“Rawhide isn’t the way it’s supposed to be done.”
But, the excitement of thinking about it makes our adrenaline flow fast.
Right after Matt Dillon, Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates were our TV cowboy idols back in
When our folks finally got a tube, we anticipated Friday nights for “Rawhide,”
starring Favor and Yates, while “Gunsmoke,”featuring Dillon, was Saturday
Yes, it was fictional. But, for a town kid, who thought of little else than riding a
horse, whooping cowboys chasing cattle thundering across the prairie, there
could be nothing better.
However, the real world of cattle handling today is much different, while still an
Maybe not as early as cowboys of three-quarters of a century ago, but we were in the
saddle at the crack of dawn heading west across the Flint Hills.
Sleek mottled yearling steers were strewn along southwest border fences as we
meandered their direction with a fresh breeze in our face as close to nature as
one can get.
Barely audible, cowboy conversation centered on moisture forecasts and dryness of the short grass. A half-grown coyote pup that popped out of a draw attracted only a
shy grin and nod from a couple of the seven horseback riders.
When cowboys were in formation to start the drive toward corrals, there was no
increase in pace as the herd calmly moved the desired direction, occasionally
dropping heads for an early morning grass nibble.
Sometimes, a wilder-eyed critter would stop and turn to face a cowboy in tail. But, when herd mates moved on, he’d decide an escape attempt would be wasted, and headed the direction intended.
As two assisting-mechanical-carts brought cattle to join the main herd, chance of
stampede became apparent, as it did twice again in the next few minutes.
But, slow methodical guidance moved the herd into the catch pen, and cattle were soon loaded on semi-trucks for shipment to feedlots, at maximum weight-gain without slightest stress.
It was far from a TV-cattle-roundup, as horses and cattle were never out of a fast
trot, and the loudest noise was Bobwhite quail awaken from nesting. Yet, there
was satisfaction of gathering cattle “the real cowboy way.”
Reminds us of Mark 7:36: “We were beside ourselves with excitement.We’d done it all and done it well.”