The circle of life, brands, barrels and beans

Jan Swan Wood
For the April 10, 2010 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

The old saying “When it rains, it pours,” sure has been in effect for our clan. My uncle Keith Swan died with his boots on last week at their home ranch northeast of Newell, SD. Many knew Keith for his involvement with 4-H, FFA and High School rodeo over the years. If you were a timed event kid in Butte County, you probably had him as the flagman many times. He was also a rancher and cowman. Not a yearling man, a cowman. He loved a good horse, too, and I’m sure ol’ Kitty was waitin’ on the other side for him. Keith died suddenly, but I just know he was listening to the songs of meadowlarks and the bawling of a little calf and its mother that morning as he slipped away. He was right where he wanted to be. Happy trails to you, Uncle Keith.

I’m once again going to nag you about getting your brand renewals in before May 1. If you haven’t received a renewal notice, it’s probably because they don’t have your new address (whether you’ve moved or it’s a new 911 address, doesn’t matter). If you’re online, check out the state brand website at and find the list of folks they haven’t been able to send renewals to. Even if you’re not on it, your neighbor might be (one of mine was) and you can send in the right address or contact information by email. The email for Larry Stearns (the guy in charge) is, or call him at 605-773-3324. If you don’t get it renewed by May 1, you will have to pay not only the $50 renewal but $100 for reinstatement as well. If you don’t do either, you just won’t have a brand.

Hallie Melvin, a native South Dakota lady, made quite a splash at the Sand Cup Barrel Futurity in Walla Walla, WA recently. She won the Reserve Champion spot on Frenchies Easy Cash, a five-year-old sorrel gelding by Frenchmans Guy and out of a Holland Ease/Cash On Request mare. The horse is owned by Chris Gibbons of Tuscon, AZ. Hallie also placed 6th on Frenchies Cash Cutie and 7th on RU Frosty Frenchman (I’m kind of picking up on a trend with the names of the horses). Good job Hallie! I’m sure Bill and Deb Myer are pretty proud of that gelding, too!

Speaking of barrels, the 5 State Breeders Barrel Futurity will be held at the Event Center in Rapid City, SD on Sept. 10-12. It’s a $23,000 added and futurity payments begin May 1st. Contact Lana Ireland at 605-431-9480 or email her at for more info.

This is a feel-good item from the APHA. The APHA Foundation raised nearly $21,000 at the World Championship Paint Show in Ft. Worth, and those dollars will be used to improve the lives of veterans through interaction with horses. We all know that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man, so this is just a wonderful program.

A watch dog organization, keeps track of all the blarney that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) propagates. In a recently completed nationwide poll commissioned by the Center For Consumer Freedom, they found that 71 percent of Americans wrongly believe that HSUS is an umbrella group for pet shelters. In fact, they spend less than one half of one percent of their $100,000,000 (yes, 100 million) annual budget on pet shelters. In the same poll, 57 percent of the respondents think that HSUS gives most of its money to those same shelters. There are starting to be some investigations into the actual workings of the HSUS, plus some lawsuits have been brought against them for some of their practices. They have caused no end of problems for animal agriculture, so it’s about time some of their dirty laundry gets aired.

The college rodeo at Colorado State University April 2-4 had many area competitors in the placings. Men’s All Around was won by Cole Dorenkamp of Gillette College, and the Women’s All Around was won by Vale, SD’s Nikki Steffes, who rodeos for University of Wyoming. Gillette College still leads both the men’s and women’s divisions in the Central Rocky Mountain Region. Go Pronghorns!

South Dakota High School rodeo participants have the April 15 deadline looming for entries in the regional and Triple Crown rodeos. Get them in right away!

Nebraska High School rodeos at Hyannis and Arthur need the entries in by April 16. Hyannis will be on May 1 and Arthur on May 2, but the cutting will be on May 1 for both. Burwell’s entries close April 23 for their May 8-9 rodeo. You’ll need your 2009 fall semester grade transcripts too.

I am delighted to hear that Rod Hoffman of Whitewood, SD is taking up his Dad’s chuckwagon cooking. Walt Hoffman was well known for his great cooking and for just being an altogether outstanding person and good cowboy, and we have sure missed him since he rode over the divide. His son, Rod, has moved back to South Dakota and is going to be slinging the pots once again. He learned from the best, so I have high expectations for his Dutch oven cooking. So, if you have a branding, wedding, graduation party, reunion or any other good excuse, give Rod a call and let him cook the beef, beans and cobbler the cowboy way. Rod’s phone is 903-574-1835.

A phone call just moments ago brings life to a full circle. My niece and her husband, Shannon and Tadd Haugen of Sundance, WY, had a baby boy today, April 7. Harris William is the grandson of Tim and Linda Haugen of Elm Springs, SD and Bob and Kathy Burke of Sundance, WY. Great-Grandad is Bill Swan of Spearfish, SD. He joins brother Dillon, 5, and sister Annika, 2. Harris also has great grandmothers Delores Haugen of Montivideo, MN and Harriet Burke of Yakima, WA. I know this isn’t a baby announcement column, but in view of some of the recent events in our family, I think it’s appropriate to welcome little Harris to the clan and say congrats to his proud parents. He’s like the green grass after a hard winter. Hope springs eternal.

Well, the gumbo is pretty soft and my horse is needing a break, so I will pull up for now and just sit, think, and look at the country. Don’t ever forget how blessed we are to live where we do and to have the people in our lives that we have. Let them know every chance you get just how special they are to you.

Remember too, to send me your results and upcoming events. Always glad to hear from you.

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