Friday, March 20, 2015
Many people might not think that cowboys would include event planning and management in their resumes. However, as the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, cattle ranchers prepare to brand their calves.
I think that organizing a branding must be similar to organizing a wedding or bar mitzvah. I often ask my friends, “How was that branding you went to last weekend?” They usually respond with, “It went good pard. Nice-sized calves, good crew, and a great lunch.” But sometimes the response is not as positive. “It was a long day, big calves, weak ground crew, and they only had a 12-pack of beer.”
The most successful rancher is supported by a VERY supportive and organized wife. This is where the stress of planning a branding starts. The real skill of event planning and management is usually one that most cowboys don’t portray, but their wives have the skills that make a branding go like a well-planned wedding.
Just like a wedding, you start with a “guest list.” Sometimes you might not agree with your partner on who should be invited to the branding, but of course, the main requirement is that you both enjoy their company, or at least agree to enjoy their company for a day. Let’s face it; we all have that “someone” that we have to invite regardless.
Just because you are a good hand does not necessary get you invited to a branding. A handy buckaroo who has recently gotten a divorce might find out that people like his ex-wife more than they like him when it comes to branding calves, or vice versa, and how about the guy who does not understand why he never gets invited to brandings? I am sure it has nothing to do with cutting off the owner’s wife at the last branding!
Now it comes to catering. Most ranchers cannot afford catering, soooo what’s for lunch? You want to be cool and different, but you still need to brand calves and manage a good meal. How do you brand, vaccinate, and cut while trying to manage those slow-cooked ribs? At my branding, we have more beer than calves. My friends drink a LOT of beer, but I do not have that many calves, so my goal is to have more calves than beer. While I feel that this is a reachable goal, it would be more realistic if my friends would just get “on the wagon.” Another problem with alcohol is that it can make or break your branding. Too little alcohol might not get you very much help for your next branding. Too much alcohol might end up with a WWF match at your branding.
Even after all the stress, you are glad it is done, and you can reflect and laugh about the event.
I recently asked a close rancher friend about my branding concerns and he said: “Get over it…it’s just a branding”