Top 5 List & Contest: Nicole Helm

Top 5 Tips on Running A Ranch from Dan Sharpe, Former NHL star, current Llama Rancher

Hi, my name’s Dan Sharpe and I’ve recently moved from the professional ice rink to the Montana ranching business. If you’re looking into ranching, there are some things you need to know about running a ranch. And I’m just the guy to help you out. I started as a professional hockey player who knew nothing about Montana, ranches or, most especially, llamas. And now, some would consider me something of an expert. (Some would not, but they’d be wrong).

Here are my top five tips to running a ranch. (I’m a pretty insightful guy, just ask me).

1. Hire the best help. When you’re running a ranch and you know nothing about, well, running a ranch, it’s important to find someone who does. Someone who’s going to know what you should be doing, and isn’t afraid to tell you what’s what. The kind of person who’s never seen a challenge they didn’t meet head on. The type of person who’s going to whip your sorry city ass into shape. (But make sure to stay away from ones who are a giant pain in the ass. You know the kind—beautiful, obnoxiously smart mouth, a kiss that’ll knock you to your knees if you’re not careful. On second thought, maybe that’s exactly what you need…) Well, anyway, good help is hard to find, and it’s the first step into becoming a tried and true rancher.

2. Roll with the surprises. The thing about ranching is the land and animals are unpredictable. One day you might be setting up to have cattle, only to find a surprise llama in your stables. One day you think you’re on your own, only to find the next day you’ve got the help of a friend. Ranching is unpredictable, and you have to be flexible. Sometimes the strangest things that happen—llamas, a place to call home, a tough woman who falls for your charms—and embracing those surprises can be the best thing you ever do.

3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Sometimes you have to put your heart—er—pride on the line. You can’t be too proud to ask for help, and you can’t be afraid of the responsibility. Love—I mean, ranching, is all about taking risks, and sometimes falling flat on your face. That’s always okay as long as you’re willing to get up and try again. You’ll learn from your mistakes, and you’ll be a better person for it.

4. Be confident. You can’t run a ranch and question yourself. You have to be sure and certain, and you can’t listen to the neigh sayers who try to run you down. Ranching requires knowing that you’re good enough, and that you can meet any challenge. Confidence doesn’t mean you don’t question yourself, it just means you keep going when you do. You’ll learn things about yourself you never thought possible, and you may even find yourself in love. Or with a herd of llamas. Or both.

5. Make a commitment. Ranching is incredibly hard work—whatever you’re imagining, it’s ten times harder. You have to be ready and willing to make a commitment, to not skate away from problems. You have to be ready to put everything you have into building your relationsh—I mean, ranch. Ranching can be a thankless business with lots of stress (much like dealing with beautiful ranching consultant), and you have to know you’re in it for the long haul. It helps if the llamas (and the woman) know it too.

And there you have it, Dan Sharpe’s Guide to Running a Ranch. (I also have a rules to sex guide, but you’ll have to read REBEL COWBOY to find out more about that).


Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance specializing in people who don’t live close enough to neighbors for them to be a problem. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives  with her husband and two young sons in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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4 thoughts on “Top 5 List & Contest: Nicole Helm

  1. Carol L says:

    I love Dan Sharpe already. Love the list. Sounds like he learned a lot about Ranching etc. Thanks for the chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  2. Leanna says:

    I don’t really have a favorite cowboy, I love the Cowboys that Linda Lael Miller and Maisey Yates write.

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