The term “brand” goes back thousands of years and originally meant “to burn”. To the cowboy of the American West, the “brand” not only identified the ownership of cattle, but it also became the symbol of loyalty, pride, and commitment. Some people credit Louis L’amour for coming up with the term “Ride for the Brand,” but I can imagine some cow boss telling a slacker hired hand cowboy that if he wasn’t going to “Ride for the Brand,” he might as well hit the trail. It was his way of communicating that if he wasn’t going to work hard, take pride in his work, and be loyal to his employer, then he didn’t need to be working there. Riding for the brand was, and is a great way to sum up a how to have a good employee/employer relationship, but the phrase can be applied in a number of ways.
As an equipment dealer, we are proud of our brand. We are constantly working to build the reputation of. We brand our caps, tractors, uniforms, buildings, advertising, and just about anything we can think of that is related to Great Plains. We are also proud of the brands we represent, and “Ride for those Brands” each and every time we open our doors. Our goal is to communicate to our customers through our actions that is the “Brand to Ride With”.
As a Christian, “Riding for the Brand” is really summed up in a scripture that I should remember every day. Colossians 3:23 says.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
My goal in life is to ride for the and even though I make many mistakes, fall off my horse, and disappoint my Heavenly Father, I hope that at the end of the day, people will see by my actions that I belong to Jesus.
In my opinion, the best example of a person “Riding for the Brand” occurred a couple of thousand years ago, long before the cowboy rode the range on the Great Plains. The apostle Paul was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, whipped and imprisoned numerous times and said in Galatians 6:17 that “I bear on my body the scars that show that I belong to Jesus”.
Isn’t that what a “brand” is?
This story and others posted in this blog are originally published in Great Plains living. The official magazine of Great Plains Kubota.
One of my favorite cowboy movies is “Lonesome Dove”. It was set in 1876, during the heyday of cowboy driven cattle drives which developed our perceptions of what we now know as a Cowboy.
The movie was based on the actual life of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, and the relationship they built as pioneers during those first cattle drives. The two leading characters in the movie, Gus, portrayed by Robert Duvall as (Oliver Loving), and Woodrow, played by Tommy Lee Jones as (Charles Goodnight) could have written the “Cowboy Code” as they lived it out. One of my favorite lines from the movie comes after Woodrow diligently hauled Gus’s body in a wagon from Montana to Lonesome Dove to bury him.
Woodrow had earlier promised Gus he would bury him under a pecan tree by the creek on Lonesome Dove. Real life accounts report that Goodnight hauled Loving’s body from New Mexico to Weatherford, TX to bury him. Real or fictional It was a long, tough journey, and most people would have given up and just buried Gus anywhere. But not Woodrow. After he buried Gus he put up the grave marker made of the famous Hat Creek Cattle Company sign, and said.
“I guess this will teach me to be careful about what I promise in the future”.
Woodrow had made a promise and he kept it.
At Great Plains, we have a promise that we’ve made to our customers. It is something that we take very seriously and is a part of everything that we do. Our Brand Promise is that Great Plains Kubota is “The Brand That Works…For You”. Here’s how we try to keep that promise.
– Sales –
We’ll work hard to earn every customer’s trust.
– Service –
If it’s not right, it’s on us.
– Parts –
Our goal is to have the parts our customers need when they need them.
– Rentals –
Our equipment will be ready to work.
There’s a reason behind why we make promises, and work to keep them. It’s so that we can be trusted.
At Great Plains we strive to keep our promises so that you will trust us with your business. Unfortunately, we are Human. We do make mistakes at times, and consequently loose customer’s trust. Even though we always work to correct our mistakes, damage is done when trust is lost.
Although people, businesses, and even the best of the cowboys will fail you at times with broken promises, there is One you can always trust.
In Psalms 31:14, David said: “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands;”
If you haven’t, I would encourage you to place your trust in the One who always keeps His promises.
This article was written by Bill Clark in the Summer 2016 issue of Great Plains living
. To read more about Great Plains living visit www.greatplainsliving.com
As a young boy, all I ever wanted to be was a cowboy. When I was about seven years old, I got a $2 black felt cowboy hat that I loved and wore a lot, probably too much. When the day came for second grade school pictures, I remember my mother telling me not to wear the hat in my school pictures. The details aren’t important, but I can tell you that the day I came home with the pictures, I was in big trouble. I may not have achieved my boyhood dream of being a cowboy who rides the range, but I have been blessed with the opportunity to live on a ranch and have a few cows.
There are so many things I enjoy about ranching that I couldn’t begin to list them all, but I can sum it up by saying, I am continually amazed at God’s creation and I’m blessed to be able to work with the land and livestock with which He has entrusted my family. But, like so many things in life, being a modern day cowboy is not pleasant all the time. There are jobs on the ranch that aren’t always enjoyable. A few come to mind: pulling a calf in February in a freezing rain, digging post holes in rocky ground in August, fixing fence that bulls have torn down for the third time in a week, etc. Just like cowboys of the past, you sometimes “do what has to be done” even though it’s not always pleasant. Most occupations have at least some duties that could be classified as things that we don’t look forward to but must be done in order to succeed.
As a tractor dealer, one of my “do what has to be done” jobs is listening to customers who have received less than satisfactory service from Great Plains. Sometimes it’s not very pleasant, but hearing how we have let our customers down is not only necessary, but actually welcomed. We have gone as far as employing a third party company to randomly survey our customers to find out where we have failed. We are actually paying someone to ask our customers to criticize us! We get the results of these surveys by email, and I sometimes dread opening them because I really don’t enjoy dealing with criticism. But I know this process is the fastest way we can learn where we need to improve our service, so I have learned to at least tolerate the experience. I liken it to taking medicine: It may not taste very good, but it’s worth it if it makes you better. Aristotle said: “There is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing”. So I guess no criticism would be a much worse alternative!
Proverbs 14:23 says: “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” What is your “do what has to be done” job? I would encourage you to work on the things that you have left undone, and hopefully you will find, as I have, that there are benefits to completing those less than desirable tasks. After all, the only thing worse than doing what has to be done is… doing nothing.
BY BILL CLARK
FROM THE 2015 ISSUE OF GREAT PLAINS LIVING
The cowboy’s will to survive is legendary. The diligent cowboy of the open range herded cattle and wrangled horses with a sense of determination. Their moral code of self preservation kept them alive in harsh elements that most would succumb to in our modern society. Today, the legend of the cowboy lives in the hearts of those who keep these values as a way of living. Being a cowboy is something that comes from inside us, perhaps even from birth.
When Daric Roberts was born he came out the chute ready to “Cowboy Up. Before his first birthday Daric would undergo four heart surgeries. He wrangled the first two when he was only a month old. Daric rode out the third surgery at six months when doctors discovered he had coarctation of the aorta, which at the time no child had lived out of utero with this condition! During this surgery his vocal chords were damaged while his carotid artery was being repaired. He went under the knife one more time before turning a year old, and again on May 27th, 2014. Over the years Daric has been diagnosed with: tetralogy of flow, coarctation of the aorta, pulmonary stenosis, Noonan syndrome, West Nile, and viral meningitis, but like the cowboys he’s always admired he fought hard through each struggle and persevered.
The anatomical abnormalities of the heart that Daric has herded over the past 19 years haven’t deterred him from his goals, and if anything they’ve inspired him to cowboy up even more. Tetralogy of flow is a congenital heart defect, while coarctation of the aorta is the aortic narrowing. Pulmonary stenosis is a dynamic or fixed obstruction of flow from the ventricle of the heart to the pulmonary artery. This condition was known by his doctors early on and eventually led to his surgery this past May. At 13 Daric began taking growth hormones to speed up the inevitable pulmonic surgery he had last month. It was at this time that doctors discovered he had Noonan syndrome. Noonan syndrome are physical features that are typically associated with the effects of congenital heart defects. During the summer of 2012 Daric contracted West Nile and viral meningitis, and although it wasn’t related to his heart defects the viruses did take a toll on the cowboy’s heart.
Like most kids growing up in southern Okla. Daric was no stranger to livestock, such as cattle and horses. Around six years of age Daric fell in love with the movie 8 Seconds. Most kids at this age were watching cartoons and playing G.I. Joes while Daric was roping relatives with any material that would tie a knot. Cowboys and rodeo stars like Layne Frost would eventually become his inspiration to follow his goals of working with horses. Daric recently graduated from Lindsey High School. For three years he showed pigs with the Garvin County Junior Livestock 4H where charitable donations from companies like Great Plains helped support his extracurricular activity. Furthering his dreams to work on a ranch with horses, Daric studied equine science at the Mid-America Technology Center in Wayne, Okla. Daric’s most recent heart surgery was a huge success. He’s still in recovery, but the rate at which he’s doing so has astonished everyone. Before the surgery he wasn’t worried because he knew it had to be done. In fact, he was more worried about loosing the 12 hairs that were shaved from his chest during preparations than the actual procedure. Now that he’s graduated and successfully completed his fifth heart surgery the open range awaits.
Daric is a fun loving young man who has a deep family bond and will hardly be caught indoors. As an outdoorsman he loves to hunt and fish. This love eventually lead him to join a non-profit organization for people with disabilities called the Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach, or Triple O. Daric has enjoyed many hunts with the Triple O, including one where he harvested a large mature buck in Michigan, but his favorite hunt is the youth turkey hunt the group hosts every spring. This great group of volunteers has connect him and his family with others, while sharing the joy of the outdoors. Daric’s mom Kalaugha Sorrels commented on their involvement.
“The Triple O has touched our family. It’s allowed Daric to meet and befriend others that have struggled with health issues. This interaction has impacted both the lives of Daric and the people he’s met along the way. The Triple O is a huge confidence builder. The volunteers allow opportunities for the members to experience that would never be possible,” said Sorrels.
A week before his last surgery Daric met with a couple of his cowboy favorites, Cord and Jet McCoy at a commercial shoot for the new Great Plains Edmond. Here the three enjoyed small talk, and discussed when Daric might hop on one of Cord’s bulls.
Being a cowboy can mean many different things. It’s a profession, a way of life, or for some a way to dress. For Daric Roberts it starts in his heart, a heart that beats to a rhythm of the not so distant past where honest hard working men of the open range never gave up. Perhaps a cowboy’s heart is the key to survival and the inspiration to do what’s right in life?
From the Spring 2014 issue of Great Plains living. For more information about this publication visit: