Round Up

Collaboration with Brit Hansen. 2013

My family helped settle Joseph City, Arizona in 1876 and have been cattle ranchers and farmers since. Joseph City was a booming town when route 66 ran through the middle of town. But now it’s like many other Route 66 towns, just another tiny town off Interstate 40. Twice a year, our family moves the cattle from one side of the I-40 to the other, vaccinate, brand, and separate the calves from their mothers. The largest round up is done every year the two days following Thanksgiving.  

We have tried photographing the round up for years and now as the end of this family tradition seems to be approaching, we felt the urgency to document it. Mike’s Grandfather Eugene and Great Uncle Floyd own and run the ranch together with help from Gale, Mike’s father. For the roundup, local cowboys volunteer their time because they are just happy to be out on their horses chasing cattle.  Eugene and Floyd can no longer ride horses, but the ranch is their life and they appreciate all the help they receive every year.

This past year, like every one before it, all the cowboys got out before dawn the day after Thanksgiving to round up the horses and get ready to ride for miles.  Unfortunately Joseph City experienced thick fog that lingered all day. The fog was so thick that they could not find the cattle and cowboys who had ridden that land for years were getting lost in the fog.  After half a day of riding, they called it quits and for the first time had to reschedule.  The black and white images are the result of what I photographed on horseback on that foggy day.  

Two weeks later everyone got together to do it again and it was amazing.  Brit photographed the cowboys getting ready while I photographed all the action while also working to round up the cattle.