From the time I was a small child, branding day was something I looked forward to with great excitement. It was during that time that I learned my branding traditions. It is still exciting for me to be fortunate enough to hold a branding, even though some of the practices learned from long ago have changed. There is something very fulfilling about looking at a newly branded calf with your brand on it that makes that calf look so much better; over the top better! It's the finishing touch that puts your herd in a league of its own.
With winter now just a memory and calves on the ground, this is prime to continue the branding tradition. During April and May, the majority of brandings occur. The calendar is filled with slated brandings, so much so that more than one branding in the same area takes place on the same day.
The tradition of branding among ranchers will differ; some ranchers choose to brand with large crews, with lots of manpower to help gather, sort, tag, rope, wrestle, vaccinate, and brand. Others ranchers choose to brand in smaller bunches with a calf table and fewer hands to help the process. Each branding is unique to the family that runs it and is done of necessity but results in the same outcome: branded and vaccinated calves.
When all the branding work is finished, one element of the branding that seems the most popular among the crews is the branding meal. These meals could easily rival some of the best restaurants in the world!
The breeds of cattle have changed, and generations have passed, but the brand stays the same. A legacy full of tradition passed on from past generations.
-Ryan Adamson, President
Sandhills Cattle Association