Cattle round up in Prescott, Arizona
This was my third time photographing a cattle round up and branding with the wranglers from Broken Horn D Ranch. Over the years Kim and Dave have invited cowboys and cowgirls to help them with the round up.
“Broken Horn D Ranch is located in Prescott, AZ, Yavapai County. Dave Pawel & Kim McElroy raise Corriente cattle and produce 100% Grass Fed, Criollo beef on 4,000 acres. All the beef comes from animals born and raised on the ranch, spending their days in pastures grazing on native grasses and browse. Cattle are handled quietly from horseback and are processed locally at Perkinsville Processing in Chino Valley, an ADA inspected slaughter facility.
All Broken Horn D Ranch Criollo beef meets the USDA Standards for Grass Fed, No Hormones, No Antibiotics and No Animal By Products, ever, for the life of the animal, as independently verified by TechniTrack, LLC. Kim is also a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certified Producer, further verifying the ranch operates by the highest industry standards for humane handling and care of the cattle. Dave and Kim are passionate about their cattle (and horses), and being good stewards of the land. They feel truly blessed to be able to live their dream while providing friends and neighbors a healthy and delicious foodstuff.”
The Cattle Round up begins
The wranglers all start off early in the morning with a prayer before heading out to round up cattle. From my lens of my camera I am sure Dave is sharing a wonderful story and asking that they have a safe and successful day.
It doesn’t take long for the team of cowboys and cowgirls to return with the cattle. There’s less cattle to round up this year. In a recent interview with The Daily Courier, Kim and Dave share that this year, however, much of the land has dried up so bad that there’s not enough grass or brush for the cattle to graze on so they’ve had to reduce their livestock by 35%.
I can compare the photographs to those taken a few years ago and see the difference in the terrain. The drought has made the land almost barren.
The wranglers move the entire herd into the corral and then sort some of the grown cows out of the corral to make it easier to rope the calves. It’s really quite a dance with the horses, wranglers and cattle as they all maneuver around this small area and filter the herd. Once the size of the herd is more manageable they can start the roping of the calves.
The wranglers take turns at a shot to throw out the lasso and rope a calf. Initially Dave offered roping lessons and tips from the ground before he mounted his horse and threw out the rope. Each time a cowboy or cowgirl threw out the rope I waited with camera to see if they would “win a prize”. That’s what it seemed like. Each toss was to hopefully rope a calf so it could be brought over to the flank team to be tagged and branded. The calves are then set loose and quickly return to the herd. It all happens in seconds.
It’s always fun to get photographs of the wranglers in action throwing the rope but I was surprised at how in the split second click of the shutter how many of the horses are sticking out their tongue or the rider is almost closing their eyes.
Once all the branding and tagging is done, all the cattle are reunited into the open pasture. Kim and Dave return to their horses and do a final count and notations about which calf belongs to which mama cow.
Monsoon rain may help relieve the cattle business
As I write this blog post, a week after the round up I am thrilled that we are getting a full day of rain. Hopefully, this is a start of good monsoon season in Northern Arizona and that will help alleviate some of the challenges that Broken Horn D Ranch faces this year.
Where to purchase beef from Broken Horn D Ranch
Broken Horn D Ranch Criollo Beef is available in individual cuts such as steaks, roasts and ground beef. Purchases can be made at the Prescott Farmer’s Market 7:30 a.m. to noon every Saturday at Yavapai College and Chino Valley at Olsen’s Grain 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Whole and half animals are available for custom processing. Contact the ranch at 928-708-9385 or www.BHDRanch.com.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Arts Prescott Gallery CO-OWNER, Dragonfly Arts in Cottonwood and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. Opening June 1st at Sedona Artist Market and Hart of AZ Gallery.