled.

“Don’t believe everything she tells you,” he said.

In truth, much has changed about the ranching and farming industries since their first days showing heifers at county fair.

“We’ve seen it all,” Steve said.

Steve bought their Jamieson ranch from his mother in 1973. He has lived there since he was 11.

 “I don’t think there’s any finer place to raise children then on a ranch,” Mary said. “They learn about life and death and responsibility.”

Neither Steve or Mary want to live anywhere else.

“Right there,” Steve said, tapping the table.