Bruce Laird's attitude toward a cowboy's life is simple. He wants to learn, “What makes this cow tick?” “What approach can I use so this horse knows we can do our job together and enjoy it?”
Bruce always surveys the situation to determine cause and effect. He can see ahead for the shot that will cause him to come cleanly out of the rodear. He sees how the terrain can be used to advantage to gather a herd of spoiled cattle. He can set up the branding pen so it flows. He can work efficiently to get the job done safely. Friends have counted on Bruce for 50 plus years to be by their side in the sorting alley, the branding pen, the round pen, the rodeo arena, and in rough or tame country. They appreciate his ability with horses and cattle as much as they appreciate the camaraderie they share. He may be on a colt with three rides or on a spoiled horse that's scared of a rope, but if cattle need roped and doctored he knows how to adjust to get the job done and how to do it with a smile.
Rodeo has influenced Bruce's philosophy as well. He went to Nationals in the NHSRA bull riding and bareback riding, just missed the NIRA finals, and rode tough in the RCA. If he hadn't fallen in love with a little brown-haired gal, he probably would have gone to the NFR.
Shoeing countless horses and handling the rough ones also contribute to Bruce's experience, as well as training snaffle bit futurity and NCHA money-earning horses.
Cowboying for a specific ranch isn't his desire, but getting colts ready to be a handy and enjoyable partner for himself or others is. Seeing a colt develop his talent with a relationship that can only be called a “dance” between horse and rider is what draws Bruce. Add a cow to the mix, and Bruce can't stop smiling. It's a joy to see the child-like joy in his face.
Bruce has demonstrated horse and cow handling techniques at numerous expos and clinics. The announcer at one of the horse expos really got excited watching Bruce rope and tie down a steer on a colt that had never done it. The fellow shouted out, “Now that's a COWMAN!” which was pretty funny considering it was a horse demonstration.
But that's the thing about Bruce Laird. He studies both the horse and the cow. It goes back to it being a lifestyle. It's never been about money or fame. It's about the freedom to be close to the land and the nature of horses and cattle. It's about learning who God created you and your horse to be and enjoying living it with good friends who feel the same.