Mad Jack Hanks: Tales from the O-NO Ranch 1-29-11
Let me background this story with a few facts. This took place on the historic LX Ranch north of Amarillo, Texas, in 1973. I had my first opportunity to work on a large, historic cow-calf and steer ranch and I was green as grass. Jim was a seasoned experienced tough-as-nails and hard-headed cowboy. Dale was greener than me and not much of a hand doing anything at all. Cecil was the ranch operator as he had the ranch leased and he had a reputation for being unreasonable and extremely difficult to work for at times. This particular day was one of those times. There were two other employees but I will not mention them as they didn’t fit into my story.
Jim and Dale had penned an outlaw steer and were in the process of getting him loaded to take to town. This particular steer was wilder than a Wyoming wildcat in a windstorm. I helped them load the steer into an open-top stock trailer. As they were preparing to head to town I offered, “Don’t you guys think you should tie that idiot up in there so he can’t jump out?”
Jim scoffed at the idea and replied, “We’ll be goin’ so fast he won’t even get his feet under him before we hit the stockyards!”
It was 18 miles to the stockyards and six of that on a sandy rough road. I went back to mowing weeds around the headquarters as Cecil had my day laid out for me. Cecil and I didn’t really get along as I usually “buck up” a little when folks start screamin’ at me. Ole Cecil came by to check on me and decided that he would just climb up on the tree point hitch and lean over my shoulder and scream mowin’ directions at me for a while.
He had just come from town and was sporting a new panama straw hat that must have put him back at least 20 bucks. Gentle readers, that was a lot of dough back then for a straw hat. After 15 or 20 minutes of Cecil holdin’ onto my shoulders and screamin’ in my ear I noticed a low hangin’ cottonwood limb. Cecil was lookin’ back when I ran him under the limb and knocked his hat off. The bush hog made confetti out of that new sombrero. Of course I denied seeing the limb after Cecil ranted and raved at me for 10 minutes.
He left and was back in about 15 minutes. He was ranting and raving that he needed me to take the tractor as it had a bucket on the front and follow him up the road. It appeared that that idiot steer had indeed tried to jump out of the trailer and had his back legs hung up in the side boards of the trailer. He was hangin’ there like the renegade he was with two broken legs.
Cecil shot the steer and I lifted him up with the bucket enough to get him back in the trailer. Cecil lost a new hat and the benefit and pleasure of selling a renegade, trouble makin’, outlaw steer. Cecil drove away like a mad man after cussin’ all of us out. After Cecil drove off, we opined how we had made Cecil’s day. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer feller.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c ya’ll, all ya’ll.