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Baxter Black

Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, author, vaquero philosophizer, left-handed roper and former large animal veterinarian.

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“Alone at the Top” was how the Pro Rodeo Sports News magazine described the crowning of Trevor Brazile, World Champion All-Around Cowboy, for the eighth time – a world record.

It took Sir Edmund Hilary seven weeks to climb Mt. Everest, Admiral Peary 23 years to find the North Pole, Freckles Brown was 46 when he rode Tornado and it took me two tries to pass physiological chemistry in vet school!

All monumental achievements. All-Around Champion should come with a prefixed title, some way we could address them properly like: Sir Trevor or Colonel Trevor or King Trevor.

Others have earned their own titles; think of Princess Di, Judge Roy Bean, Superman, Machine Gun Kelly, Slick Willie or Speedy West. I guess Trevor wouldn’t care if we called him “champ.” Muhammad Ali was OK with that, but …

“Alone at the Top.” I saw him do it at the National Finals Rodeo last December. When he made his last ride around the arena, the crowd stood and applauded for a full minute just to let it soak in.

We knew what he had done and we wanted him to know, to understand, that we recognized his greatness. Trevor the Great.

Face to face, he seems like a regular person. He doesn’t wear a crown, or an Elvis cape, or guns like Roy Rogers.

But on the back of a good horse with a rope in his hand, he becomes Zeus, the thunder-rattling, lightning-striking, mythical god of the sizzling twine-magic hand, two wraps and a hooey.

I’m put in mind of another all-around world champion who has not received the attention of the more flamboyant rough-stock world champions like Larry Mahan, six-time winner, and Ty Murray, seven-time winner.

When I was doing the pre-rodeo announcing for the Snake River Stampede and the Caldwell Night Rodeo in the ’70s, Tom Ferguson of Miami, Oklahoma, was the “big dog” in the wolf pack.

He was a tie-down roper like Trevor, but also a steer wrestler. He dominated the game in his day. Like all world-champions will tell you, the competition was tough.

He won the all-around champion buckle six times, but like no other rodeo cowboy to this day, Tom won the title six years in a row!

So with a tip of the hat to Tom, I pay homage to Trevor Brazile. Eight-time All-Around World Champion Cowboy; the man, the machine, and the legend.

Joe Louis, “The Brown Bomber,” held the world champion heavy-weight boxing title for 11 years and eight months. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana won four Super Bowls each.

Trevor Brazile is not done. end_mark

An interviewer asked me how one can make a living in the cow business.

Actually he said, “As we’re heading into the next couple of years with declining cattle numbers and steady prices, how do you think you should position yourself to take advantage of the market?”

I assume he’d mistaken me as an authority in the cattle business. Maybe he thought I was a Wall Street speculator who heard rumors of another run on ethanol.

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I can’t remember how many songs Martin wrote, probably half of my notebook full of livin’ room hits! I guess nobody knew me as well as Martin. All those sad love songs, honky tonk songs, funny ones, bluegrass, country, cowboy, even the occasional gospel song, he heard first.

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Joe Camacho is a cage fighter. Can you imagine his mother saying, as he goes off to fight the front line of the Oakland Raiders, “Be careful, Joey, and don’t get hurt.”

I caught myself giving that same instruction to my son as he went off to his high school soccer game. As a soccer veteran, over the years he’s already had a succession of concussions, sprains, cracks, pulls, punches, cracks, whops, whacks and smashes! “I will,” he said, as he limped out the door.

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Typically smaller, more rural communities have no veterinarian, or at least none that will take a calving call or a horse colic emergency.

Veterinary schools, veterinary associations, concerned farmers and isolated ranchers continue their search for new veterinarians interested in practicing Food Animal and Equine medicine. While we are searching in our front yard it is possible that the answer is sneaking up behind us.

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This Memorial Day my thoughts go back to a friend from college, Clovis May. Mild mannered, hard working, good cowboy from a ranching family in Deming, New Mexico. I don’t recall exactly what his major was, but probably Range Management or Ag Business. He was big enough to play football, but he rodeoed. A solid man in character, physicality and reliability.

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