The best indicator of a good day branding is how dirty the boys are at the end of it, and how long it takes them to fall asleep on the drive home. I used to judge my day on how many calves I roped, how my horse handled, or how good the company was. Now I can miss every loop, have my horse’s nose straight up in the air, or fall off in the branding trap (that hasn’t happened yet!) and it won’t bother me too much, as long as the boys have a good time. It has been so much fun watching them grow in our ranching community. Funny how your perspective changes as you grow up!
During Spring Break we went to one of the best brandings that the Cow Boss and I have been to in a long time. We helped Kevin and Kristi Tomera brand a few calves. The thing that made this branding so much fun? The ground crew and half the ropers were all kids. They ranged in age from 5 to about 16 years old and they worked hard! The older kids took turns roping, and the rest of them raced each other to wrassle the calves. I thought a fight was going to break out a time or two over who got to the calf first and got to sit on it. It was chaos. It was loud. It was windy. It was wonderful!
TR worked his tail off. He held the feet on a few calves on QT’s trusty stead “Knothead.” He got in some good practice dallying and keeping the rope tight. These old ranch horses are worth their weight in gold. “Knothead” took pretty good care of TR, and kept him out of a couple of wrecks. TR carried the nut bucket for a while, and hustled between calves, calling out “heifer!” or “bull!” to keep the castrator on task. He even wrassled a couple of little calves by himself. He did good!
QT. QT kept track of the girls. He’s quite the ladies’ man these days. If you can’t find him, just look for some girls, and there is a pretty good chance he isn’t too far away. They keep a pretty good eye on him, which was good because mom stole his horse to rope on. When I told him I would be keeping “Knothead” for myself and he would need to find a different horse to ride he informed me “You can’t have Knothead! I love that horse!” I think we all do.
I’m not really sure how the Cow Boss did, or how many calves I roped. I was too busy watching all of the kids work. It was a long, windy, dusty day, and we were exhausted when we got home. The boys were almost asleep when we got to the ranch, and yes, they were filthy!