What Is It Calle Things In.Movies Happening In Real Life The Last Cowboy

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The Last Cowboy

Jiaqing. Jiaqing. Jiaqing. Spurs on cowboy boots – unmistakable sound. An ancient sound, dating back to Julius Caesar and later the Roman legions, evoking respect, awe and fear. American cowboy. Long days, truck trucks, and toughness are some of the words used to describe cowboy life while visiting the Pioneer Museum on a field trip. But like the gunslinger of the Wild West, the traditional life of the cowboy is now preserved only in movies like “The Lonely Dove” and in history books.

or is it? Still have real cowboys?

My family and I were recently invited to the Steiner Valley Ranch’s Annual Cattle Conference in Whitney, Texas. I’ve always considered myself an “outdoorsy” person, so I thought it would be fun to take pictures of kids and dusty old guys in big hats. The image of Billy Crystal from “City Slickers” popped up in my head, but I wasn’t sure what to actually expect.

We arrived very late after being at least 20 miles off paved roads. Steiner Valley Ranch, or SVR, was founded in 1849 and seems to have been around forever. Our crew of 12 was warmly welcomed by Wanda Harris, the ranch manager’s wife and provider of all things good. Perhaps the kindest woman in Texas, her hospitality, generosity, and cooking are legendary in these parts. I hear there’s even a song about her! After settling in at our ranch, Mrs. Harris advised us to “get some rest tonight. Jay likes to mount at dawn.”

When my alarm went off, I was sure it was a mistake. “No one in their right mind would wake up this early!” I thought to myself. As we brush off sleepiness and sip our coffee, we wonder what the new day will bring.

Jiaqing. Jiaqing. Jiaqing. Heavy, rhythmic footsteps on the front porch indicated someone approaching the door. “OMG! It’s him!” I accidentally said out loud because I had a lump in my throat.

For years, I’ve heard stories of this old-school heritage cowboy in Whitney, Texas. “Tough as a nail.” “Eyed, sharp as an eagle.” There’s even a story, as the legend goes, when he “stitched his own hands while driving the cattle!” Jay Harris – Steiner Valley Ranch Manager  … at our front door!

There were two quick knocks on the door, and it opened. Time stood still and no one was breathing when he walked into the room. Taking off his hat, the Trail Boss took a quick look around his newbie’s pasture and said hoarsely, “Good afternoon, girls, let’s go, we’re late.” I think he smiled, but wasn’t sure. But all I know is he’s at least 8 feet tall, and I now believe every story I’ve heard about Jay Harris.

As we saddled the horses in the pre-dawn moonlight, Jay and many other “real” cowboys got together to discuss the game plan for the day. Hall of Fame Cowboy, David Merrill is even there! I never realized jobs like this still existed and found myself overwhelmed by the tough guys who call it home. The saddle leather creaked as they mounted and disappeared into the darkness, as I secretly wished I was one of them.

We hear them before we see them. A few hours after sunrise, brave men scattered over the horizon, herding the first herds to our patiently waiting corrals. Some strays in the canyon complicate the drive, but the Trail Boss instructs him to break off a few of his hands and fence them off. The herd is carefully guided into the corrals where the real work begins. Purebred Angus are sprayed with insecticide and cows are separated from their calves. I was asked if I wanted to palpate one of the cows to make sure it was pregnant. I’d suggest it’s best left to professionals like them, and figured I could leave this task on my “bucket list” for another day. The calf was brought into the large “pen” and the Trail Boss held a safety meeting while the SVR soldering iron was put into the fire. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next, but I can tell emotionally that things are about to get exciting!

When the first calf was roped and dropped to the ground by experienced cowboys, I realized the sheer effort required to “work cows”. No boy, and very few men, has the courage to call himself a “cowboy.” These guys are professionals in anyone’s eyes and have obviously been doing it for a long time! Jay Harris took most of the rope off his old favorite horse, Amigo. Adrian Hinojosa is also a talented roper and an asset to the operation. Amber Tiwater served as the veterinarian and performed all vaccinations. Each calf was vaccinated, marked and castrated with the SVR brand. Their mother protested and waited impatiently on the pasture to be reunited with the calf.

As the dust cleared in the late afternoon, Jay decided to call it a day and invited us to dinner. A mountain of Steiner Valley Ranch – the raised rib eye is served, and every imaginable side dish and desert is also available. I believe this is the best meal ever. I was able to visit Jay and gain insight into the life of a cowboy. Their work is real, meaningful and important. Their lives are purposeful, pure and honest. It’s not a 9-to-5 job by any means, and there are very few rich cowboys. Groundskeepers, veterinarians, fence builders, welders, carpenters, accountants, plumbers, and heavy equipment mechanics are just some of the duties required of a cowboy. Take a day off? not here. Jay suggested that after the morning worship, you can go back to work.

The cattle drive lasted 3 full days and we were exhausted. When the last calf received the SVR brand and was released back to pasture, I felt a sense of pride in the fact that I was surrounded by hard working, proud and spirited people. True American Cowboy. I learned a lot about getting back to the basics and the joys of working hard and living free. I’ve found that happiness and contentment are directly proportional to the amount of dirt under my nails and sweat dripping on the ground. The land was settled by mounted warriors like Elgin and Mike Guentert, and that legacy lives on today in men like Jay Harris. I treasure the time I spent with Jay and Wanda Harris and the finer Christians I have never met. I firmly believe that my life will be better when I meet them and I can’t wait to come back.

Jay Harris, The Last Cowboy? Probably not, but certainly one of the best and most respected men in Texas. Special thanks to all the Cowboys who helped keep this spirit going including David Merrill, Rob Beasley, Jeff Sanders, Ronnie Doss, William Hurd, Joe Hinojosa , Augustin Hinojosa, Adrian Hinojosa, Justin Moore and Beau Wallerb. My hat off to each and every one of you. Well done, Cowboy.

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