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One day, the area north of Titan Road near Sterling Ranch’s current communities will be filled in with houses and development, but right now, the property has a different occupant – cattle.

That’s because the Sterling Ranch Development Company decided to lease that 3,400-acre area to a local rancher as part of co-owner Harold Smethills’ goal of proving that suburban ranching is possible, he said.

“There will always be cattle on Sterling Ranch,” Smethills said. 

Even after the land is built out, they will bring cattle into their open spaces, he said. 

For now, there are about 220 head of cattle on the property, not including about 200 additional calves that were born there this spring. 

Matt Clough, who leases the land, has been ranching in Douglas County for about 30 years and in Sterling Ranch for about 17 years. He also ranches in Elbert and El Paso counties, he said. 

Madi and CoCo Clough, two of Matt’s daughters, spend most days after school out on the ranch helping care for the animals and enjoying the pastures.

“This one’s our favorite,” Madi, 16 said from the back of a pickup truck while driving through a pasture at the corner of Titan Drive and Roxborough Park Road. “It’s so open and you can see the mountains … you can see coyotes easily so you can protect the babies.”

So far, none of the Clough’s calves have been lost to predators this year. 

CoCo, 6, said she wants to be a barrel race someday. But that’s not all. 

“I also want to be a rodeo queen,” she said.

Matt keeps his cattle at the Sterling Ranch during the winter and moves them back to summer pastures after calving season. 

“I think people are very happy to see the cattle in these urban environments,” he said. “They love it.”

Part of the reason Sterling Ranch leases to Clough is because as the cattle graze, they decrease fuel for potential wildfires.

“Douglas County has been great about understanding the benefit of grazing,” he said.