Stephanie Pearce: Tough cowgirls in Moffat County
April 19, 2015
We are a little ways away from branding time in our area, but there are always some good stories that come out of branding. It is always a memorable time.
Branding had come out of necessity. It is not animal cruelty. This time honored tradition is something that I love to share because it is so much a part of our cowboy heritage. There are several different processes for branding. I won’t get into those, but it is a necessity. It is something I take pride in doing because of the lessons we learn while participating.
In my family, there have been some funny moments while gathering cows for branding. Now, in the family I’m from, not much is done without yelling. I’m not sure if it’s the Irish passionate side, but yelling doesn’t always mean someone is mad. I think I began because people were dead. Even a regular conversation was pretty loud, but I’m not going to lie, it could escalate pretty quickly.
Before my husband and I were married, we had gathered cows and were separating them in the corrals. There seemed to be about five people yelling orders and two people doing the work. This happened quite frequently. It wasn’t the best situation to work in, but eventually, the work got done. My husband was getting tired of all the yelling and he yelled something back to my dad with some colorful words added to tell him to quit shouting out orders. My dad went to yell back. He was so mad that someone had called him out that all this power built up inside his mouth and he was going to yell louder. However, all that power came flying out of his mouth and blew his false teeth right out of his mouth and onto the well fertilized ground. Everyone burst into laughter and there was very little yelling after that.
Then there’s the boy that invited my daughter to help his family brand. Anyone who knows my daughter knows that she likes to jump in and do whatever needs to be done. She doesn’t just stand there. She wasn’t interested in just marking the calves that have been vaccinated. She held down a few calves, but she wanted to do something more important. She wanted to castrate. The boys all laughed until she flipped out her knife and with skill and ease she did the job right. The boy that invited her made some smart comment about how a real lady wouldn’t touch a calf like that while he held the calf she was castrating. She replied, “You really way to say something like that to me while I have this knife in my hand and I obviously knew how to use it?” The boy’s dad was so impressed that he’s invited her back every year.
I could probably fill a book with branding stories. There is a bonding between people that happens like no other activity. Times shared with family and friends that bring out the best and worst, but definitely memorable times.