Just finished a great Horsemanship/Stockmanship/ Godmanship book titled “The Hands Of Cantu”.  It was about a young man seeking horsemanship skills in the 1500s. Spaniards in Mexico dealing with stolen horses and living God and Horsemanship.  Great book.


The brand was the cross enflanked I.( +I+) and they would ride to their death for it if needed.  Ride for the brand is a great tradition and a great way to think.

We are at the “Home Ranch” this week and I’ve been coming here for a long time and watched how the managers got the employees to “Ride for the Brand”.  The three I have worked for have had different styles but were good at getting the most out people to ride for the Home Ranch brand.


When I was doing lots of horse clinics and demos I was on the Purina team and the name of the program was” Ride With The Brand”.  For some legal reason they couldn’t call it Ride for the brand, but I was proud to ride for the outfit as they treated us right and had a good research backed product, and the boss men Darrell Burnett and David Nelson were more than fair, so it made it easy to want to do your best for them.


I’ve worked on several ranches and some you really wanted to ride for the brand.  The Iverson’s (-FL)in Townsend, Montana were our first full time ranch job.  I would do about anything for Boyd.  They really took care of us and appreciated our work.

Some of the other places were good but the management was such that you new you were an employee and they could not see all the extra you did to take care of “their” livestock.

On some of the bigger ranches I have been on if the management doesn’t connect properly with the crew you don’t get the “ride with the brand” mentality.  I think this is one of the most important skills of a good manager or owner.  So much of this lifestyle is pride of work and care of the animals.  If you know your boss appreciates and respects what you do you will go the extra mile.

I have been working for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association as what I call a “day worker”.  I have been doing demos on cattlehandling for them by myself and first with Todd MacCartney, then Ron Gill and Dean Fish.  I think we make a good team and all ride for the “BQA” brand of the NCBA.  Lots of good people at NCBA as well as State BQA people have made this organization great to work for.  I don’t get into political stuff in the industry, but I do believe in education and doing the right thing and that’s why we Ride for the Brand  by day working for this good outfit.


Riding for the Brand is very important to me.  My Dad always told me-to be paid more, do more than your paid for.  When you do this and work for good people(like I have) the “sell/buy” works for everyone.

I have been through some very interesting situations this year.  I have found out it is very difficult to come onto a place and take over where someone has been riding for the brand for many years.  It is a tough transition for people to make, especially when they really don’t want it, but are forced into it.  I was in the middle of it twice.  No fun.

The first time with the added pressure of Wife Tammy’s challenges and the ranch challenges it was not worth it to me, so we agreed with the boss to not continue.  I think it worked out good for everyone.  The ranch didn’t have a brand yet.

We went to work for the Levy Family on the “63” ranch.  It has been a working ranch/dude ranch since 1929.  The sixty three brand  was established in 1863 and it’s the reason the ranch is named so.  They got the brand with the purchase of the ranch.

We got in the middle again and there were some hard feelings.  I didn’t do anything wrong and happened to be filling up with fuel and I heard the previous manager bad mouthing me to someone.  I think his emotions got ahold of him and he acted in a way he would not normally act.  He apologized and I accept it.

The thing that was so good that came out of it was to see how the new ranch owners reacted.  They didn’t stick up for themselves, they stuck up for me.  They backed me 100 percent and proved that I had been doing the right thing for the guy all along.

They had me riding for the brand when they hired me, but now they have proven to me we are in this together.  They take the high ground and don’t talk behind people’s back and do negative things.  We are all going to help make the sixty three the best it can be and take it into the future with respect to the past and all create high quality outcomes.  We are exited.


[I’ve ridden for lots of brands in my Greeley Hatworks hat, and I think the “63” is a good one to ride for!]

If you have people you work with or have people working for you I think it is so important to get the “Ride for the Brand” mentality going.   It’s a great tradition.

4 thoughts on “RIDE FOR THE BRAND

  1. john teagarden

    As always Curt, thanks for sharing your wisdom/insight/deep thinking/cause for pondering. We rode on Ernie’s Ride last weekend. I took three kinda green ones. I stayed on top and they handled to exposure (after awhile) lol. Thought of you guys often. Best wishes for your family. JT

  2. don kunesh

    Well said Curt, Where we don’t ride the horses like you do, or herd the cattle, my workhands work for the Brand, Lakedale Landscaping. We have to be a team to spread out the work, and get the doggone job done. landscaping is not easy work, It is Hard work.I work right with the crew every day ,and at 64 my body has taken a beating .I appreciate my helpers, but some days it’s such a hard struggle. Take care and keep up the good work. Don kunesh up north Minnesota

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