Cowboy Romance (of horsesweat and hornflies)

Just warms your heart, don’t it? As I’ve told ya’ll before, I love to read others’ first-hand accounts of ranch life. Van Horn Texas Cowboy and “agritainer”, Bob Kinford (web, blog, facebook, twitter) shares his accounts of cowboy lifestyle through his books like Cowboy Romance (Amazon) — the lastest addition to my Readings and Ruminations booklist. Kinford, a life long cowboy, and now story teller shares his “cun-cussin” encounters from many years of ranch life across the country, with a good dose of humor and an artistic touch only he can add. Bob shares his stories, even taking time to describe the sections, hoolihands, and even CED (Calculated Emergency Dismounts) for those who are a lil less “cowboy literate.”

I’ve had several conversations with Bob recently via social media accounts and emails. He’s the genuine thing and hope to meet him in person one day if our paths ever happen to cross. Enjoy this excerpt from Cowboy Romance, titled No Bueno Por Nada. If your Spanish is a lil rusty, you’ll figure it out by the end of the story. Really looking forward to starting his next book A Million To One Odds (times five).

I WAS WORKING alone on a ranch high up on the Divide and needed a hand for a couple of days to gather the trap and get the cattle shipped out. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have asked for the help, as the trap was only two sections, but it had more brush in it than the states of Nebraska and Kansas combined. I also needed to capture a cow and a yearling bull in an eight-section pasture. The manager, old WW, said he’d send Delbert and Pedro.

They came in the back way and were at the house about ten thirty. We grabbed a quick lunch, loaded the horses, and headed out, planning to meet my friend Elroy, who was coming in from the other direction. Things worked out just right as Elroy pulled up to the appointed meeting spot right when we arrived. We unloaded the horses, and Delbert pulled the truck next to the fence so we could gang up and drive our quarry into the trailer when we found them.

Before mounting, Delbert decided to relieve himself of a coffee overload and in doing so happened to look up. “By golly, is that a cow on top of that hill?” he asked.

It was. The best way to find cattle with Delbert is to fill him up with coffee and wait for his bladder to reach overload, because he always spots a cow when he stops to make room for more java.

Delbert and Pedro rode to the top and started the old girl down. Just as we feared, they couldn’’t keep up with her. That was all right, though, as Elroy and I were waiting for her at the bottom and turned her towards the truck. Delbert and Pedro caught up with us about the time we reached the truck and the old sow made a U-turn for the brush.

Delbert shook out a loop in which he promptly entangled himself as well as his horse. Nothing to worry about, though, as Pedro was gaining on the fugitive. He threw a real pretty loop but missed his slack. The cow ran right through his pretty loop as he yelled, “Mi no bueno por nada!”

At this point I began to worry, as Elroy was riding a kind of green horse and, being smarter than me, wasn’t packing any twine. Circumstances were rapidly leaving it up to me to rope the old girl before she made it into the brush. I wasn’’t looking forward to this task, as the filly I was riding only had about thirty saddlings on her, so I wasn’t positive I’d get her shut down if I opened her up. To make things a little more interesting, she barely stood fourteen hands and was as wide as she was tall. Even if I did catch the cow and get my ride stopped, I was going to have a hard time keeping my saddle top side up.

Nevertheless, looking a little like Don Quixote’s assistant, I took off after my windmill, hollering at my dog to get around the cow. Everyone was yelling at me to get that (*&$&)*$@ dog out of there, but she did just right and stopped the cow for me. This allowed me to stop my horse before tossing a hoolihand around the cow’s neck. I went to the horn, at which point my horse went to running and bucking, and my saddle went to sliding. “I caught her. Now somebody else keep her!”
“Catchers keepers!” Delbert hollered back, laughing so hard that he had difficulty staying on his horse. By dumb luck I got the old girl headed towards the trailer. Just as we passed it, my dog snapped in her face, and the cow jumped into the trailer as if it were all part of a well-rehearsed rodeo act.

We loaded the horses into the back half of the trailer and headed to the far end of the pasture, where I figured the bull was hanging out. Sure enough, we weren’t five minutes out of the trailer when we spotted him heading out at a high rate of speed, and the chase was on. This part of the pasture was a little flatter than the rest but was still pretty brushy. Pedro, being a little embarrassed at having missed the old cow, managed to dab a loop on the bull between bushes within a quarter-mile.

Delbert went back to bring the truck up as we snaked the bull through the brush to the road, which, of course, left me to heel him. Pedro’s horse was pretty well winded by the time we got to the road, so he held the bull while I chased it around him trying to heel it. After the third loop, the bull decided it was time to change directions and turned around, forcing the flustered filly to jump over the top of him.

“Tu no bueno por nada,” Pedro laughed out.

I had the bull caught with the next loop, and we were all taking a nap when Delbert showed up with the truck. After loading everything, we headed home, done for the day with several hours of light left for a change. Halfway home, Delbert had to stop to get rid of a little more coffee. “Bob, is that a cow over there?”  he asked.

Sure enough, it was a trotty old witch the neighbor kept trying to sell, but either he couldn’t catch her, or, when he did catch her, she wouldn’t stay caught. At the sight of our truck she was off once again.
We unloaded double-quick. With my feet dragging through the sage, Pedro and I were in hot pursuit and managed to get her turned towards the road. As soon as we were in the clearing , Pedro caught her by both horns. That is, he would have if she had been wearing any. I slipped in behind him and laced one on her as pretty as could be.

Before I could get my dallies, she ducked around a rapidly approaching juniper just as I found myself in a runaway around the other side of the same bush. Dropping my rope, I began doing everything in my power to stop the filly, including dragging my feet, but nothing worked. By the time I finally succeeded and made it back to the truck, Pedro had caught my rope and loaded the cow in the trailer.

As I rode up, Pedro looked at me and grinned.” Mi no bueno por nada, tu no bueno por nada. Tu y yo es un vaquero.” (I’m no good for nothing, you’re no good for nothing. Between you and me, we make one cowboy.) Maybe so, but we got the job done, and then some.

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