A few years ago, I spent a couple of weeks at my brother’s ranch in South Dakota. My horse was saddled up and tied to the trailer and I was excited to go on my first ‘real’ cattle drive. I had an empty pop bottle in my jacket pocket and was concerned that it might fall out and spook one of the horses, so I decided to toss it into the cab of the pickup truck. Decked out in my niece’s very pink cowgirl boots, I walked through the tall grass in the ditch alongside the gravel road. Somehow, I got my feet tangled up in the tall grass and down I went. Pain shot through my hand and up my arm and I knew I wouldn’t be going on that cattle drive.
This was the real deal, this cattle drive, and they needed every rider they had. I assured my brother that I’d be fine until he got back. I waited by the truck and just enjoyed the peacefulness and the breeze of the late summer afternoon. Around bedtime, we decided I should probably see a doctor, so he drove me into town and the ER doctor fixed up my fractured hand.
I didn’t get much riding in during that trip, but I did get to go to an old-fashioned country rodeo hosted by the local saddle club. It was fun to watch my niece, my brother and my nephew, who all took part in the rodeo activities. But the highlight of it all was when they started the kids’ activities. They got them all out in the arena and formed a starting line. With that many excited little kids ready to go, it wasn’t really much of a line, but it worked. Then they let out the smaller calves with ribbons tied on their tails.
At the work, “GO!”, those kids were off like lightning, chasing after the calves, because their rodeo activity was to pull the ribbon off the the tail of a calf. I’m not sure if they were after just one ribbon, or if they were going for all the ribbons they could get. I do know it was great fun to watch.