Riding for the Brand Photography

PRCA Photographer Tanya Hamner



A faint cry over howling winds wakes me at 2am. Boots, coat, and hat on, I grab my lantern and head out in a blizzard to the barn to mount my horse and search for the source of the cry: a newborn calf under a fresh blanket of snow.

The cowboy’s way of life embraces hard work, trust and respect in the service of a greater purpose: community service, stewardship, and faith. It’s called “Riding for the Brand.” The pay is modest, the toll on the body hard and the reward great. Hours on a horse, tending fences under wide-open sky, as a hawk circles overhead; calves born under starry nights that finish with conversation around a camp fire, the ole cook singing while making grub... this is my 'office'. I have been asked many times why we cowboys ride for our money and rope for short pay. I can’t imagine any other way.

My photos are a testament to cowboy life, defined by hard work in God’s glorious country. Gold and blue hour light convey that glory and the long hours. This is who we are. Our handshake is a promise, our word is all you need and living for greater good is our way of life.