'When Beef Was Wild' Sculpture by Steve Miller

Item# M-37251


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'When Beef Was Wild' sculpture by Steve Miller and Montana Silversmiths. 12.5" long x 8" wide x 11" tall.

Click image to enlarge. Read more about Steve Miller.

Steve Miller, Sculptor
This might be one of my favorite pieces, as I have been close to this situation a time or two in the branding pen. I was helping the Fletchers brand on their Otter Creek Ranch, in southeast Montana, an annual getaway I look forward to each year. I was trying my best to make small talk with one of the old hands there about how easy it was to work cows today, compared to the first cranky cattle brought into the country.

Branding today is hard work; don’t get me wrong, but its fun, with good friends and the best food you will ever eat. After a minute or two he spit tobacco between his boots and said flatly, almost to himself,“When beef was wild.”

Cowboys -- ornery, stubborn, cantankerous, and mischievous, all at the same time working half wild long horn cattle made for some very interesting situations. A good cowboy with a good cow pony for a partner can put about any size calf on the ground for docking, or doctoring even on the open prairie.

I chuckled as I drew the original sketches for this piece, the old cow circling tighter and tighter, blowin’ snot and working herself into frenzy. The cowboy answers with his own hollerin’ and cussin’, neither willing to give an inch, of course. In the end no amount of talking or swearing will persuade her patience, and the old hostile calls his hand.

I think this is a predicament the cowboy would have found humor in once the dust had settled, and all his parts still worked. I think the story would have gotten back to camp already embellished and filled with hair raising danger and near loss of life. But then that is the cowboy way and the reason we all love cowboys, and the life they lived.

— Each original sculpture - like the When Beef Was Wild sculpture - is composed using Montana Silversmiths proprietary process, "Montana Bronze", using blends of fine resins with the addition of pure pewter and bronze. The beautiful finish is the result of hand-applied patinas and metallic paint, carefully matched to accent all of the subtle detail of the artwork.

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