Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ranching in America

Cody's Corner

Cowboy Cody, 1963
Cowboy Cody, circa 1963
Ranching in America

The Rockin H Ranch is symbolized by our livestock brand which is kind of horse shoe shaped, kind of C shaped, with a letter H setting inside the dip of the horse shoe.  In ranching terms we call this The Rockin H.  If there was a circle around the H we would call it Circle H.  Or if the H was sort of leaning back we might call it The Lazy Rockin H.  Now with my last name Holmes and my first name Cody not only does our ranch brand represent the Rockin part of the letter C turned up, which is also kind of shaped like the rocking legs of a rocking chair, but it is also the first two letters of my first and last name.  This brand for my current ranch was dreamed up in a young boy's mind in the late 1960's while watching some of my heroes on television like Ben Cartwright or The Rifleman.  There is little to no question that I had planned my ranch and this brand before I had any real idea what ranching was truly like.  And by 1973 the first purchase of cattle took place for the Rockin H Brand.  Soon after that my brand was registered with the State of Missouri and the challenges of real ranching began.  Fast forward 40 years later and that same brand is still displayed over the main entrance to my ranch and branded on the left hip of my cattle.
These 40 years have been extremely challenging is many respects.  I feel quite blessed to live my life in this great country and to be able to make these decisions that I have chosen both good and bad.  If I would have not had this privilege to ranch in America I can only image how empty I would feel today.  All the men and women that have sacrificed so I can still have this freedom of choice will always be my true heroes.  I encourage everyone and especially moms and dads to vigilantly and regularly speak of these things so that these values are not lost. 
The Rockin H Ranch operated for about its first 30 years as a traditional cowboy ranch.  During this time I earned the casual name of Cowboy Cody.  I spent a great deal of time horseback and worked my ranch very traditionally.  Then about 10 years ago the idea of Real Farm Foods began to develop and I also begin to see how ranching was really about producing food and not so much about cowboying and acting out like my Hollywood cowboys I had been performing like for most of my early life.  I will have to admit that some of this may naturally come with maturing, which most of us cowboys try to put off as long as possible.  So today you may see me driving around town in the summer time with sneakers and shorts delivering T-bones, lamb chops, or even red tomatoes all grown on our Rockin H Ranch which we say is the home of Real Farm Foods.  I do not give myself credit for any of this but all goes to our great Creator and those brave men and women we tip our hats to on Independence Day coming up this week.  Happy Independence Day to everyone and let's keep this country free for all for years and years to come.