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Not out to prove anything

Published on 27 July 2022

You’ve been there, trying not to make your eyerolls too terribly obvious, as the guy who always, always has to make dang sure everyone knows just how much of a cowboy he is asserts control of the situation.

Maybe it’s Joe, who rides into every neighbor’s branding pen cautioning the ground crew to watch themselves because the gray gelding he’s been on the last eight years is “pretty green.” It might be Trent and his jingling spurs, spinning his pretty paint pony on a dime a few times before taking off for the highest ridge, leaving the rest of the crew to gather the low country. Then there’s Carl, holding court in the church foyer, prefacing the Sunday service with some sage advice about cattle futures whistling past the toothpick perpetually working between his teeth. Or maybe it’s just Uncle Gary, telling everyone at the family reunion how much better off his street smarts would’ve served the old place than his big brother’s fancy degrees and so-called mind for business.

These people are everywhere – from the feedbunk to the sale barn, from the show ring to the round corral, from the trade show to your very own living room. Regardless of whether the points they very loudly make are valid, their know-it-all attitudes range from mildly irritating to thoroughly insufferable.

Truth be told, though, we’ve all been guilty of indulging in a touch of buckaroo vanity or steer jock pompousness at least a time or two. I routinely wear my manure-spattered boots to functions with my suburbanite friends, hoping someone will notice. Childish, I know, but that doesn’t stop me.

As we’ve prepared this issue, I’ve been struck by the theme of sincerity and honesty running through several of our articles. Firstly, the tribute to our dear friend Baxter Black (Beloved cowbboy writer Baxter Black passes), who passed away in June. If you ever had the privilege of meeting Baxter, even for a few minutes, you know that he never set out to impress anybody. What you saw and heard and read was exactly who he was, and he neither put on airs nor made apologies for it.

You’ll also have to check out Jordan Thomas’ article Cow-calf theater: How much is for show?, which cautions producers against the delusions of what he calls “cow-calf theater.”

Of course, as a new editor here at Progressive Cattle, I want to make it abundantly clear that I’m not out to prove anything to anyone in the beef industry. I’m fairly certain there’s nothing I can teach any of our readers about this world that you don’t already know. Most of you have probably forgotten more about raising and marketing cattle in the last week alone than I can ever hope to learn. My job is to learn from you and help you learn from each other.

I will, however, preemptively beg your forgiveness for appropriating some of your wisdom to impress my smug engineer neighbor at the Labor Day barbecue.  end mark

Tyrell Marchant
  • Tyrell Marchant

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