Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

It may be a Dr Seuss classic, but when I received that book for graduation in May, I began to consider the places I have already been, where I am and the places I still have yet to go. My work in the cattle business has been quite a blessing in my life. Despite the ups, downs, and sometimes feeling all turned around, life has been quite an adventure.Growing up in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozarks, I fell in love with the rolling hills and the bountiful pastures of improved grasses. The huge mosquitoes, intense humidity, and rolling thunderstorms were just a part of life. Then came the opportunity to live in the mountains of Wyoming. There I became introduced to irrigation and cool summers. In a place where annual precip is close to 8 inches, we received 12 inches in June alone. Let me tell you there is nothing like riding horseback in the mountains listening to the sound of a summer shower echo from the canyon walls. After playing the Red Dirt of Oklahoma for a few years of college, I ventured to these High Plains of the Texas Panhandle. I have never experienced wind or lack of moisture to the extent that is found here in the Northwest corner of Texas.

Now I find myself on the road of life headed in a new direction. This month I will move back to Arkansas and return to daily life on the ranch! You read that right. It has always been a dream of mine to live out my life on the ranch, work a cow-calf operation on a day-to-day basis, and that dream is coming to me much sooner than expected. I will be moving 100 miles from home and working with a commercial cow-calf herd of about 1200 head. Not only will I be much closer to my family and friends, but I will have the chance to be living life the best way I know how. I eagerly look forward to calving out 100 heifers this winter, riding the pastures checking cows every day, hay season once the summer comes, vaccinating cows, wrestling bulls during breeding season, and weaning calves in the fall. I get to have my horse with me once again, will soon be looking for another horse to start, working with my dog, training her up in cattle work, and looking for another to start. Trips to the feed store and co-op, taking time out for Cattlemen’s meetings, supporting youth at local stock shows, and maybe even cheering on my beloved Razorbacks from our home state once again! Words cannot begin to express how excited I am for this opportunity. I can assure you will hear all about my adventures!

You can have anything you want – if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, have anything you desire, accomplish anything you set out to accomplish – if you will hold to that desire with singleness of purpose…Whatever comes our way, whatever battle we have raging inside us, we always have a choice. It’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what’s right.

Not that I have really been looking to leave the feedyard here in Texas, but when opportunity comes knocking, someone has to answer. The decision to take advantage came from two different pieces of advice I believe in. To me, if anyone has an opportunity to develop and grow working in their passion, and passes up that opportunity, they are not looking for success in life. The second actually came from my current boss the first time I met him. He told me that passion is something you are willing to do for little or nothing, live in your car, and do it for the rest of your life. Once you find that thing, chase it with diligence and determination.

So as I begin 2011, I’ll begin a new chapter in my life. It is sure to fun, exciting, and challenging, but what is life if one is not challenged to grow and learn? Looking forward to sharing all of my experiences with ya’ll! –Ryan

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
–Dr Seuss