In his last words to the “cowboys “ John Wayne (Will Andersen) said:

Wil Andersen : I’m proud of ya… All of ya. Every man wants his children to be better’n he was. You are.

This is one of my favorite scenes from a movie. He really showed his appreciation for how the boys stepped up to do the job of taking care of his livestock.

My Son Rial and his girlfriend Mary Kate stepped up and did a job taking care of livestock this last month, in a set of strange circumstances.

A local sheep rancher and fence builder had a bad accident and broke his neck. He could not care for his sheep. The bucks got in last summer and they figured it was to hot to breed. (It wasn’t) We had lots of snow and very cold temperatures.

Rial and Mary Kate took care of those sheep like they were their own and really made a team to feed and lamb the ewes in the worst possible circumstances. One night it was near -30 and they had lots of lambs. They didn’t save em all but really worked hard for Vern and Dutch and the sheep.

They have had lots of challenges this past year, but they really stepped up and did the right thing as a team.


I visited my Grandmother and she told me lots of stories about “Ed” my Grandfather working for and making money for people taking care of the livestock. He was a good sheep man, so I guess it’s in Rials blood.
Hired stockman have been making sacrifices and making money for other people for a long time. It’s just what we do.

I went to Nebraska and worked with two feedlot crews at Gottsch Cattle Co.

In Red Cloud Nebraska, we started at 5 am to get cattle ready for shipping. We finished about 5 that afternoon working hard the whole day. While cleaning up and feeding someone noticed an old horse that wasn’t right. Some of the crew stayed with and tried to keep the old horse comfortable and consulted with vets and friends, but we all new what was going to happen. They stayed to the end with the horse partner, keeping him comfortable and out of pain, and left around midnight, then were back the next morning at 5 to go after it again. These young cowboys would have made John Wayne Proud.

At Juniata, the weather turned cold. We started at 4 am, with zero on the thermometer and about a twenty mile per hour wind. We moved two pens in the dark, got them to the scale and loaded. Then they rode pens all day in the very cold windy conditions. The water system had a malfunction and all the water tanks froze up. At 5 p.m. when they finished up the riding on cattlework they all picked up an ax and went to chopping ice and getting water to 60 thousand cattle. They finished at 9:30 and were back first thing the next morning.

People that care for livestock just do what I have been talking about. You do what it takes to do the job. I wish you could see how dedicated the people I have watched and worked with all my life are to the care of livestock. We may not always agree with how things are done, may not always do things perfect, but when it comes to the care of livestock you won’t find a more dedicated than the stockman.

So I’m with John Wayne- I’m Proud of ya, is what he said, and I say I’m proud to be a part of this great Stockmans culture.

12 thoughts on “I’M PROUD OF YA

  1. Mary Ann Ellison

    Thank you Curt for a very eye opening article about things in caring for animals that most people are totally unaware ever happen. And I thought I had it bad here in Ky the last few days. I am thankful for those who go over and above day after day in extreme circumstances. Keep those stories coming.

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