19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest The American Experience
Waiting on his turn in the pen

Every year, crews get together to brand new calves. It is a dying tradition and only a handful of ranches continue with the "dragging" method using horses, ropes, and wrestlers. Cowboys gather the mamas and babies, sort off the bawling calves, then rope and drag them closer to the fire pit. Wrestlers jump in, holding the calves on the ground while someone uses a branding iron to give each calf a lifelong "tattoo," vaccines are administered, and the bull calves are castrated. It is a long busy day but it keeps an American Tradition alive.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 04.2021
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Nebraska, United States of America
Copyright: © Amber Stover