Being a cattleman is tough, and the job is changing fast: drones are now used, cowhands are hard to find, and Trump’s Nafta plans could harm exports. But bravery, hard work and solidarity still define this line of work
It’s spring roundup time here on Texas’s Spade ranch, when calves are branded and castrated and given their shots. In a time of big ranch conglomerates using drones and helicopters to move herds from above, the Spade cowboys pride themselves on being an old breed. They still gather their cattle by horseback, and they rope and drag their calves with tight, practiced loops. Their branding irons are still heated over a mesquite fire dug out of the red sand.
And when it comes to their horses, each man can ride like a bandit.