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dwedum

The Nord Fork Head Catch

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Went out to the Crary Ranch again to work a couple of bunches of cows and brand a few calves. They use the Nord Fork head catch there, similar to the Deadman, for holding calves. Is not a common thing much of anyhwhere but can be really handy if just two of you are going to brand a small bunch of calves.

Most of the "crew" going out to bring in one of the cow/calf bunches. This is the only picture I got of that as I was riding Hobby, my cutting horse, and we had to turn back number of yearlings that we didin't want to bring in. And when you're riding a full fledged cutter on yearlings, you better not have a camera in your hands.

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Once we got them into the corrals and the calves separated from the cows, John Balkenbush of the Sunshine Ranch, brought the cows down the alley where I put them in the "tub" and they went into the chutes for branding and vaccinations. These were recently purchased cow/calf pairs and the cows had to be rebranded with the Crary Ranch brand. More on it later.

John

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He had just had a new saddle made for him and this was its first outing.

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John bringing half a dozen cow down the lane to the tub. Did not want anymore than that at a time as it crowds them to much and makes them harder to handle in the tub and chutes.

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The branding area. The two men standing both have a head catch to put on the calves after the ropers heel them and drag them by.

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They were both novice handlers of a head catch so my job was to give them some OJT and try to see that things went right. When using head catches you always end up with a few that don't get caught right and have to be wrestled the old way but once the nandlers get the hang of it, things can go fairly smoothly (for awhile, anyway).

Two of these shots below show Dana putting the Nord Fork on calves. Goes around the neck behind the ears and they have to catch it as the calf is being drug by.

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The front end of it can either be dropped on the ground or they can hang onto the rope it's tied to in order to keep it on.

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You can't see it but the device is tied to an inner tube which in turn is fastened to a stake in the ground. The roper than pulls it taught with the horse and the calf can be branded.

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Edited by Grouchy Grizzly

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branded

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and vaccinated

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and then the roper pulls their dallies, as Candy Balkenbush is doing here, to release the tension holding the calf in place. The calves kick out of the rope and the head catch is pulled off releasing them altogether.

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The brand of the Crary Ranch is easily recognized. It is the swastika, made famous by Nazi Germany, which makes many people wonder why they want that brand. Primarily because it has been the Crary Ranch brand since the late 1900s, long before Germany had it. And the ranch is still going which is more than can be said for Nazi Germany, thankfully.

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A good shot of Dusty Crary bringing a calf in.

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and one of Bessie, the cowless dog, doing what she does best at brandings.

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Between bunches we had lunch in the "camp". Crary's are getting a new house so have been living in this while the tearing down of the old one (1889 vintage in the center) and construction goes on. Dusty is also a licensed outfitter so has all the equipment necessary for a great camp.

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Was a long day but a good one and everything pretty much went as hoped.

Edited by Grouchy Grizzly

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Everything looks nice and green. Are they really living there until the new house is built? I saw a refridgerator setting there. How long until the new house is ready to live in? Shame they're tearing down something that old but sometimes that's the best way to go.

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Yeah, TJ, they'll live there until the new one is finished. Will be most of the summer but they aren't roughing it as much as it might seem. That is the refrigerator. Also have microwave, oven, big barbecue, queen size bed and mattress in the tent. Pretty much all the comforts of home. There is a 24 foot travel trailer there too, hooked up and used as their office. The kids all have separate tents, so it will really be pretty comfortable.

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Great pix! Showed them to my hub, who many years ago worked on a cattle ranch. His comment: "Sure wish I co do that again!" Today his only roping is a little bit of heeling in a friend's arena. We chuckle about how much "gear" everyone at the arena uses on their horses' heads and how they tell my hub he HAS TO use a tie-down on his horse, even tho Big John works just fine without one. I should show them the picture of the bay working in a snaffle and no tie-down.

Thanks for all your beautiful pictures. Sure want to take a trip up to Montana!

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Take a look at John and Candy's horses here too. Both in hacks and no tie downs. 90% of tie down use shows nothing more than a lack of training in my not so humble opinion. All three of these horses are used in various types of roping other than just heeling calves at brandings also.

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You also won't find a tie down on Dusty's horse.

Edited by Grouchy Grizzly

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Some day I hope to attend a branding such as this one. I think it would be great fun. Thanks for sharing GG. Awesome pics as always. :happy0203:

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