…It’ll be a long, dusty drive. The dust sure is kicking it around here. No, it’s not just from the cattle feedlots that some blame for the dust. Rather there is dust blowing from every spot there is bare soil. The wind is kicking it and the humidity is low here in the Northwest corner of the Texas Panhandle. There is even a Red Flag Warning out for us today because a dry line moved through the area.

I had last weekend off work, and since there is not a whole lot to do in Dalhart, Texas, my roommate and I headed to Walmart which is 45 minutes away in Dumas. Not that it is really that far of a drive. After some money spent on groceries and a stomach full of cafe style chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, it was time to head back to the house for a nap.

Saturday night we headed to Amarillo for the Coors Cowboy Club Ranch Rodeo. Our first stop was Cavender’s Boot City for some jeans, cause Lord knows I need some to replace the ones with the seats busting out. Lo and behold, I found the ONLY pair of jeans in my size in the entire store. The cashier said they just got a truck in but they must have sold out of my size. Today I am going to try the local farm store and with any luck I might find a pair or two there.

Back the Rodeo. When I got to thinking about it, I had never before been to an official ranch rodeo, so this was yet another first for me. We arrived a little late (thanks to that afternoon nap) and got there just in time to see the calf branding. Now this might sound simple, but when you are trying to heel just two calves and the other team gets their second before you can get your first, it gets a little frustrating. Two teams compete in each heat to rope two calves by their heels and bring them to the branding pit, where two other teammates turn the calf on it’s side and hold the hind and back legs stretched where the fourth teammate brings the branding iron from the pit and brands the calf. In this case the “pit” was a bucket of dirt and no real branding was done. It was entertaining to watch the ranch kids do the branding, as they really get into the fast pace of things.

The last even of the night was the Wild Cow Milking. A not-tame cow is turned out in the arena where she must be roped around the neck. Then the “muggers” attempt to hold her steady by the neck and tail as the other cowboy milks her on the go. The team to run the milk back to the center in the fastest times wins. This is quite entertaining if you ever get the chance to watch an event. I have done this several times while growing up, but the only prize money we were shooting for was a healthy newborn calf.

That was certainly the first of many fun weekends here in the Texas Panhandle. This weekend I am staying in Dalhart, because I only have Friday off. Soon I will have to share with you my trip to the XIT ranch museum.