Ride 'Em, Cousin!

I've never met PRCA bareback bronc rider Lane McGehee from south Texas, but with that last name he's got to be a cousin of mine some way -- probably somewhere between sixth and ninth cousin at least once removed. I've seen him compete a few times this rodeo season, including at Cheyenne Frontier Days last July, but I'd been aware of him for some years, since seeing him win a high-school or college-level rodeo in Texas on RFD-TV before the Cowboy Channel debuted.

I was rooting for him to make it to the National Finals Rodeo this year, but only the top 15 competitors in each event get into that, and... he isn't in the top 15. There's always next year.

If it weren't for Lane I wouldn't really pay attention to the bareback bronc event (I've been more of a bull-rider fan); the only other bareback rider I can think of off the top of my head is Chris Ledoux. Guess that'll have to change. I do know there are some legendary riders that have been winning gold buckles in all those rodeos; I just can't think of their names right now.


Originally posted Tuesday, August 3; bumped.

What would a rodeo cowboy do?

Trying to live by the rules foisted on us daily by our cultural elites is enough to drive a man crazy. The rules keep changing, so why comply? Compliance is futile.

I was still in school when I noticed this about eating healthy -- whatever the latest study showed, another would appear next week that contradicted it. Why comply? I decided that the most reasonable advice was simply to partake moderately of a wide variety of foods. I haven't been perfect in following that rule, but to the extent that I have, I'm sure I've avoided a lot more trouble than what I've ended up in.

In the wider context, I've concluded the best rule is to live like a rodeo cowboy. What would a rodeo cowboy do?

The most obvious defining rules observed by such men and women are be polite, play fair, and be a good sport. In short, they live by eternal verities passed down for centuries by patriotic, hard-working people who make, build, and grow what every human society needs. They don't listen to ivory-tower pointy-heads who contemplate their own navels and propose new rules we're all supposed to live by, a new set of rules every day that contradicts the day before, none of which make sense to sensible men and women. Why comply?

A rodeo cowboy goes for it; he does his best; he takes his lumps, tips his hat to the crowd, and moves on to the next rodeo. He knows about all the variables facing him in his life, and he accepts them. He takes it on faith that they'll all even out in the long run, and meanwhile he'll trust in God and the luck of the draw.

We could all do worse.

Lone Star Belt Buckles and Old Faded Levi's

Well, not really. I'm wearing Wranglers, and the need to chase my waist size down the scale has forced me to buy belts so hastily I can't put my choice of buckle on them.

Come to think of it, I don't have a lone-star belt buckle anyway. Various critters, or one of those Western-style designs. Maybe I should start shopping for buckles again, when I get around to buying a belt I can put one on.

Probably not a lone star though. Unless I ever actually move to Texas. I don't foresee that. Maybe a buckle with Steamboat, the legendary Wyoming saddle bronc.

Anyway. A downside of this blog format is it doesn't offer much customization, regardless of what theme I use. Some of you might have forgotten what I look like.

I don't look like you'd recognize anymore, anyway. I'm clocking under 200 pounds now for the first time since college. Used to be I'd tell myself I needed to have Mrs. McG take a new picture of me, but that's out now. I'll think of something.

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Meanwhile, here's what I looked like almost a year ago. the Mrs. took this snapshot, which I used as my headshot on the old blog, in a turnout along Highway 20/789 in the Wind River Canyon of Wyoming.

I'm toying with growing out the beard again for the winter.

I'm also toying with upgrading the blog platform for 2022.

I Ride Alone and Sing a Tune

It's the fourth Saturday in July, which means it's the National Day of the Cowboy. It's as good a day as any to re-explain the name of this blog.

These days tally books are associated with the oilfields, but before there was an oil industry, tally books were used by working cowboys.

A buckaroo in the saddle was his employer's eyes and ears on the open range. To ensure that he reported accurately what he saw as he rode, he carried a book of blank pages to make notes in. He would record how many cattle he saw, where he saw them, and what brands they wore. If he saw a calf with one brand following a cow with another, he'd report that too -- and there would be strong words between the owners of the respective brands.

He also took note of range conditions and whatever else he might consider worth knowing about, and this way the boss and the other hands knew of anything that might affect their work and the boss' property.

At roundup time, actual tallies were kept of which cattle wore which brand, as well as what brands were put on unbranded calves. The different brand owners would have representatives present, and each kept careful track of the others' tallies to make sure they all agreed.

When the open range got fenced in, keeping track of the livestock became easier, but the man riding fence still needed to take notice of things. Damage to the barbed wire, for example, might be incidental or it might be sabotage; either way, cattle might be wandering on someone else's range, and that would need to be reported and dealt with.

These days a working cowboy might report his findings by cell phone, if he has any bars, or note them down on his phone or tablet for later retrieval. Some cowboys even carry a laptop in the saddlebag. Picture John Wayne or Clint Eastwood doing that.

Rescue Me

Years ago, I posted a series of examples of what I deemed to be wise cowboy sayings. Yesterday I tried to find them on my computer and in my cloud storage, and came up empty. Fortunately, some still resided in the old gray matter.

Having rescued them from that horrible fate, I re-post them here:

  • Work ain't gonna do itself.

  • It takes a lot of hands to make a roundup.

  • Never mess with another man's gal, gun, or hoss.

  • Wipin' off your hat's sweatband is a good excuse to just stop and take in the scenery for a spell.

  • When somethin' goes wrong, just set back and have yourself a good, relaxing cuss. Then fix it.

  • Be nice to the young'uns. You was one yourself, once.

  • "Ridin' fence" don't mean sittin' on it.

  • Beans is good eatin' on the trail, but not in the bunkhouse.