By Ross Hecox for the National Ranching Heritage Center, Texas Tech University
Uncomfortable silence fell across the room as Minnie Lou Ottinger and Rusty Bradley stared at each other across the dining table.
Although it has been 71 years since that moment, Minnie Lou still vividly remembers how the Bradley family and several seasoned cowboys were taken aback by her harsh criticism of the ranch’s branding practices.
“Everybody at the table was just speechless,” she recalls. “Every once in a while, you’d hear someone’s spur rowel kind of move, and that was all. I thought, ‘I may be walking back to the bus station.’”
Minnie Lou, an ambitious farm girl competing on the Oklahoma A&M University livestock judging team, was a guest at the Bradley Ranch branding in West Texas. She was meeting the family of her boyfriend and future husband, Bill Bradley. Knowing it was the first branding she’d ever attended, Bill’s father, Rusty, had already handed her the vaccinating gun, walked her through the castration of a bull calf, and tasked her with many other jobs.
‘What We’re Reading‘ is a quick look at some of the issues and insights Alberta Beef Producers’ content creators and editors are reading to stay up-to-date, to broaden perspectives, and to explore issues relevant to the agriculture industry.