by Terry Nash

Catch two below the hocks
And then drag ‘em to the fire,
Work ‘em slow and easy,
Lest you stir the boss’ ire.

The family’s at the coals
With hot irons and vaccination.
Young and old, each has a job
In this timeless occupation.

The wives are in the kitchen
Cookin’ up a good-size spread.
Fixin’ beef and taters,
Dessert and homemade bread.

Catch two below the hocks,
Then bring ‘em slow and steady,
There ain’t no time to tarry
For the ground crew’s at the ready.

There’s a couple hundred calves to brand;
We’ll have ‘em worked by mid-day.
Turn each one out, mother him up
And know we’ve earned our pay.

We’ll wash up at the house,
Heap our plates to overflowin’
Then eat out in the shade
And grin ‘bout the calves growin’!

It’s a cowman’s rite of spring,
This brandin’ calves tradition;
A western “sport of kings,”
And an honored avocation.

So catch two below the hocks boys,
We’ll sing your praises loud-
We’re feedin’ America good red beef!
So set your horses proud!

© 2016, Terry Nash
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Colorado cowman Terry Nash’s poem was inspired by Marcia Molnar’s painting, “Dust n’ Dogies,” which graced the Arizona Cowboy Poets 2016 poster. The gathering has a long tradition of inviting poets and musicians to be inspired by its poster art and resulting works are presented at the gathering. (Their idea inspired Art Spur at See all the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering posters here.

Terry comments, “I was inspired to write the poem when I saw Marcia’s great painting. It made me think of our spring brandings and family and neighbors coming together to help each other. As a cowman, I also think it’s important to remind people we raise beef to feed the American people.”

Find Marcia Molnar’s work at

Terry shared this photo and says, “I took the photo at the Jackson ranch branding, probably 2016. That’s retired school teacher Ed Blake on Cisco. It’s the first catch for them both.”

Terry is a frequent performer at gatherings across the West. His most recent CD is the award-winning A Good Ride. Find more about him at

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)