Flanking 101

This is what I know about life: 

There are two sides to a pancake.
There are at least two sides to a story.
There are two sides to a coin. 

With all of that life experience under my belt, I could assume with confidence, that like a coin, there are two sides to every baby cow.   Heads and tails. 

I would assume wrong. 

Instead of heads or tails, it’s tail or rope, and the rope is the tail, and the tail is first the tail, but then the head.  Understand? 

If yes, skip to section II.

Section I
I’ll try to make this as simple as possible.

Step 1) At a cattle branding, a person, preferably a cowboy, ropes a calf by a leg, preferably two, and drags it towards the branding fire.

Step 2) One person, a flanker, grabs the ROPE that is tied to the calf’s leg (or two).

Step 3) Another person, a second flanker, grabs the calf’s TAIL.

With great physics involved that I an unable to explain, they get the calf on its side.

Step 4) It is at this crucial point, that the person who grabs the TAIL, lets go of theTAIL, and holds down the calf’s HEAD.

Step 5) The person who had the ROPE puts the calf’s legs in some sort of fancy jujitsu hold and unties the ROPE

Step 6) As the flankers hold down the calf, a very equipped crew comes in and “works” the calf with a variety of torture tactics.  No, no, just kidding.  Please don’t call PETA.

Section II
Now being the astute observer that I am, I should have understood the art of flanking.  But I don’t seem to pay attention when things don’t concern me, or even  when they do, so I hadn’t been watching much of the details of it all.  My job was to keep up with the nut sacks.  It’s probably the most important job of the entire operation.  I’m not sure how cattle operations survive without it.  Yes, and I was the holder of this most coveted job. 

These fine little furry soft satchels that hold the calf testicles were mine to keep tally of.  Because my husband wants me to feel a part of it all, and I like easy jobs.

Out of the clear blue, my husband looks at me, “you wanna flank one?”  Not wanting to let down the team, I agreed.
Next question:  “You want tail or rope?” 

Pause here…….and picture this…….

I hadn’t had the above tutorial that I so graciously shared with you, a calf was being drug to the fire, I had about 2 tenths of a second to answer, so I said “tail”, thinking that when I said tail, I was going to be at the posterior end of the calf.  (Because of my vast life experience that tail is opposite head, you understand my logic don’t you?)
The action begins.
I grab the tail.  So far, so good. Then I’m being screamed at to “get the head, get the head!” This would be Step #4 in the above tutorial. 
I held on firmly to the tail, thoroughly confused, thinking logically in my opinion, that the tail is the end part of a calf, and that I need to get to this calf’s legs and do the fancy jujitsu hold.
You might be wondering here why I’m on my knees and someone else is on the head?  The answer would be because I have fallen and can’t get up.  Someone has to rush in and rescue the whole deal before it all went south. 
Afterwards, Jason consoles me for being a flanking flunkie.
Pay no attention to the fact that it appears he may have just had a stroke seconds prior to this picture being snapped.
Or my huge belly.
This is what I know about life:
I need to brush up on my flanking vocabulary.
Fine little furry soft satchels are my friends.
These girls are making me look bad.

I’m not holding my breath for the Top Hand Award.


  1. Anonymous says:

    This is all very interesting, as a kid I was raised on a ranch…I guess every ranch has its quirks, we just threw the oysters in a bucket and then we knew how many we had tallied.Your writing is interesting to read good luck on your writing career and God Bless. Melford Smith "from Ms"


  2. Angel says:

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Ms. I'm really a city girl, but am slowly becoming acclimated to the country ways.


  3. Anonymous says:

    angel, i gotta give it to you girlfriend! looks lie you are going to do fine in being the keeper of those furry little things! love you, auntie linda


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