Her husband described her as “the best ranch wife anyone could ask for.”
Loretta Naprstek was a rural elementary school teacher for 41 years, and she has been running a cow-calf operation north of Lexington with her husband, Hap, since they were married in 1970. But she’s been involved in agriculture her entire life.
Loretta grew up in Sidney, alongside her nine siblings, where her family raised wheat.
“It was just a small farm and not overly-productive,” she said. “It seemed like it got hailed out a lot.”
She attended Kearney State College to become a teacher, and that’s where she met her husband. Since 1970, when she and her husband got married, they’ve worked hard to grow their operation and raise their three sons.
“We started with 13 acres that we bought,” she said. “And over the years, we’ve accumulated more cattle, more land. And so now, we have 1000 acres of grass and we currently have just about 500 cow/calf pairs.”
Loretta was nominated by her husband, who said she has “done it all – from moving cattle, tagging and vaccinating calves, to caring for bucket calves. In fact, she’ll do anything on the ranch except drive a tractor!”.
And Loretta agreed.
“I don’t do tractors,” she laughed. “I’m kind of the gopher and the gate opener and the book keeper.”
In addition to working on their operation, Loretta was also a full-time teacher and full-time mother of three.
“The kids learned to help when they were little, too, and all of us just pitched in,” she said.
Loretta retired from teaching in 2014, but she said teaching is a big part of who she is. Throughout her teaching career, she combined her agricultural background with her elementary students by taking part in the Ag Pen Pal Program with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.
Since retiring from teaching, Loretta said she and her husband enjoy spending time with their family, including their two grandchildren, Rylee and Jacie, who are carrying on the family tradition of rodeoing.