The 3rd weekend in May marks a special event for Calaveras County. It is the weekend of the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee. This longstanding tradition has welcomed spring for several decades. In fact it began when the main street of angels camp was paved for the first time! Not only do 4-H & FFA kids show their livestock at the fair, there are carnival rides, baked goods contests pretty much if you sewed it, drew it or grew it, there is a contest for you at the fair. This also marks a special weekend for cattlemen and women from Calaveras & surrounding counties. During Friday & Saturday of the fair local cowboys and cowgirls compete in all kids of arena events. From real ranch ropin, to pennin' and sortin' even calf branding which is the topic of this post. I think that this is one of the most important aspects of the fair. Not simply because of the good time had by all and comrodery experienced, but while these events are taking place thousands of people from cities and towns get a glimpse of ranch life. For some this may be the only time they have ever seen a horse ridden or a calf roped.
Teaching others about our heritage is something that is near and dear to my heart. I think that it is so important to teach people everywhere about life on the ranch. BeefonaBudget.com had the opportunity to help sponsor one of the events that took place during the weekend. Amy & I sponsored one of the belt buckles for the winning calf branding team. Being college girls on a budgets, we saved up to be able to do this, but we believe it was worth it. Not only were we able to help ensure that others caught a glimpse of ranch life, but we were also given the opportunity to give back to a community that has supported me my entire life and continues to support me today. The calf branding event was oh so fun. This is a quick glimpse of how it works.
Now it is a little different atmosphere than the branding pen on the ranch, but the idea is the same. There are four guys on a team. Two get up on their horses, the other two stay on the ground to do ground work. The ropers catch the calf, head first, then heals.
In the event the healer doesn't catch both heels, the ground men, flank the calf and adjust the ropes so that it can be stretched, they also remove the head rope and place it on the front legs of the calf.
Then they stretch out the calf and one of the ground crew guys or gals comes behind with the branding iron (dipped in paint) and paint brands the right rib.
They then switch, the ground crew gets up and the ropers come down, and they go at it again.
This is a timed event, the fastest time wins. The winning team this year was the Double Anchor Crew with a time of 1 min 35.68 seconds. Team members Jesse Fiedel, Dan Erickson, Kent Hirdes and Rigo Estrella all received a belt buckle for winning, and the purse money of course.
With swingin' ropes, mulehide & paint fun was had by all!
Photos Courtesy of Jeff White and The Calaveras County Fair.