Updated: Dec 6, 2019
Bryce is one of those people who is just good at anything he tries... We attended a tiny high school with classes of roughly 30 kids on average. With little numbers like that, sports were easy to get into, even if you were terrible. I remember once in high school, he showed up to cheer my brother on at a basketball game. The team was short a player so they begged Bryce to play. Guess who scored a bunch of points and was the star of the game? Bryce Fender. At the time he had a big Afro thing going on too so he totally fit the part.
That leads me to this story. Minus the fro, Bryce is still good at attempting random things. Last summer, my best friend got married at her parent’s cattle ranch in Montana. A few days before the wedding, her dad needed help getting a naughty momma cow in. Bryce went along and according to the story, he played cowboy and roped her from the quad first try. The boys came back with big smiles on their faces, laughing while telling the story. Josh, (my friend‘s dad) was joking that he needed to keep him around as a ranch hand. Cowboy Bryce.
Then, maybe six months ago, Bryce had a bright idea. He proposed that we rope our four young calves to work them ourselves. Just us. I looked at him like he was crazy. Typically, we bring the cows to the main ranch, separate and work them from the shoot. However, Bryce was confident that we could wrestle them ourselves.. I was not as gun-ho about it but I said... “well, they are small enough so they give it a go...”
A few days later, we fed our ladies in a small pasture near our house and separated them. Bryce had made a smaller pin with some old panels. those calves looked bigger that I originally thought.
Here goes nothing.
Bryce roped the first calf. First try, the rope glided around the little guy’s head. All the sudden, that calf went from a harmless cute baby into a bucking bull dancing around the pen, dragging Bryce around with him. Strong little guy! Bryce hollered at me to grab the end of the rope to wrap it around a pipe and wench the calf in closer. So I did and we got the calf close enough for Bryce to flip him to the ground. Our kids were cheering for us in the double stroller outside the pen.
So now what? Well, I had to be the castrator, ear marker and vaccinator while Bryce restrained the calf. Usually, when we work the calves through the shoot, I vaccinate while everyone else has one job to contribute to the madness. Having more than one job had me working little slower.
First calf went fine! Yay! Only three more! Of course, three of the four were bull calves so I ended up getting better at castrating. The mommas on the other side of the pen were grateful for that.
We let up the last steer calf To run back to mom. Bryce and I “high fived” each other and just laughed. We were sure sore the next day. I know hardcore cowboys do this for hours and work hundreds of calves this way. However, we felt pretty badass working our four baby calves by hand.
I guess moral to the story is don’t doubt yourself and get your “to do” list done however you can. Support one another and truly anything is possible. Throw some amateur ropes and flying testicles into the mix for a little added chuckle.