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Building Your Western Brand

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Branding or Branding?

Typically when I mention the word “branding” in my usual line of work, I’m talking about a business’ image….logo, colors, slogan, etc. In my not-so-usual line of work that I get to do from time to time, “branding” refers to marking cattle to show ownership….something that is required by law in most states, if not all of them. This involves a brand on the rib or hip usually, along with ear marks (different shape notches cut into the ears as identifiers).  If you are a rancher, this is done every year, on every calf born. By law, it is illegal to sell an animal at a livestock market that has not been properly marked and identified. If you attempt this, you’ll undoubtedly go down in history as a cattle rustler!

Usually the brandings on this outfit are quieter events with just a few hands helping out, but the last couple of years Handsome has organized a more social branding, inviting friends and family to come and help out and get a taste of some western type fun. This year’s event was held on Saturday January 8th, and while the weather was not so great (foggy and cold), everyone had a great time, practiced their roping, learned a few things and most importantly….socialized!

**Footnote: please don’t write me about cruelty to animals. This is a way of life that has been going on for hundreds of years. If you eat anything that comes from an animal, or wear anything that comes from an animal, by default you are perpetuating animals for human consumption and convenience, and therefore you are okay with the practices used to do so. You can always take up knitting with synthetic yarns and eating nothing but veggies.

Gathering cattle
Getting ready to head out and gather
Do I look like I’m listening intently enough? Photo credit Jody Griswold-Bratcher
Waiting her turn, photo credit Jody Griswold-Bratcher
photo credit Jody Griswold-Bratcher
Holding one at the fire, photo credit Jody Griswold-Bratcher
I shoulda started roping when I was 20. My reflexes would have been faster! photo credit Jody Griswold-Bratcher
photo credit Jody Griswold-Bratcher
This kid was “Johnny on the spot” with the Rocky Mountain Oyster bucket!

Yup, the new chaps he got for Christmas are pretty much broke in now.

These brandings are great social events, despite all the hard work and everyone always has a great time. It was nice to not be the only one behind the camera for a change, so thank you to the folks who let me use their photos!

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