Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

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October 28, 2013
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Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 10-28-13

Through some of the trade journals and magazines at my didposal, I try and keep up with whats going on in the West or anywhere for that matter, where cattle ranches are operating.

More and more celebrities and corporations are buying up the large land masses across the West where ranches have been established. It has been going on for many, many years.

In some ways it’s a good deal and in other ways not so much. I call the O-NO a ranch but as I have tried to explain before it is a “cartoon” ranch. By that I mean it is my inspiration for my cartoon panel and calendars. I only have 84 acres (have leased larger parcels in the past to go with it) and yes, I keep some ponies here and run some steers here in the grazing months. This is not a real ranch. I have managed ranches in scale from 4,850 acres to over 30,000 acres.

The folks that owned the smaller ranches for the most were ranch people. The folks that owned the 30,000 acres were “Dairy Queen Dudes.” They were just playing “rancher” to impress their peers and because they could. They obviously had deep pockets. Gentle readers these folks that sometime play cowboy, ie Ted Turner, at least keep their ranches from development and they pay their employees generally very well. A cowboy that works for a smaller family owned outfit today might expect to make 1,500 to 2,000 a month and he or she would get a house, half a beef, some insurance (don’t know now with Obamacare) and a vehicle to use for ranch business. The play like ranchers might pay a cowboy $3,000 to $4,000 a month including all the mentioned above with a few weeks vacation. Most ranches will provide employees with a couple of weeks vacation after the “payday” (shipping of calf crop).

I have managed ranches and worked for small outfits and big big ones. I got fired from one of the bigger ones “Dairy Queen Dudes” because they wanted to “own me.” As I told them, “I have only one master,” as I pointed towards heaven. “We don’t like you and we know you don’t like us,” was the last word I heard from them. Take that back. “You’re fired!” those were the last words. My, my what a relief it was to know it was over and I could get away from such self centered and shallow folks.

A ranch is a wonderful place for a family to be that really wants to be there. A perfect place to raise your kids and to watch them compete in the real world. As long as there is an operating ranch out there somewhere there will be some good folks on it doing whatever it takes to keep it running. I have worked for the rich and famous and they treated me like family and took extremely good care of me and my family’s needs.

I have met others like “the Polo” clothing magnet from New York as he had a large ranch close to one of the ones I managed. Nice man. Let his employees do their job and treated them with a great deal of respect. He even came into the cafe and sat down and had coffee with me and I barely knew him. It’s easy to see how he came to his success.

So there you have it. As long as there are ranches there will be cows and of course there will be cowboys a’horseback doing what cowboys do. The mechanics of ranching change over time just as most all businesses do, but the fundamentals remain.

I don’t want to leave you with the thought that all large operations are owned by folks just playing “cowboy.”They might spend more time in their jets than they do on their ranches but the icing on the cake is the ranches are operating and the West is still alive. LOL (long live cowboys).

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember that freedom is not free and I’ll c y’all, all y’all. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 24, 2013 03:08PM Published Nov 12, 2013 04:26PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.