Mad Jack Hanks: Not every cowboy turns out to be worthy of his boots
“Not all cowboys are cowboys” is, I think, a fairly accurate statement.
I have friends and know other folks around the area and from my past that would consider themselves to be “cowboys”. They aren’t now and were not back then.
I can tell you, gentle readers, that the only person that can hang the title of “cowboy” on you is a bunch of “cowboys”. Most folks that have never spent any time on a big outfit where it takes a man or woman with those special “cowboy skills” just can’t appreciate all that is required to be a cowboy.
I hired a feller part time to help out on the ranch. Why, my goodness, he had his own spurs!
Turns out he couldn’t even saddle a horse, much less ride one. For the short time he was there, he rode a tractor.
Another mistake I made was hiring a neighbor’s boy just home from a number of years in the military. He had done some cattle work, according to him, in years past and could do whatever was required of him there on the ranch.
Well, by golly, he couldn’t.
He had all the appropriate gear, including a young horse he brought with him. By week’s end he discovered that he was in way over his head. He didn’t know how to rope. He found out real quick he couldn’t “ram and jam” the company horses or cattle. He hung around for a few more weeks and decided to move on before I had to let him go.
Both of the above mentioned fellers looked like they could sure be a cowboy but that depended on who was going to hang that title on them. I know there are ranches that do not allow any horses on them. All the cattle work is done on foot or all terrain vehicles.
No “cowboy” is going to ride a four wheeler to work cattle and call himself a “cowboy”. Most big outfit cowboys are required to be able to ride “snotty horses” on occasion. They must be able to shoe their ponies, rope wild cattle by themselves on occasion and get along with the rest of the crew. They might spend weeks living out of a teepee or just sleeping on the ground while the spring and fall works are going on.
I fully appreciate those guys that want to look like and do their best to act like cowboys because they respect the occupation. I have worked with some really good hands and always wanted to be a skilled as they were on the job. I excelled in some areas and came up short in others. I always seemed to get along with young horses.I wasn’t much of a roper but have roped and doctored my share of cattle on the open range by myself.
There is a country song that says, “don’t call him a cowboy till ya see him ride”. Even then you may be getting a pig in a poke and it won’t be a “cowpoke”.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, take care of your kids, your dogs and of course your ponies and be kind to your neighbors.
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.❖
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