Hanks: The last cowboy
Many years ago I was participating in The Durango, Colo., cowboy poetry gathering. It was their very first and I was requested to help organize it and hopefully make it a success. As it turns out it was very successful and helped me pick up on a new trail in my life.
On the Saturday night session there was this old cowboy from Arizona (if I remember correctly) who did a poem about the last campfire going out. The cowboy was going with it. This feller was in his 70s, and me being 49, he sure “nuff” was a relic.
And from this feller’s prospective from all he had seen in the way of changes in the cattle business and handling of cattle, it might have appeared to him the last campfire had just gone out.
The last cowboy was no where in sight. No ma’am! The crowd was full of cowboys and danged if there wasn’t even a few appearing on stage that evening.
They came from all over the country to either be a witness or a participant. As I look back on that event, and the many more I went to after that, I began to see a lot of changes.
It got to where there was an enormous amount of talent that began to show up at these gatherings. There was music like you wouldn’t believe and folks spewing out rhyme and meter in such a way I was more than impressed.
Of course, there were those that “I am a poet and didn’t know it” bunch that sort of filled in the vacant spots.
The gatherings became a place for folks that had talent to pretend to be “the real deal.” Trust me when I say a cowboy knows another cowboy when he sees him. We cannot be fooled.
I suppose as long as the crowd was entertained all was okay. I quit going many years ago as I began to just feel out of place around so many folks that most likely couldn’t saddle a horse if you held a gun to their head.
With drones, computers, iPads, etc., how long will the cowboy last? As long as there are cows? One would hope so.
Now, you might send out the dogs to bring in the cows or you might send out a drone or two. The cattle business is now a very sophisticated and high-tech business. You can buy cattle off the internet. There are so many different aspects of the business any more that it is a lot more than a two-way Blackleg vaccination and a vitamen A shot.
Heck, you can select the sex of your calves and the color. Cattle might gain over 4 pounds a day where 2 1/2 was considered adequate. How many more years before that crew of cowboys are not needed to ride out single file and do a day’s work from the back of a horse?
Will there be a group of robots that can go anywhere and do whatever a cowboy used to do and do it more effectively without complications? Scares me just thinking about it. Somewhere there will be that rancher that keeps a good cowboy or two around (if he can find them) to do things the “old-fashioned way.”
God I hope I’m gone by then and when some kid asks “what’s a cowboy?” Hell should freeze over!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember that YOUR family is the glue to the fabric of our society, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.❖
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