Early Sublette County Brands Project
Sommers Ranch
Bud and Verla Sommers
Jonita Sommers interviewing Bud Sommers on July 17, 1990, at the Sommers Ranch.
Jonita- How long have you been on this ranch?

Bud- Been here 75 years.

Jonita- What animals do you run now?

Bud- Run cattle and horses.

Jonita- How did you come to have the ranch?

Bud- Well, I ran the ranch for my mother since I was 16 years old;  then she sold me the ranch later on.

Jonita- Are there any other brands used on this ranch before you?

Bud- No

Jonita- How many brands does your place have?

Bud- 2

Jonita- From what stream do you irrigate?

Bud- Green River

Jonita- And who are your neighbors?

Bud- Prices and Millers

Jonita- What are their brands?

Bud- Prices got the Bar 7 and the Bar Diamond and Millers have the 67 and several others.

Jonita- What is your brand?

Bud- Open AP

Jonita- And where is it on the animal?  Describe what it looks like.

Bud- It's on the left hip.

Jonita- What is your earmark?

Bud- Under half of the left ear.

Jonita- Do you have a wattle or dewlap?

Bud- Not any more., we used to dewlap for years but we quit that years ago.

Jonita- How long have you had this brand?

 Bud- Well, I don't know how long the ranch has had it.  Dad had it before I...... I don't know.

Jonita- Where did you get the brand?

Bud- Well, it seemed like my father applied for it from the Brand Association and it, ....Willy Price had used it one time but he didn't have it recorded.

Jonita- History of the brand - how old - When it care to the area and when was it first registered?

Bud- Well, I suppose it came to the area with Prices, probably in the late 1800's but I don't know.

Jonita- Where did you get your branding irons?

Bud- Well, now,  we have them made in town, a blacksmith; used to make them ourselves.

Jonita- Has the brand been good?

Bud- Yes.

Jonita- Why?

Bud- It's so legible - you can tell an AP cow before you can see her.

Jonita- Is there a plan to keep the brand in the family?

Bud- There's no plan to get rid of it.

Jonita- Why was this brand chosen, designed or purchased?

Bud- Well, my father's initial was A.P. Sommers and that's probably the reason.

Jonita- When do you usually brand?

Bud- Oh, in May.

Jonita- Has this always been the case?

Bud- No, not always-- we used to calve out on the range and then the Upper Green River Association ran a wagon and they'd brand them from that wagon, a lot of them, anyway.  We've always branded a certain amount of them here at the ranch.

Jonita- Oh, and how did they brand with that wagon?

Bud- We1l.. they, uh, like in the mountains, they'd brand and they had different brand sites and they had a cart with branding irons, a 2 wheeled wagon, a wooden wheeled wagon with a team on it and drag it to where the branding was going to be and build a fire and use it--they branded up the river there probably in 20-25 locations.  Like they'd brand at Mosquito Lake and they'd brand Red Greek and Gip and....

Jonita- How many calves would they brand at one time and how many people were there?

Bud- Well, they'd brand whatever, usually not a great amount... probably 50 head and they would be probably 10 or 12 people.

Jonita- And how many people's cattle were they branding.?

Bud- Oh posh, They'd brand.. probablv a little over 20 people.

Jonita- So how did they know which calf went with what person?

Bud- Well, at that time old Rex Wardell was foreman and he'd ride in the heard and mother a calf up with the cow and when he saw what calf belonged with each cow he'd rope it and drag it in and tell who it belonged to and they'd put the brand on.

Jonita- And what would he say?

Bud- Well, he was kind of comical far as that goes.  He'd bring it in if it was old Bill Luce's brand he'd say, "Red Willie" and if it was Olson's brand, old Charlie Olson, he'd say, "3 Bar Charlie" and he had, oh, a lot of different... oh, Nels Jorgesen , who was Diamond Bar--and he'd drag one in and he'd say Diamond Bar--always the point down," and it was interesting to listen to him.

Jonita- Who helps you brand now?

Bud- Our neighbors.

Jonita- Do you help others brand?

Bud- Yes.

Jonita- Describe a typical branding day.

Bud- Well, branding this year was probably typical. We had probably 20 people around, wrestling and roping and doing the branding and what else we had to do--the calves' vaccinating, stuff.

Jonita- Describe your branding work--do you rope, use tables., drag by hand., --how do you do it?

Bud- Well.. we rope the calves, in fact when we round up to brand that morning it's quite a thing. We've got to get all the cows and calves together and we bring them down and put them in a pen by themselves, and uh, it's pretty close quarters and the branders go in there and catch calves and bring them out.  Of course, they're all AP so they don't have to call out.

Jonita- How has your branding procedure changed over the vears?

Bud- I don't think it changed any, really, the procedure of the branding here, at the ranch...... changed a lot on the range, cause they just don't brand on the range any more.

  This is Jonita Sommers interviewing Verla Sommers July 17, 1990 concerning the Green River Valley Brand

Jonita- Ok, now you're going to tell about the Richie family brand?

Verla- Well, my father had the V Quarter Circle P, and when he first got it recorded I do not know but it was recorded in 1917 in the Wyoming brand book so he had it prior to that.  And then, sometime about 1920,  I would say, he bought out the Becker cattle up on Scab Creek and there were 2 different brands there and he bought both bunches of cattle with those brands on.  And he kept the -- one brand was the JWB which was Joe Becker's and he did not keep that brand; but he kept the KZ that was Helen and Clare Becker's brand and we have run that on our cattle ever since.  And the V Quarter Circle P was always used as a horse brand after he got the KZ for the cattle.

Jonita- Now, what is the KZ like and where is it at on the cattle?

Verla- Well, the K is standing up and the Z comes down off the leg of the K under it and it is on the left ribs of the cattle.

Jonita-Is there a wattle or dewlap with it?

Verla- No.

Jonita- What is the earmark?

Verla- I don't know.

Jonita- Where did you get your branding irons?

Verla- They usually just made them themselves in the forge.

Jonita- Has the KZ been a good brand?

Verla- Yes, it was a very good cow brand.

Jonita- Why?

Verla- Well, because you could read it a long ways and it was plain to see.

Jonita- Is there a plan to keep the brand in the family?

Verla- I'm sure there is.

Jonita- When do you usually brand?

Verla- Usually in the spring before you turn out on the range and in the fall after you get them back.

Jonita- Has this always been the case?

Verla- Yes, it has, most of the time.

Jonita- Who helps you brand?

Verla- The neighbors help brand.

Jonita- Do you help others brand?

Verla- Yes.

Jonita- Describe a typical branding day.

Verla- You get up very early in the morning and start your preparation.  The men go out and get the cattle in and get them rounded up and the women have to get busy cooking for the meal and now days people come in horse trailers and pickups with their horses to help and they go get the cattle rounded up and start branding the calves and it usually takes most of the day.  They stop at noon to eat the noon meal.

Jonita- Describe your branding work.

Verla- Don't know what you mean by that.

Jonita- Well, yes, you're cooking.

Verla- Well, my branding work means getting a meal for about 25 people and cleaning up the mess afterwards.  After they get through branding there's always vaccinating needles and all kinds of stuff you have to clean up and put away besides getting the eating mess done away with.

Jonita- Now has your branding procedure changed over the years?

Verla- Well, it seems like we have bigger branding crews but really our... it hasn't changed that much except we used to have wood fires and now they have propane fires; and I think that's about the only difference.

Jonita- Now how long have you been on this ranch?

Verla- 45 years.

Jonita- What aninals do you run?

Verla- We run Hereford cattle.

Jonita- How did you come to this ranch?

Verla- Well, I married Bud Sommers so that's how I came to this ranch.

Jonita- How many brands does your place have?

Verla- It has 4 brands now.  It has always had 2 brands, the Quarter Circle P and the AP; but now our children each have a brand, so we have 4 brands on the ranch now.

Jonita- OK, what are their brands?

Verla- Jonita's brand is a 2 Spear - is 2 Spears, I should say, on the left side, and Albert's brand is MS on the left side.

Jonita- From what stream do you irrigate?

Verla- We get our water from the Green River.

Jonita- Who are your neighbors?

Verla- Millers, Jimmy Millers, and Prices and Lumans.

Jonita- And what are their brands?

Verla- Well, Prices have a lot of brands but their main brand is the Bar 7 and Lumans have several brands but Obie uses the Wagon Wrench and Jimmy Miller, he brands with the Y -

Jonita- What is the brand that you use?

Verla- AP

Jonita- How long have you had the brand?

Verla- We're not certain as to how long the brand has been here, but we think probably since about 1909 or in that time.

Jonita- And where did you get the brand?

Verla- Well, we're not certain about that; but I think maybe Mr. Sommers got it from Mr. Price.

Jonita- And where did the Quarter Circle P come from?

Verla- It was Mr. Sommers's brother Perles's brand; and when he left this ranch, sold out his land and property here to Mr. and Mrs. Sommers, Mrs. Mae Sommers bought the brand-had the brand put in her name.

Jonita- Do you know when that took place?

Verla- No, I don't.  I could look it up but I haven't done it.

Jonita- Where do you get your branding irons?

Verla- Well, the ones we have now, Wilford Edwards made then for us in Pinedale; but before that, I think just about anybody made them that could do a little bit of blacksmith work.

Jonita- Is your brand a good one?

Verla- Yes it is. It's a good clear brand.

Jonita-Why is it good?

Verla- Well, there's not too many characters in it and it just goes on the animal so it's clear and plain to read.

Jonita- Is there a plan to keep the brand in the family?

Verla- As far as I know, we'11 keep it in the family.