Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Working calves

In times past, several people have encouraged me to write about some of the "characters" I meet on a daily basis.  A week or so ago as I went to coffee on a Saturday morning there were pickups and trailers setting outside with horses loaded.  It was evident that some one was going to work calves.  So I ask if I might come along to take a few pictures.  (I sure didn't want to help!!)  
The crew that was gathering there at morning coffee were 3 area ranchers and sons and I thought that maybe I could get the perfect father/son picture.  The pictures I got were "OK" but the brims of hats and bills on caps prevented the perfect ones.  But I would like to share a few of these with you in this blog.
These first pictures are of JD (whose cattle they were working) and his oldest son.  JD's ranch is just on the south side of Cambridge and is picturesque in it's setting.  His son Russ is the perfect example of my definition of cowboy in a former blog.  Russ chose engineering as a profession and works for a firm in Wichita but is here often working cattle with his dad and other area ranchers.  Russ grew up hanging on the side of a DewEze hay monster as his dad hauled hay all along the Grouse Creek valley.  This was well before the time that child restraints were mandatory in a moving vehicle.  I am sure than in today's world, JD would be arrested for child endangerment.   But anyone who knows Russ, knows he grew up right.
The next pictures are of Neil and his son Jared.  Neil was a young man, perhaps no older than Jared now, when I first came to Cambridge.  At that time his primary ranching duties were as a working cowboy for a cattleman just north of town.  Clay J said of him "he's a good hand", which is a title not easily bestowed upon the young.  But through hard work and desire for the profession, Neil has earned his own right as an area rancher.  Jared follows close in his father's example.  Jared is one of the first names mentioned anytime there is something ready to happen from gathering cattle to building fence.  And this is not because he's Neil's son, it's because Jared is a "good hand".
The next pictures are of Mark and his son Wyatt.  Mark, like myself, is a transplant to this area.  Not long after arriving he married a local girl. Now many of the older area women at the time said "she could've done better" but time, Mark's hard working ethic and sense of humor has won them over.   Wyatt, like his dad, showed the willingness to work where ever needed and was given some time to learn in several areas from "tail-gunner" to chute operator.
Now one thing about being the youngest on the crew, you've got to be ready for advice, whether from grandpa

or jokingly from a fellow cowboy.

And advice from an elder and valued friend should always be a welcomed influence, whether your talking about the cattle industry....

or just advice about dating "girls".

And last but not least, I caught this picture of Mark standing as if he is some gunslinger ready to draw down on an hombre on some dusty street of the old west.  But seeing as how he isn't wearing a pistol, but rather carrying a donut .... we had to title it .. "the fastest donut eater in the west".


MUD said...

Mighty fine post. The world is full of people like this and it is a shame that we have to elect people that have never spent a Saturday working hard and earning their right to be a cowboy. It is nice to see people that ahve the bed of their trucks full of shit instead of their minds full of it. I would be proud to have any of these guys as my friends. My uncle in Leon, Kansas would have us over in the spring to have a day like that. Thanks. MUD

Jenni said...

Great portraits of some great characters! Even with hats getting in the way, the photos speak volumes and I enjoyed the commentary as well. The last picture is a hoot! Keep up the good work:o)

Sara said...

Hello! My Aunt Karen forwarded this post to me - these are some great pictures! Of course, I'm a bit partial to the ones with Mark, Wyatt, and my Grandpa...
I just might have to check out your blog a bit more often to see how life in KS is!
Thanks! Sara Griffin (Gary Marshall's daughter)