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TALES FROM THE ONO RANCH

First Impressions

Gentle readers, you had those times when something that you had seen or heard really impressed you. I was impressed by the cowboys that I came in contact with in those early years of wanting to be who they were. Who I thought they were. I began to buy the types of shirts, boots, hats, chaps, ropes and a saddle like theirs if I could afford those items at the time.

Of course, what I found out was that those folks were not always on the same page as their buddies and so that meant that I had to pick out the guys I felt like were the “real cowboys” and try my best to be a good and decent clone of them. Charlie was the handsome free wheeling, tough as nails cowboy that everyone seemed to like. His dad was an order buyer and bought lots of cattle at the auction.

Charlie, actually was a fireman and “cowboyed” in his spare time. I liked him a lot as he went out of his way to help me understand what I might be getting myself into. Almost everyone who I knew that “cowboyed” told me…”there are no good ranch jobs. Don’t put yourself out there. Keep your job with Proctor and Gamble and “cowboy” when you feel the need or want to.” That wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be the genuine article that lived on the ranch and have my family there with me. I was actually being selfish as I did have a decent job with Proctor and Gamble with really good benefits and a good salary. A ranch hand in 1973 made between $300 and $500 a month depending on what was furnished for him and if he had his own horses, etc. I was making almost twice that with P&G but I hated that job and I hated the fact that I had to wear a suit, tie and be on the road most of the time. I did find a ranch job and the boys hadn’t lied to me. It wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it to be with a little “shotgun” house, working from daylight to dark most of the time and no benefits at all. The rest of that story was that I really applied myself to being a different kind of cowboy. One that was always on time, always did what I was asked and did it with a good attitude and LIKED it. Within a year and a half I had one of the best jobs I had ever hoped for managing a large cow/calf, steer operation with eight employees. My first impression of that ranch when we went to interview was “WOW! AM I GONNA BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS?“ My youth, energy and self confidence said “you betcha.” This was what I and my family had sacrificed a lot for and here we were.



Back to the Amarillo connection, we were working cattle one summer eve, processing them through a chute, giving shots, and branding, etc., and one of the reckless, careless “wanna be a cowboy” jumps on his horse and rides to a windmill 50 yards away to get a drink of water. I heard him hollering, and jumping around. The next thing we knew here he came at a full gallop all the while whipping his horse with a diamondback rattler he had killed at the windmill. Of course, he wanted to impress the rest of us and he did. “WHAT AN IDIOT.”

I knew there were hombres out there like that that were always doing something outlandish to impress those around them. I did my best to always try and avoid those guys as they could get you hurt in a heartbeat, but they NEVER EVER seemed to get injured.



My first impressions of this next year coming up are that it might be worse than the present one that is horrible. Hope not.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, please don’t take up any rattlesnakes for any reason and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


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