Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Keeping It Simple - So You Want To Be A Cowboy

By Terry McGahey

This weeks article will be off of my normal beaten path.

I want to share a story with you that happened while I was working one of the cattle outfits back in the day.

Its a story about one man's all around bad luck as he truly thought he wanted to become a cowboy. Sometimes truth is more funny than fiction.

My partner who was running the outfit and myself hauled a load of steers to the sale barn in Wilcox, Arizona. Once we kicked the steers into the holding pens and was paid for the load, we decided to go have a couple of beers at one of the local Wilcox taverns.

As we pulled up and parked, we spotted this fellow standing along side of a new Chevrolet pickup truck with a horse trailer in tow.

As we headed across the parking lot to the tavern he caught up with us and asked if we could use and extra hand, so we invited him to come in and have a beer with us.

As we sat drinking a beer we asked this fellow what experience he had, too which he replied, "None, I am an accountant by trade but I always wanted to be a cowboy and I don't want to be paid if it don't work out."

My partner looked at me and asked what I thought, I told him we had nothing to loose by giving him a chance. So with that, we finished another beer and told him to follow us out to the ranch.

I think he was a bit surprised that it was about fifty miles of dirt road out to the outfit, and when we pulled up we noticed him looking around and he made the statement that the place was a little crude.

The first mistake he made was he had a red healer dog in the truck that we hadn't noticed, and when he let the dog out a fight had immediately ensued with a few of the ranch dogs.

He jumped in the middle trying to break it up before we could call the dogs off, and he ended up being bit two or three times.

We showed him where he would bunk down and where the tack room was so he could put his wood (saddle) on a stand as well as the rest of his gear, then showed him where he could put his horse.

We then told him we would take it easy the rest of that day, and he asked if we minded if he drove around the outfit some to acquaint himself with the layout.

About two hours had gone by and there was no sign of this fellow, so we decided to go look for him.

Just as we were walking out to the truck, we spotted him walking up the driveway. He told us that he had drove down to a set of pens and got stuck.

No surprise since he only had a two wheel drive truck, and it had rained for a few days previous.

When we reached the holding pens, we thought he was going to cry, the cows had been chewing the rubber on the truck bumpers and had pulled the rubber clear out of the drivers side window.

We pulled him out and when we got back to the ranch he said his insurance would cover it, but he was not a happy camper.

The following morning we woke him up at four thirty to be ready for breakfast, and he came staggering in looking like he hadn't slept much at all.

After breakfast we saddled up because we needed to move the cattle from one pasture to another, it was time to do so because they had been in the one pasture for thirty days and that was the lease deal with the BLM.

We had to ride up over a hill full of shale to get to the cattle and once near the top, this fellow's horse stepped into a small hole then slipped on all that shale and went down on his side with the rider.

Thank God that fellow and his horse were both OK, but he was upset because during the fall his brand new saddle and chaps got scuffed up pretty good.

Taking a closer look at his horse, we noticed that it had been shod long in the toe and short on the heal which didn't help matters, but more important we told him it needed to be fixed because in time that situation will cause the horse to have a tendon problem.

We finished moving the cattle to the other pasture then rode on back to the house. Once there this fellow began loading up his horse and all of his gear.

We asked him what he was doing and he replied, "I always thought I wanted to be a cowboy, but now I know better. I am going back to doing what I know best. I thank you guys for being willing to give me a chance, but this isn't for me."

That was the last time either one of us had ever seen that fellow.

My last sight of him was driving away in the middle of a dust cloud. I looked over to my partner and said, "I will always think of him as 'Hard Luck Henry'!"

And with that, we both began to laugh.
 


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