Past President Spotlight: Gary Bruns

The Past President Spotlight is a column we feature in our bi-monthly publication, the Brangus Journal. We hope you learn from these great leaders who have extensive experience and expertise in their respective fields.

Gary Bruns
IBBA President 1994-1996

ImageIn his many years of involvement with the Brangus breed, Gary Bruns has served the industry and the association in several capacities. His knowledge and expertise now make him one of the best marketers in the business at Advance Solutions Network.

Bruns initially gained valuable experience working with cattle growing up in Madison, S.D. Upon returning from Vietnam in 1970, Bruns worked for an Angus cattle operation in Ohio where he bought several Brangus bulls because of the breed’s ability to adapt to different climates.

“Brangus did well in the North even in the cold weather, and I saw firsthand how well Brangus perform,” Bruns said. “In Texas, Brangus handle the heat and humidity better as compared to other breeds from my experience.” 

In 1973, Bruns was employed as manager of Willow Springs Ranch of Burton, Texas, a premier Brangus operation. After six years with Willow Springs, Gary and his wife, Gwen, moved to Fort Stockton, Texas, where he was given a general manager position with Williams Brangus, owned by Clayton and Modesta Williams. When the operation moved to Floresville, Texas, in 1983, Gary and Gwen were made partners in the cattle ranch. Bruns’ years of involvement and experience in the industry have given him knowledge and insight about the Brangus breed.

“Brangus females are in high demand right now,” Bruns said, “and we have more demand than product for good quality bulls.” He adds, “It is important to improve disposition not just in Brangus, but in all breeds as well.

Bruns served his country as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, his industry as a seedstock producer, and the Brangus breed in numerous ways. Bruns is a longtime member of the Texas Brangus Breeders Association (TBBA) and a past President of the Hill Country Brangus Breeders Association (HCBBA). In 1992, the HCBBA honored Bruns with the Member of the Year award. He was also an elected member on the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) Board of Directors, serving as President from 1995-1996. Bruns was awarded the IBBA’s Breeder of the Year award at the 1993 Annual Convention in Houston for his dedication to the improvement of the breed. Bruns’ years of involvement and experience make him an accomplished, knowledgeable and respected leader in the beef industry and among seedstock producers.

From Kodi- “The Language of Moo”

This week we are introducing a new monthly series based on a book titled, “Letters from Kodi, The Little Cowdog With The Wiggly Butt”. The book is written by Brangus producer and IBBA member Phyllis Clem, through the eyes of Kodi, a miniature Australian Shepherd. Kodi attends all the Brangus events the Clems go to so you may have had the opportunity to meet her. She is very friendly, and since she has trouble holding her licker you may have been on the receiving end of a hand washing.

Hope you enjoy the first column of the series!

Phyllis and Kodi

Phyllis Clem and Kodi the cowdog

Hi Y’all,

My name’s Kodi, and I’m the head of security, best pal and traveling companion at the Clem Ranch here in East Texas. I am two years old and full of vim and vigor most of the time. My best bud is a 22-pound cat named Mr. P. He swears he is not fat, just very fluffy, but I think the vet’s scales tell a different story. I have a great life and it is said that I am a privileged pup. If that means that the world revolves around me, then I guess that is true.

Now that I am old enough, I get to help with the cows when they need moving from one place to another or need separating. To do these jobs well I have had to learn the language of “MOO”. Now to the untrained ear all moos may sound the same, but I have learned in my short life that is not true. Moos can have many different meanings such as, “Nice weather today isn’t it? This sure is good grass we are grazing on. Did you see that new bull? He is a hottie!”. When the moo is directed at a calf it can mean, “Time for dinner little one,” or “Stay put and take a nap while I graze over there”. But when the moo is meant for me, it usually means, “Little dog, if you get any closer to my back heels I’ll kick you into next week”. I pay them no mind though and go on with my job. I mean, I am a little cowdog with a wiggly butt, so I can’t be afraid of some ol’ cow with an attitude.

I have also learned that when working cows that have baby calves at their side, life can be a little hazardous if you know what I mean. The other day I had to help separate some mamas from their babies and you would have thought the world was coming to an end from all the bawling and bellowing. I tried in my own little way to tell them everything would be ok once the babies got their new ear tags, but they sure did not appreciate hearing anything from me. I guess that was because I was the one who split them up to begin with. And you know what? They mooed some things to me that, let’s just say I should not repeat. Finally, the task was completed, and everyone got back together. You would have thought those cows had not seen those babies in a month what with all the licking and mooing that took place. I know they love those little ones, but jeez they were only on the other side of the fence from each other. I was sure a pooped pup after all that, but that is life when you are a little cowdog.

On that particular day I decided to make a close check around the house when we got back from our cattle work. We had been gone for a couple of hours so who knows what could have invaded our territory. On my second run around the house I spotted something very strange under a bush. It was as big as a dinner plate with a very hard back. There was no head, no feet, no tail, just a hard shell. I decided to poke it with my paw to see if it would move, but nothing happened. I tried again and again, but still no movement, nothing. Then I thought I would bark at it and see what might happen. Now I have several barks and this particular one meant something was wrong. Well, the thing did not move, but the racket brought mama out of the house to see what was going on. She took one look and said,” Kodi, it’s just a big snapping turtle. Leave it alone.” I thought, “A turtle? What is that?”

She went back inside, but I got to thinking about something I saw on TV a few days before on the National Geographic Channel. There was this program about aliens and their flying saucers and this “turtle” looked kind of the same. Then mama came out and cleaned me up so I could go inside, and she took the “turtle “ down to the big pond north of the house. I wonder why she did that. Was that where the space ship was hidden? I am still not convinced it was a turtle and not some alien masquerading as one to throw us all off. The TV show said those things could transform themselves into all sorts of shapes so why not appear as a turtle. The whole incident was very strange.

Well, happy trails to ya. Be wary of things that are not what they seem to be; I’m just saying.

Your friend,

Kodi – The Little Cowdog With The Wiggly Butt

About the Author:

Phyllis and her husband, Garry, are long time, 40+ years, Brangus breeders who live in East Texas near Jacksonville. Their herd consists of doner and doner type females and they strive to produce the highest quality of cattle that they can. When they have free time they enjoy playing golf, watching professional bull riding, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
The book is available by contacting Phyllis at 903-726-3463 or The cost is $10 plus $2 for shipping and handeling.