By Gail M. Williams
The bawl of the cattle, the whinny and nicker of the horses, and the shouts and whistles of grownups and kids can be heard as 125 cows and calves are rounded up on the farm belonging to Mike and Kim Hunt.
Ranch caretaker Casey Sisk, as well as his friends and family, rise with the sun to help separate calves from their mamas and pen them so they can be vaccinated, branded and ear tagged.
Kids ranging in age from 2 to 16 are there, learning the ropes and earning their spurs.
Although the little ones are happy just to play amid all the excitement, Sisk says kids who are a little older are well able to help vaccinate and ear tag calves.
Sisk’s wife Jill and their two children Gentry, 6, and Liddy, 2, are there.
Bring in Sisk’s brother Jed, his sister Ashley Herring and her husband Bill, along with their three youngsters, Bree 13, Jael, 7, and Jubilee, 3, and it becomes a family event
The Sisks, who grew up on their father’s New Mexico ranch, are all experienced hands.
“I’ve done this for as long as I can remember,” Sisk said. “We’ve done this our whole lives.”
Friend Connor Paul is there, as well as Cody and Amberlee Altman with their children Bodie, 8, Blevins, 6, and Brylynn, 3.
Boys growing into manhood arrive with Coby Summers. His three Lunsford nephews, Gains, 16; Jack, 13, and Sawyer, 8, know just what to do.
“They do a good job,” Sisk says.
“They flank a lot of calves, hold ’em down to brand ’em and earmark ’em. They rope ’em and drag ’em.”
Working together, the group finishes the job in just 4 1/2 hours before they sit down to lunch.
Then they go back to their everyday lives, knowing they’ll be there again at the next roundup.