Mad Jack Hanks: Tales from the O-NO Ranch 8-27-12
Double your trouble, double your fun. In this incident, gentle readers, I wasn’t able to double my fun. Double my trouble, yes! It happened this way.
Long ago and far away when I was learning the cowboy trade mostly by trial and error I had my hands full with two high headed, goofy heifers that really tested my skills as a cowboy and why I even wanted to be one. After all, I had just quit my job with Proctor and Gamble and gave up that nice salary, company car and other benefits that I didn’t now have working for myself as a contracted cowboy.
I was looking after 68 heifers on a four section pasture just north of our place at Amarillo, Texas. The pasture was rough with deep ravines, steep rocky hills and lots and lots of mesquite trees. We gathered these heifers on a real foggy morning for shipping and in the process missed two in the gather. For three days I had ridden this pasture looking for the missed heifers and on the fourth day I found them with the neighbor’s cows about a mile from the shipping pens.
Of course, I figured it might be a little difficult to cut the two of them away from the mother cows, get them through a gate in the middle of the fence not at the end and then pen them so I could load them in my trailer. Much to my surprise I was able to cut both heifers out of the herd and even get them through the gate without a lot of difficulty. I’m thinking now that I am a purty fair hand at this cowboy game. However, once the heifers went through the gate they took off in a dead run and I had to get the gate closed, remount and give chase in a timely manner.
When I got within shouting distance to them they, of all things, split up and went in different directions and I knew I had big problems then. I had left my truck halfway between where I found the heifers and the pens. I tried to drive one of the heifers to the pens and when I realized it just wasn’t to be I roped her on the first loop which was a miracle at best. I choked her down and yoked her to a big mesquite tree. I didn’t want her on her side on the ground as it was getting’ really hot and I thought she might die before I was able to come back and load her up. The other heifer had circled around and came back fairly close looking for her “roomie.”
Believe it or not I had her roped after a half mile chase through the thick mesquite. I was able to move her to my trailer and load her up without incident. Trust me she was ready to load. I put her up front, loaded my worn out pony and drove back to where I left the first heifer. Then I unloaded my horse, backed the trailer up as close to the beast as I could, but I got too close and hit that old mesquite and broke it loose where upon the heifer took off with it as best she could. Now I had to mount my horse, give chase and try to drive her back to the trailer. Now my steed was a little wary of that big bush bouncin’ along with that heifer, but I did manage to get her close to the trailer and roped her again and this time tied her down. I got the mesquite unyoked from her and she also was ready to be loaded without being too much of a problem.
What an ordeal all of that was. I will tell you this, that was an education in itself and I learned that I was more capable than I had first thought. I strutted for a few days until I had to rope something the next time and it took about six or seven loops!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c y’all, all y’all. ❖
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