Lunch usually gets wrapped up pretty quick on days like these and so we were back at the pens loading up a little before 1:00 pm.
I had saddled the paint horse right before lunch so all I had to do was grab a bit since Dick had already loaded the horses when Dad and I arrived. Everyone else was riding the horse they rode that morning. Lilly did fine, but she’s not ready for what we may get into this afternoon.
Well we headed down 202 until we got to Trunkline and took a left back into the ranch. Down the dusty old ranch roads we went. Two ranch rigs, the rolling pens, and my grandfather in his trusty chevy punching through the rising dust that hadn’t been hit by a drop of rain in more than eight months. About twenty minutes later we got to the lake and left everything but the rolling pens. If you rattle a bunch of stock trailers up to a trap of Brahmans that haven’t seen anybody since this time last year, you can’t be surprised when you arrive and don’t have many cattle to work.
So, everybody hopped in with us and we headed to the Coots. It only takes about five minutes to get there from the lake. As we eased into the clearing where the trap was, we could see three outside. One small Brahman calf, one big black heifer and one shipper-weight(~500lbs) tiger-striped bull calf. We kept easing into position for the rolling pens, set them up and unhooked Dad’s truck. Then Dad and my Grandfather penned the cattle with their trucks. One cow who must have calved that night was left back since she would have raised all kinds of hell if we were to seperate her from that new baby. Other than that, it went smooth. Well, it was touch and go there for a minute, but when the dust settled, all shippers were accounted for.
Before working the cattle in the pens, we had to catch those outside. Otherwise, they’d leave out before we got finished because of all of the racket. Felix, Morgan, Tony and I stayed with J.M. and the cattle while Mick, Dick, Kelley and Jesse went back to get the horses. As they pulled up I was just getting my leggins on. They call ’em batwings down here cause they flare out at the bottom to keep brush off of you and dampen the blow from kicking/hooking cattle.
Once horse back, we hit the brush to get around the calves that were outside trying to keep them up against that trap fence. As soon as we got withing eyesight though, that black heifer left outta there. She had Mick, Dick and Jesse hot on her trail though. I stayed with that tiger-striped bull calf hoping he would just hang out until somebody else was there to put a second rope on him. It’s not wise to rope cattle like that without having someone else there to heel them and keep them off of you. If you rope large, snorty cattle by yourself, you and whatever your riding is in for a long day.
No longer had that thought gone through my mind and I herd an awful crackin and thrashin headed my way. Mick and Dick had skirted that heifer and pushed her back this way. She came barreling into that clearing by the trap like a locomotive coming out of it’s tunnel. Jeese had a shot at her but missed and Dad fell in right behind him and the race was over. Mick wasn’t far behind and got a leg, so Dick headed out to get the trailer.
Long before that heifer got stopped by Morgan, that bull calf had decided he was in the wrong place and through the fence he went. So while Dick was pullin the trailer around, I was tearin down gaps trying to get into that trap before that calf hit the fence on the other side. He slowed up since that cow with the baby was stilll in there and I moved in to get a shot at him. He rolled by headed for the front gap and I laid one on him. I think the little paint was caught by surprise but he held his ground pretty good when that 500lbs hit the other end of him. Dad had come from loading the heifer and grabbed a foot as he was running through the overflow from the water trough. A heck of a shot.
Dick tailed him down and tied him and we went to work on the penned cattle. Going slow with cattle like this is important, but it’s not a cure-all. About half way through, one of those blue Brahmans reached up and raked Dad’s feet out from under him and down he went. Luckily she was moving on to something else and he had time to gather himself back up again. Had she stuck around, she could have roughed him up pretty good.
“Watch that cow, she’ll fight!” J.M. half hollered over the noise of stock trailer gates and cattle lowin.
“Which one Pop?” Mick answered back knowing that any one of the cows that were left would mow you down if you tarried too long.
Kelley just kept squirtin’ pour on and Jesse and Tony just kept swinging gates until Mick and Dick sorted through the cattle Dad and I were sending them. We got the shippers and keepin heifers loaded and rolled those pens back together for one more round down in Little Quincy.
At the artesian well in Little Quincy J.M. had quite a few gathered up. I noticed his new deer blind sitting just inside the trap gates and couldn’t hold back a chuckle. Knowing that some feeder one of the hunters was watching was without a blind cause my grandfather was using it to catch his wild-a$$ brahman cows was just a bit much for me. He had done a good job though because there were plenty in this trap.
This trap went pretty smooth so to cut this story down a bit, it suffices to say we’re loaded. We don’t have room for the horses though so we head back to the ranch to shape and ship and plan on coming back for the horses later. After we get done at the main pens over at headquarters, Timmy G shows up. If you know Tim, your laughing right now. Specially since he just happened to show up when the work was done. If you don’t know him, you will if you continue to come back and read these stories. This one is too long already to go into Timmy G.
We hit four traps that day and loaded every shipper, inside and out. Four for Four. Score one for the Quincy Cowboys.