Back in 1969, the Watt family bought a ranch just north of Kamloops, BC along the North Thompson River in Barriere. The story goes, that the ranch was 91 miles south of Blue River by rail. The brand itself is actually described as an inverted J and a 1, for 91.
Brands are part of the rich history and tradition of ranching. Ranchers use a brand to mark their livestock to easily identify them out on range, or if they are lost, or even stolen.
Hot brands and electric brands, are typically made from steel, while freeze brands are usually made from brass or copper. When a freeze brand is applied, it will actually change the color of the animal’s hair to white. If it’s a white or grey horse, it may be more of a dark grey. You will more often see freeze brands on horses.
Figuring out how to decipher and understand a brand is an artform in itself. Brand offices and inspectors understand the language of ‘lazy’, ‘hanging’, ‘flying’, ‘running’ and are the officials when it comes to deciphering a brand.
When we branded our calves in early spring we would test the heat of the brand on a nearby fence board. This board is now the center board on our dining table.
91 Brand – Watt Ranch
Brian and I no longer have the home ranch. We live happily together on our beautiful property east of Kamloops with our horses, and dogs. We continue to hold the registration on the 91 brand. You just never know when things might change and you need your brand again!
We have a small hot iron brand that was made by a local farrier/blacksmith that we’ve used to brand some of our work. Early in 2023, we discovered CustomBrandShop.com and ordered our own custom 91 brand. It’s super handy! It attaches to a soldering iron so that we can easily and precisely mark our barnwood and leather products with our 91 brand.