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A man carries a branding iron on branding day near Chinook, Montana. → License Photo

Sadly, this year I will be missing branding season for the first time in seven years. Since early last year I have been tackling some health-related issues, something I should have taken seriously sooner but put off until November. It’s nothing fatal or tragic, but it is painful and it does require me to undergo some physical rehabilitation and attention to matters that have been left unattended for far too long.

It doesn’t make me happy knowing I will miss branding season this year. In fact, I’m positively melancholy about it. If I thought there was another way I would have eagerly embraced it, but there was no other way to deal with this. It’s just something I have to do. And if I’m diligent (easier said than done) and do what I’m supposed to do I will be back in 2018.

In the mean time I’m sifting through old branding negatives dating as far back as 2010 and developing photos of cowboys that were missed the first time around. I will be posting a constant stream and new and never-before-seen cowboy photos on my Facebook page, so be sure to head on over there if you still want to see a fresh batch of branding photos.

To my friends who will be branding this year without me, I’m sorry. I hope to see you again in the fall and again next spring. Save a beer for me.

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