Soapweed's Ranch Ramblings
The writings of a Nebraska Sandhills cattle rancher!

Branding Wreck
March 26, 2003

A couple years ago we were helping a neighbor brand. About thirty cowboys and cowgirls had gathered a large pasture, which included about four or five miles of river. Portable corral panels had been put up in the middle of the pasture on a good flat, and with the help of pickups and trailers serving as "wings" the cattle were corralled.

We were sorting cows away from the calves, and occasionally a calf would escape along with the cows. This gave the ropers a bit of excitement and a chance to prove their expertise. There were just enough pretty young lassies on hand for all the young men to try to outdo each other.

My son and a friend were both eighteen years old, and right in the fray of all the wild activity. They had each drug in a calf or two, and their confidence was built up pretty good. Another calf pulled a Houdini and headed out of the corral lickety-split. Both boys spurred their horses and threw their ropes at about the same time. My son was dallying, but missed his shot. The other boy riding a paint horse was tied hard and fast. His loop also missed the calf's head, but came up with one front leg of my boy's big bay horse. The rope became tight at an alarming rate of speed, and the action along with the equal and opposite "reaction" flipped both horses head over heels. The boys were each thrown clear, and miraculously neither was hurt. The bay horse limped for about an hour, but recovered quite quickly, and the paint came through unscathed. Sitting on my horse, looking on from inside the corral, it looked pretty scary. The boys' guardian angels were on hand that day.






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