Branding: A Family Affair

Over 40 people, including lots of little kids gathered at the Gustafson ranch, south of Culbertson, on Sunday, June 9 for a good old-fashioned branding. Twenty horsemen showed their skill either rounding up calves or roping and throwing over 100 calves which now bear the Gustafson 2 hanging 3 brand, while four more have Julie Rehbein's AR+. Julie got her calves when they were just babies, needing to be bottle fed.

Like most brands, the two have a long history. Rehbein's grandmother, Agnes Rehbein, registered the brand in about 1913. When she died, it was offered to Julie by her uncle Bill and she welcomed the opportunity to keep it in the family. She has had a few cattle off and on since 1975, always using that special brand when needed.

Vic Gustafson's family homesteaded in 1907, and the land is still in the family. Although Vic has not actively farmed since he left to join the Navy as a young man, he inherited his brand from his dad who had received it from a neighbor widow.

The two families have joined together with the marriage of Vic's daughter Dawn to Jason Rehbein, a cousin of Julie's.

Julie is just tickled that the two families are carrying on the legacy given to them by their ancestors, raising cattle, using old brands, and keeping traditions alive. Vic was happy to be at the ranch, helping with the branding and enjoying everyone there. "It was nice to be out there," he said.


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