When the spring bluebonnets are blooming, these cowboys can be
found in the branding corral, around a ring of fire where smoke swirls
around branding irons. While the herd settles, they serve up coffee and
colorful stories. They smell of singed hair and sweat from flanking
and branding the year’s calf crop. Their talents are on display as they
quietly maneuver through cattle-filled corrals and skillfully rope baby
calves’ feet to bring them to the branding fire. A cracker-jack shot
from a roper will elicit dust-stained smiles from the rest of the crew
and earn him bragging rights, at least until the next roper throws an
equally great loop.
Saddle leather is creaking long before sunup as these cowboys spend
the summer months tending to their home country. They ride beneath
cloud tumbled skies as they check on livestock, fix windmills and
repair fences. As summer fades, they roam their pastures in silent
serenity as the autumn breezes wrestle warm colors from the trees.
They crunch through frost embellished grass on brisk October mornings, navigating pastures for the big fall gather. They trot out together, their spurs singing in cadence with their horse’s gait. They ride in reticence, speaking a language only they understand; one that is spoken in hand gestures, head nods and a horse’s position.
To see these men at work during the fall weaning season is like watching a live choreographed show. A cowboy and his horse can guide a single cow through a sea of cattle with ease while the rest of the cowboys hold the herd. They sort the calves off the cows in corral alleys, boiling with choking dust making it hard to see, but somehow they don’t miss a cut. As the trucks are loaded for the rancher’s annual pay day, the cowboys place their bets, guessing the weaning weights of the cattle. Pride is the only wager with the
winner receiving an approving nod from his colleagues.
In winter, they trudge through freezing weather checking new baby calves and chopping ice in the stock tanks. It is a thankless job. There are no
accolades sung for these knights in leather.
Texas cowboys of long ago gave birth to America’s greatest folk hero, The Cowboy, and the cowboys at Wellborn 2R Ranch continue to be worthy heirs of their predecessor’s history and legacy while raising the most wholesome, delicious beef you could ever eat.