Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy (revisited)

Uh huh, sure he did. I believe you.

By Julie Carter

I offer a caveat for the following story by saying "as it was told to me" simply because, while the source is quite reliable, the story itself is so wild your first instinct will be "that's a lie."

This is one of those "you gotta hear this one" stories.

Greg and Nancy headed out, stock trailer in tow, to get a neighbor's pink-eyed yearling (that's a young calf with a bacterial eye affliction that can eventually cause blindness) out of their pasture.

They didn't have a real plan of any kind but they also didn't take a horse. The calf was so blind they figured they could sneak up on him and "coax" him into the trailer.

The neighbor the critter belonged to didn't know how to rope and Greg was still nursing his $27,000 and counting shoulder surgery. So Nancy was the designated roper.

Her plan was a simple one. Just rope the calf and let the rope go. No problem.

She eased up on him and surprisingly, even to her, caught him with the first loop. He was blind enough he didn't go very far; at least until the young overly-enthusiastic neighbor ran to pick up the rope and spooked the calf.

The blind calf, now wearing Nancy's rope and towing the neighbor, ran off with the rest of the cows to the other end of the pasture. Reaching warp speed rather quickly, the neighbor finally had to turn loose of the rope.

The calf, still on the run, made a big circle through the cows. Running and stumbling, he was more afraid of the rope than anything else. It was a monster he couldn't see but knew it was following him.

The calf appeared to be headed home to his proper pasture but then he circled and headed back toward the cowboy crew standing at the trailer watching all this unfold.

Nancy made what at the time seemed like a smart-alecky comment, "Let's just open the trailer gate and maybe he'll load up on his own. He looks like he's heading right for it."

Still in joking mode, she moved to the end of the trailer and unlatched the trailer gate. The calf was still coming and at a pretty fast clip. She threw the gate back just in time for the calf to jump into the trailer.

They were all laughing very hard at that point. Nancy began claiming "Top Hand" honors when they realized someone probably ought to close the trailer gate.

That done, they were still in shock at the sight they had witnessed and were glad there were three of them to attest to it. Of course, then the discussion of where the credit was due began. Greg was sure he should have all the honors because he positioned the trailer just right on the road.

The neighbor claimed accolades for running the calf fast enough and far enough for him to circle back to the trailer and get in it with considerable momentum.

This exciting adventure took about half an hour and nobody had to unsaddle horses when they got home. It seems like if a day was going that well, they should have gone on to town and bought up some lottery tickets.

Telling that story to some poor west Texas winter wheat pasture puncher who is wearing an entire dry goods store on his back could elicit a violent reaction.

It's been my experience that any complaining done about the difficulty of loading sick cattle in a trailer brought, not ever, the highly unlikely moment of a critter loading by himself.

It did get me a new trailer ball welded to the top rail of the trailer to dally a rope around for leverage.

Not everybody can be a "top hand." I'm glad I at least know a few.

© Julie Carter 2006

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