Hallettsville man shares ranching tradition with sons (w/video)
The stillness of the morning in La Ward was broken as Cody Leopold and his crew entered the pasture on horseback, 125 head of cattle with their 90 calves trotting ahead of them. The rumble of their hooves became trumped by the low hum of their unison moos.
With riding skill, teamwork and the help of a few well-trained dogs, the group led the animals into a fenced area to be sorted. The scene was one that could have been seen generations ago and has certainly changed very little since Leopold, 36, became a professional cowboy 16 years ago.
"Most of it's still the same as how they used to do it a long time ago," he said, a traditional black cowboy hat shielding his eyes from the Texas sun.
The Hallettsville resident learned the trade by accompanying "elders around the area" on their jobs.
The next generation of cowboys, however, is being trained much younger than Leopold.
As the men vaccinated and dewormed the cows and castrated and implanted the calves for the owner's spring cattle working, Leopold's two sons - Wyatt, 8, and Lane, 6 - struck a balance between helping work and playing with the cattle.
"It's a good way to keep an eye on them, keep them out of trouble," Leopold said of the boys, who have been accompanying him since they were about 3. "And they enjoy going."
Leopold isn't sure whether the two will one day follow in his bootsteps, but they will have grown up as he pursues his dream of owning and working more of his cattle and horses.
"It's their choice, but it seems like they're doing a good job now," he said. "If that's what they decide to do, that's great."