Want proof that the cowboy way of life isn’t dying out? You can find it at an ordinary branding.

ch 0516 Marley branding IMG 2831Taylor Marley, his sister, Kate, and friend Cole Cameron working calves for a Marley family branding, May 2016.

By Christine Hamilton

I left the house before dawn last Monday to catch a flight to Roswell, New Mexico, to attend the branding for the Mark and Kathryn Marley family’s Upper Place, in the rough limestone country east of the Capitan Mountains.

It was also the day our July 2016 issue went to the printer. Going from “on-deadline” mode to “on-the-fly-travel” mode is a jolt that makes me wonder at the variety of tasks that fall under the same job title.

ch 0516 Marley branding IMG 9407Taylor Marley and family friend Cole Cameron work a Marley family branding in May.

However, while shooting photos in the middle of the pen, all I could think about was how well this branding crew fit that issue we’d just finished.

In July, we showcase the younger generation of Western horsemen. In a time when we often hear it said the cowboy life is dying, we celebrate young men and women who prove that’s not really true. It’s changing, for sure, but it’s not dead. There are young people across this country living as genuine Western horseman.

And there was the proof, right in front of me, on a rare cool May morning in southeastern New Mexico, with a much-appreciated drizzle to green the pastures and dampen the branding pen.

ch 0516 Marley branding IMG 9437Kate Marley puts her veterinarian skills to work at her family’s branding May 2016.

Taylor Marley was taking his turn flanking. He’s already partnered with his dad, Mark, to run their scattered ranching operations from the western edge of the Llano Estacado to the base of the Capitans.

His partner flanking was Cole Cameron, who’s also working alongside his dad, Craig, starting colts and teaching clinics. He’s stepping up to help people “Ride Smarter” with the best of Western horsemanship.

And Taylor’s sister, Kate, worked the knife and branded. Fresh from graduation with a veterinary degree from Colorado State University, she’ll begin working this summer in an equine practice near Austin, Texas.

Three remarkable young people headed with confidence into a future in the Western horseman way of life.

For me, it’s back to deadline mode. I need to transform the Marley family’s story to print for the August issue.

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