here are a few select images from the mid-july branding of billy keith's herd, held at boss dennis's corrals about 40 miles west of casper in the midst of open range. nothing around but hills, sage brush and antelope. it's a perfect place to spend a relaxing evening enjoying beef brisket, sleep under the stars and wake up at sunrise to saddle horses and begin the day's task of branding, vaccinating, notching and cutting 240 calves, after which everyone gathers around a travel trailer for a laid-back lunch of burgers, brats and beer.
trav wittman is a local brand inspector. his daughter got married the day before this branding, so he was in pretty rough shape first thing in the morning...
two of my buddies - scott martinez and robert keith.
scott dragging a calf up to the irons.
scott's brother bob martinez. he manages the rattlesnake grazing association.
this roper is from meeteetse.
this is friend G's dad lee martinez.
katie keith is my favorite kid of all time. her grandfather billy, who has raised her along with her grandmother jo, spoils her rotten, but she totally deserves it. she's the most down to earth and sweet 11-year-old i've ever met, and some ranch boy better snap her up quick as soon as she's old enough and decides she wants to settle down. she was an ear-notcher at this branding.
the keith brand, freshly applied to calf hide.
i think the branding started around 8 and we were done and heading for lunch by 11:30. i love how first thing in the early morning light all the pickups and livestock trailers full of saddle horses come pulling in over the hill and park around the corrals. you can hear the trailers rattling and the diesel pickups before you can see them.