Letter from the Editor: Loosegrip | SteamboatToday.com

Letter from the Editor: Loosegrip

John F. Russell

Letter from the Editor: Loosegrip

I haven’t always been a writer. One of my first conscious efforts to scribe so came in college when our Western authors professor gave us a choice between taking a final exam or writing a short western-themed story.

Consummate slacker that I am, I chose the story (no studying!) and proceeded to espouse upon how I earned the nickname “Loosegrip” during branding at our family ranch in Cody, Wyoming.

While the story has thankfully long disappeared somewhere, it revolves around having slippery hands at a crucial juncture in the branding process, thereby letting said calf escape and wreak havoc around the pen, kicking up mud, knocking over barbecues and even careening into the Budweiser keg.

“Way to go, Loosegrip,” ranch manager Hugh admonished, sealing the nickname into stone.

Subsequent visits did little to up my prestige. Like when I forsook the customary steed and showed up to help round up the cattle on my mountain bike, resulting in manure stripes up my back.

Or the time we tried to prime the carb of the ranch’s family heirloom ’57 Chevy Bel Air Sport Coupé, only to see it burst into flames and nearly burn the barn down. Since our own car’s battery was inside it (another dufus move), we had to run down the road to flag down none other than name-bestowing Hugh again.

Come to think of it, I could have a whole gaggle of nicknames from my time on the ranch.

But that’s not how it plays out here in Routt County, whose ranches — as well as its brands — have been here far longer than skiers and riders have been schussing Mount Werner. And instead of urban cowboys like me showing up to mettle, they’re run by some of the best hands in the business.

We pay homage to them, and the marks that identify their long-standing ties to Routt County, in this issue’s Brand Stand feature, which pays tribute to the likes of the Mongers, Fetchers and brand inspector Daren Clever who are out and about every spring tagging their calves with their telltale insignia.

While they’re going about their branding business, plenty of the rest of us in town are also scurrying about in another surefire sign of spring — sprucing up our homes and yards after surviving another round of Old Man Winter.

For that, this issue also features our special Home & Garden supplement, which profiles some of Steamboat’s certified Master Gardeners and offers tips on everything from maintaining gardens and lawns to siding and roofs.

If only I had such a resource for my early branding exploits. It might have saved me an embarrassing moniker.

—Eugene Buchanan

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User