‘O, give me a home … ‘

Cowboy Bruce talks about a cattle drive in the Old West.

Sometimes working at a newspaper isn’t work at all. Like when we cover something at Atmore Public Library – one of my favorite places in town.

The summer reading program is under way at the library. The first week, Don covered the poodle show. Last week, Friday the 9th, I went to get pictures of the Wild West Show. And I’m sure glad I took that assignment for myself.

I’m a fan of Westerns – the older the better. I remember watching the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers. Remember? Have Gun – Will Travel. Gunsmoke. Later, Bonanza and the Virginian – both still in reruns. Proving that the good guys do win and, in the case of cowboy heroes, are ageless.

When we got our first television, Granddaddy turned it on and there was a cowboy on his horse galloping across the plain. I guess that started it all. But then I grew up and forgot about Westerns – until the Rev. Jim Reece was the pastor at First United Methodist Church. He loves Westerns too and often mentioned them. That got me started thinking about the old shows. Then I found Saddle Up Saturday (now expanded to Saddle Up Weekends) on the Inspiration channel.

There are other channels, but I won’t go into that much detail here.

So, on that Friday when I was at the library, I knew it would be a wild west show, but wasn’t sure what to expect. I was delighted to find Cowboy Bruce Brannen and Cowgirl Vernie Brannen talking about the old West, cracking a bullwhip, and even organizing a cattle drive.

The show started with a cowboy story about catching the Reading Bug – certainly appropriate for this group. Bruce demonstrated the use of a bullwhip, and Vernie even held an object in her mouth that Bruce cut with the whip. He talked about cattle drives and, with volunteers from the audience, formed a drive with cows, cowboys and even a cook. They paraded around the room to the tune of “Rawhide.” Remember that one?

At the end of the show, everyone joined in singing “Home on the Range.” Well, not everyone joined in. I’m pretty sure the kids didn’t have a clue about that song, but the grown-ups in the room did. And we all sang.

The Brannens
The Brannens operate under the name 2B Wild West Show. From their website:
“Cowboy Bruce Brannen, as a page out of history, invites audiences to take a trip back in time to the early years of America’s Western Expansion. Through stories, poems and demonstrations of the ‘almost’ extinct cowboy arts, Cowboy Bruce brings to life the days of the big western cattle drives.”
They’re available for rodeos, parties, special events, conventions, fairs, festivals, church groups, schools and libraries. Bruce is also an artist.
Their website is The Brannens live in Pike Road, Alabama.

Cowgirl Vernie and Cowboy Bruce lead in singing “Home on the Range.”


Cattle, cowboys and the cook head out on the drive.