August 2017: Pio and I this particular morning were just hanging out at the back of the herd. There were a few late summer calves that needed branding and this was the day to get it all done.
Mixed in with all the cow/calf pairs and outside of the obvious half dozen that needed branding, there was one smarty calf who had managed to slip and escape all season long from being roped and branded. The boss knew who he was but no one could seem to catch this bugger or just by way of luck, he managed to hide or be missed among the hundreds of pairs being moved from pasture to pasture. It happens.
From a distance I heard my name being yelled and someone said, "Jill, get in there, find that "b" tagged calf and rope that son of a gun".
I had no rope, in fact, I chose to take the day off a bit and not do much of anything but ride and hold herd.
Pio and I loped over to the fence where I saw a somewhat decent looking rope. Once it was in my hands, it totally sucked and I knew my chances of trying to rope this rogue calf with a rope that didn't feel “right" or that wasn't "mine" was going to be harder.
So in we slipped to the herd and I had my coils ready. We had four riders searching for the calf out of herd of about 400 head. Not an easy task when they are constantly shifting.
And then I found him. I said nothing to anyone and started tracking that little escapee because I knew he was mine.
Pio and I walked and walked a few good steps before I nearly had my shot set and all of a sudden that freaking calf spotted me and launched off to the right, hell bent for leather. I threw my loop as fast as I could and hooked his right back leg on the first throw.
A friend yelled, "YOU GOT IT". It happened so fast I barely got that troublemaker dally'd with the amount of slack he was running through my fingers.
He was still small enough to drag to the fire, he'd been tagged early in the season but missed the branding fire. But that late morning, he like the rest of his lot were all considered good and done.
It's never a dull moment out there even when you're trying to ride low key and let others have a go. Always an adventure. I love this range. Xo ❤️