You know, I’m convinced being a ranch broker in Colorado is one of the greatest jobs on this earth. I try to reflect on why I love what I do, and I think it can best be summed up in one word: family. A family is a unit of related parties that spend time with one another, and in a sense, they do life together. Life sometimes is full of great joy, but inevitably there are challenges, complications and even sorrow. Interestingly, I’ve been at this game for a little over 25 years, and when I reflect on a career spanning a quarter century and near a half billion in sales, I honestly have a hard time remembering cashing a commission check and going out to buy something special. What I do remember, is precious moments with clients are much bigger than making a deal.

I remember sitting in an old FJ55 Landcruiser one snowing morning with a client and great friend. There were low clouds that day, the sunrise was minutes away and we could hear the elk bugle outside. We started taking about my dad who recently had passed, and that conversation quickly evolved into a discussion about heaven and the goodness of our Lord. As much as we love to hunt, at that moment it really didn’t matter. I clearly remember that day.

I remember standing in a kitchen with my Louisiana friends who all grew up together, and now we’re all here to celebrate the purchase of this new ranch and the refurbishment of the old cabin within it. As Silver Oak corks were pulled, tears filled their eyes. This boyhood dream of owning a mountain ranch was now a reality and I was there. You would think the room was filled with pride, but on the contrary, there was much humility and an abundance of thankfulness. I clearly remember that day!

A late-night phone call and an early morning rush to the hospital to meet with a rancher and his kids. Mom was very sick and needed to arrange a private jet to get her across the country for immediate care. A lot of stress that day and never once did I hear about the legacy ranch they acquired—they just needed help, they needed a friend, they needed family. I clearly remember that day.

Recently, I sat in a conference room with a third-generation farmer and his son as we discussed the liquidation of the family centennial farm. This once-fallow ground was fed and nurtured for over a century to become a productive mountain farm. I watched them wrestle with a sales opportunity that produced excitement and a new financial future as retirement was on the horizon. But then doubt filled the air, as the guilt of a legacy soon could be forgotten. This was not just a transaction, it was a moment when a family had to be released to sell. Yeah, I clearly remember that day.

These experiences have shaped the way I think. The things that I once felt were so important have seemingly diminished while the relationships I have formed are eternally cherished. I do have the greatest job on earth and as much as I love what I do, it only is possible with the patrons I serve. Some call them clients, some call them friends. One of my greatest privileges are those relationships which started as business, and through experiences much greater than a deal, life happened with a great group I now can consider, family.

Joseph (Joey) C Burns

Lone Eagle Land Brokerage Owner/Broker

RLI Colorado Chapter President