John Branch is a San Francisco-based sports reporter for The New York Times and the author of "Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard." A reporter without a beat, Branch writes about a little bit of everything, from the Olympics (many times) to dog-grooming contests (once). He believes the quest is to write stories that surprise readers, usually nibbling in the shadows of the sports world. Branch received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for "Snow Fall," a story about a deadly avalanche in Washington, and was a finalist for the prize the year before for a series about hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard, the subject of his first book, released in 2014. Raised in Golden, Colorado, a one-time manager for Costco, Branch received a master's degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1996. He worked for The Gazette in Colorado Springs for several years, then became the sports columnist at the Fresno Bee before being hired by The New York Times in 2005. His new book is "The Last Cowboys."