Current Progressive Cattleman digital edition
advertisement
breadcrumbs

Baxter Black

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

LATEST

0811pc_black_1I was reminiscing with a group of Dexter breeders. A Michigan farmer named Lew said when he was a boy, his grandpa hired a mule man to clear some timber. It was raining like a cow pouring hot tea on a flat rock!

The mule man sat in his old Chevy coupe with his arm out the window holding onto his harnessed log-skipping mules, Bob and Jim.

Read more ...

I was having a nice chat with a ranch woman in New Mexico. We wound up discussing children.

Then the subject of sons came up. We noted the special relationship between mothers and sons. Cheri, the ranch woman, said that her son had been a dutiful cowboy ranch kid but had other plans for the future.

 

Read more ...

June was taking a renegade bull with a tendency to “wander” to the sale barn in Dodge City. Her son helped her load the beast into their stock trailer.

It was an authentic ranch trailer with lights that worked intermittently, gates that swung almost even, tires that didn’t match and compressed rubber floor-planks whose 99-year warranty had expired!

A few miles outside of Dodge, June heard and felt a thump, crack and crunch loud enough to be heard above George Strait on KBUF.

In her rear-view mirror she watched a dark object helicopter out from under the second axle!

She swerved to the right and stopped on a slant in the bar ditch. Upon examination, she found a hole in the floor of the front compartment of the trailer.

The bull, butt to the front, was eyeing the hole nervously. “Simple,” she surmised, “I’ll just open the divider gate and move him into the rear compartment and be on my way.”

She unlatched the gate and swung it open. The bull was coaxed around the hole to the rear and June hurried around to close the divider.

It was on a good slant. She pushed it closed and raced back around to latch it … BUT, not in time! It swung back open. Three times she attempted the maneuver, when she heard someone say, “Can I help you?”

A handsome, strong Kansas State trooper smiled.

June left him to push and hold while she went around to catch and latch.

When the divider banged closed, it spooked the bull who tried to climb over the back gate, slid to the down side and spooked the trooper, who fell back writhing in agony!

He was on the ground grasping his knee! She reached to help him. “No,” he groaned, “I can do it!” He keyed his collar mike, “Officer down! Officer down! I’ve been injured and need assistance!”

Within five minutes the horizon in all directions was filled with red and blue flashing lights and sirens blaring!

They closed Hwy 400. Well, nobody could get around all the Dodge City Police cars, Ford County Sheriff deputy pickups, the ambulance, fire trucks, tow truck, first responders and one Wildlife and Park Service utility vehicle.

After a thorough questioning, they realized the truth. The upset June told them she thought they were going to handcuff her and leave her in the ditch while they searched her rig for contraband!

One big burly officer laughed and said, “Yeah, but if we’d done that, you could’ve told ’em it took six of us to get the job done, and you put one of us in the hospital!”  end_mark

I wonder if he starts at the head?

I mean, to sculpt a horse that will one day stand in front of the stockyard gate. Or does he picture in his mind the kind of horse it will be? Would he start at the hooves instead, one leg at a time, stroking, flexing, molding, making the limb yield to him until it feels just right?

Read more ...

“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.

Read more ...