Friday, October 29, 2010

Cowboys on Film

One of our marketing cooperative’s biggest customers, Whole Foods, wanted to show their customers that there are, in fact, real ranching families behind the Country Natural Beef label, not some corporate behemoth. We were asked to host a film crew for a day to video us working cattle and talking about our ranching philosophy. I very hesitatingly said “yes” to the proposal.  What would we have to offer them?  Surely there were more scenic sites within our cooperative, with people more eloquent than us to feature on a video!  But as I am learning to do these past few years, I took a big gulp and said okay.

Kate works for Whole Foods in the Durham, North Carolina area.  She is originally from Mississippi.  They flew her clear to Idaho to video our ranch. The film crew came out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

Mark had to throw the saddle on my horse “Mater” twice to get the shot right.  When “Sly” stopped leading nicely to eat on a willow tree, that shot had to be retaken.  We stopped and started, waiting for the crew to re-group, time and again.  I was quickly learning to appreciate all the angles and vantages that are filmed and spliced together to make a movie.  

We moved the bulls from one pasture to the next, and as they went through the gate, they bucked and played, fought and ran.  As we loped around them, I knew this wasn’t the picture of low-stress cattle herding I had hoped to show on the video.  Finally the cattle relaxed and went about grazing.  As the crew interviewed Mark with the bulls in the background, I kept the animals within the view of the camera, tucking in this side then that.

We visited grandma Bonnie at ranch headquarters.  They interviewed her and even stopped for coffee time around her kitchen table, a ritual here on the Pratt ranch.  We shared barbequed beef sandwiches for lunch and worked ‘til nearly dark.  Kate got to ride Mater, and everyone seemed pleased with the way the footage came together. 

Jesse, the audio portion of the crew, really got interested as he heard us explain the art of conservation ranching.  He admitted to never eating meat, but our story of sustainability melded perfectly with his personal philosophy.  He was totally surprised to find we had so much in common.  He said he was going back home and tell folks to eat our meat!

The next morning Mark said we needed to move some cow/calf pairs to a new field.  “What,” I replied, “with no film crew?”         

1 comment:

  1. What a special opportunity, not only to share your love of the land and animals, but to educate others too. Congratulations.