Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. The spurs on a cowboys boots- an unmistakable seem. An previous sound, courting back again to the Roman Legions of Julius Caesar and past, that conjures up emotions of regard, awe and dread. The American Cowboy. Extended days, chuck wagons and toughness are all words and phrases employed to describe the daily life of a cowboy to schoolchildren when they visit pioneer museums on discipline visits. But just like the gunslingers of the wild west, the regular everyday living of a cowboy is now only preserved in films like Lonesome Dove and history textbooks.
Or is it? Are there any actual cowboys still left?
My family members and I were being just lately invited to go to the Steiner Valley Ranch yearly Cattle Roundup in Whitney, Texas. I have constantly regarded myself an “outside” man so I figured it would be entertaining to get some images of the young ones with dusty outdated guys with large hats. Photos of Billy Crystal in “Town Slickers” filled my head but I was unsure what to basically expect.
We arrived late in the night following driving no fewer than 20-miles off the blacktop road. The Steiner Valley Ranch, or SVR as it is referred to as, was recognized in 1849 and appeared to go on permanently. Our crew of 12 been given a heat welcome from Wanda Harris, the Ranch Professionals spouse and provider of all matters excellent. Maybe the kindest female in Texas, her hospitality, generosity and cooking are legendary in these sections. I listened to there was even a tune created about her! Just after obtaining settled into our ranch dwelling, Mrs. Harris encouraged us to “Get a lot of rest tonight. Jay likes to saddle-up at daybreak.”
As my alarm clock sounded, I was particular there had been a miscalculation. “No person in their proper mind will get up this early!,” I imagined to myself. As we rubbed the sleep from our eyes and sipped coffee, we puzzled what the new working day would provide.
Ka-Ching. Ka-Ching. Ka-Ching. The weighty, rhythmic footsteps throughout the front porch indicated anyone was approaching the doorway. “Oh my God! It is him!,” I accidentally mentioned aloud as a lump shaped in my throat.
For decades, I’ve heard stories of this old-faculty conventional cowboy in Whitney, Texas. “Difficult as nails.” “Eyes, sharp as a hawk.” There is even a tale, as the legend goes, of when he “sewed stitches in his have hand though conducting a cattle generate!” Jay Harris- the Ranch Supervisor of the Steiner Valley Cattle Ranch… He was at our entrance door!
Two quick knocks, then the doorway opened. Time stood still and no just one breathed as he entered the area. Eradicating his hat, the Path Boss immediately inspected his most recent ranch palms and with a gruff voice reported, “Superior afternoon, women. Let us go, we’re late.” I believe he smiled, but was not certain. But what I did know is he was at least 8-toes tall and I now thought each and every tale I ever read about Jay Harris.
As we helped saddle-up the horses in the pre-dawn moonlight, Jay and a host of other “serious” cowboys gathered and mentioned the days video game strategy. Hall Of Fame Cowboy, David Merrill was even there! I never recognized that positions like this still existed and discovered myself awestruck by the tough guys who known as this residence. Saddle leather creaked as they mounted up and disappeared into the darkness as I secretly wished I was just one of them.
We read them right before we saw them. A several hours following dawn, scattered along the horizon, brave gentlemen on horseback herded the first team of cattle in direction of the corral exactly where we waited patiently. A handful of strays in the canyon sophisticated the generate, but the Trail Boss directed a couple of of his hands to break off and spherical ’em up. The herd was meticulously guided into the corral in which the actual do the job started. The purebred Angus have been sprayed with a pesticide and cows ended up divided from calves. I was requested if I wanted to palpate a single of the cows to verify it was pregnant. I advised that it was a great deal much better still left to experts like them and figured I could leave that endeavor on my “bucket listing” for a different working day. The calves have been led into the large “roping pen” and the Path Boss held a protection assembly as the SVR branding iron was positioned into the fire. I was not sure what was about to go down, but I could inform by the temper issues were being about to get fascinating!
When the to start with calf was roped and wrestled to the floor by the team of experienced cowboys, I understood the monumental amount of money of effort essential to “do the job cattle.” No boys and pretty number of men have the grit and toughness to phone by themselves “cowboy.” These fellas ended up specialists in anyone’s book and experienced of course been accomplishing it a lengthy time! Jay Harris did most of the roping from his most loved old horse, Amigo. Adrian Hinojosa was also a gifted roper and an asset to the operation. Amber Tiwater performed veterinarian and administered all vaccinations. A single by a person, each and every calf been given the SVR brand and was vaccinated, tagged and castrated. Their mothers protested and waited impatiently in the pasture to be reunited with their calf.
As the dust settled late in the afternoon, Jay resolved to connect with it a day and invited us to meal. A mountain of Steiner Valley Ranch-lifted rib eyes were being served up and every possible facet dish and desert was also obtainable. I believe it was the greatest food at any time. I was capable to check out with Jay and gathered a lot perception into the life of a cowboy. Their get the job done is serious, significant and vital. Their life are reason-driven, pure and truthful. It is not a 9-5 work by any signifies, and there are pretty number of rich cowboys. A groundskeeper, veterinarian, fence builder, welder, carpenter, accountant, plumber and major products mechanic are just a handful of of obligations essential of a cowboy. A working day off? Not below. Jay encouraged that just after church in the early morning, it was again to perform.
The cattle push lasted 3 comprehensive times and we were being exhausted. When the last calf acquired the SVR model and was launched again to pasture, I felt a sense of delight in obtaining been surrounded by these really hard doing the job guys of honor and spirit. Actual American Cowboys. I realized so substantially about having again to basic principles and the joy of doing the job hard and residing free of charge. I learned that joy and success is right proportional to the amount of money dirt underneath your fingernails and sweat dripping onto the ground. This land was settled by courageous adult males on horseback like Elgin and Mike Guentert and that legacy lives on these days in men like Jay Harris. I cherished our time put in with Jay and Wanda Harris and finer Christian folks I have never ever satisfied. I solemnly consider that my life is much better acquiring met them and I are not able to wait around to return.
Jay Harris, The Very last Cowboy? In all probability not, but definitely just one of the best and most revered in Texas. A really exclusive thanks to all the cowboys who assistance retain the spirit alive such as David Merrill, Rob Beasley, Jeff Sanders, Ronnie Doss, William Listened to, Joe Hinojosa, Agustin Hinojosa, Adrian Hinojosa, Justin Moore and Bo Wohleb. My hats off to each and every and each individual a person of you. Career nicely accomplished, cowboy.