It’s branding time at the Browns Creek Angus Ranch in Laramie, Wyoming
Plenty of spring rain has turned the pastures west of Laramie, Wyoming into a lush, green carpet of 4-inch grass. All of the creeks are running ‘bank full’, and Browns Creek, which runs through the 7,525 deeded acre Browns Creek Angus Ranch, is no exception. Browns Creek starts on the ranch and meanders for over six miles through it, which should create some real envy in some Colorado ranchers. Browns Creek was named for the large number of Brown Trout, some that are in the 25-inch range. Groups from as far away as Denver come to Browns Creek Ranch for premium catch and release trout fishing.
But on this Saturday, it was not fishing that drew more than 50 family and friends to Browns Creek Ranch. It was spring branding time and Jim and Gay Rogers had 213 Angus calves to brand.
Browns Creek Ranch is mostly pasture but has some acreage devoted to hay. The hay operation produces about 1,000 tons per year, which is enough to provide for the ranch needs and have some for sale.
Browns Creek Ranch will support 600 head and they are presently running 250 head on the ranch. Jim Rogers says, “In 2002 I had plans of paying the ranch off, so I sold my cow herd down to nine head of cows. We’ve been building our cow herd back up since then. We ran a heifer development up until a year ago. We have a ways to go yet.” Jim went on to say, “We’re a cow/calf operation. We sell all of the steer calves and all but the top end of the heifer calves. We roll the top end heifers back into our heifer herd.”
Although the gather was accomplished using a mixture of traditional and modern techniques – horses and ATV’s – once inside the pens it was traditional rope and drag.
Jim Rogers was born on a ranch 61 years ago and has been involved with ranching all of his life and he knows how to use what is best for his ranch and cattle. Jim has owned Browns Creek Angus Ranch for 14 years.
Once the gather was done, everyone set out to finish the branding in record time so they could get to the great lunch that Gay Rogers provided. The four riders, Randy Joe Svalina, Bill Daniels, and Jim French from Wyoming and Jim Dunn from Livermore, Colo., kept everyone busy with a steady supply of calves to brand, vaccinate, and ear tag.
While there is plenty of work involved, brandings remain an old west social tradition where family and friends gather to help out and to catch up on what is going on with people they may not have seen since last year’s branding.