I have had so many good experiences in Fort Worth, Texas. The first being going there with my Grandparents when I was about 20 years old, and having my grandfather re-live some of his history there. He delivered turkeys for either Swift or Armor, but he made money bare fisted fighting (like the Clint Eastwood movie). I think he was pretty tough. We walked around and he told me story’s and went into the stockyards coliseum and he showed me it.
[My Dad, My Grandpa, and my Uncle. A tough bunch]
I never dreamed I would come back and have lots of things happen in that historic building and town. I got to start colts and work cattle several times, and watched both my Son Rial and Daughter Mesa compete in events.
Mesa ran barrels and roped, and bucked lots of bulls in the arena at the weekly rodeo. Rial rode ranch broncs. I am so glad they both got the experience.
The first event I did in the arena was a event called Hero’s and Friends. I was working with Purina and they sponsored it, so I demonstrated colt starting in the mornings, and Bob Avila, Ted Robinson, and Todd Bergen were the main stars the rest of the time. Pretty good company to keep.
Next John Lions and I did a day of demonstrations for “The Horse Industry Alliance “ and they bused thousands of school kids in for the show. All most of those city kids wanted to do was to pet a horse. It was at the Will Rodgers Coliseum, and it was so incredible to get to work in that great arena.
I think the next event was “The Road to the Horse (Camino del Caballo). It was another great experience for the whole family, and as part of our home school we spent a lot of time learning about the history and spending time in the old cattle pens. It was a great time in our lives as a young family, and even though I didn’t win it is a real good memory and I’m real proud I didn’t compromise my horsemanship just to try to win a contest. I do remember I did a roping and cattlehandling demo with my dogs and it was really a good one. I am glad our dogs Roper, Lasso and Johnny Cash got to work in Cowtown. They really did good.
I might have the order messed up, but the next thing I did was the “Tom Dorrance Benefit”. It was back at the John Justin arena at Will Rogers. It was another great experience that I felt real good about how I got by my colt, and I was very proud to get to be the auctioneer at the benefit auction. It was really the only time I really interacted with Ray Hunt, and he was running the show and I was selling. We sold the heck out of things!
I’m going to skip ahead a couple of events and stay with the benefit theme. We have had a friend and partner in the horse world for many years. Michael Richardson is a great inspiration and Horseman. He’s been in a wheel chair for lots of years and does great at helping people with their horses. He had some real bad luck with injuries and spider bites and all kinds of stuff. A bunch of us got together and did demonstrations in the stockyards coliseum and raised some money to help him out. It was good friends helping a good friend that would of done the same for us. It was a real special time, and It changed my opinions on some of the folks that were a part of it.
The next event was a real life changer. I had been trying to do more cattle handling demos. Charlie Trayer and I did some together for Ernie Rodina and I knew they had value, but it was mostly the horse crowd that was watching and they enjoyed them but it was more entertainment.
I was contacted by a fellow named Todd McCartney with the Texas and Southwest Cattleraisers Association. He wanted to do a live cattlehandling demo for the convention. It ended up I did the horseback portion, Joel Hamm did the on foot work, and Charlie Trayer did a cattlehandling with dogs.
It went real good, and Rene Loyd with the NCBA was watching and asked if we would all be willing to do it at the National Convention in Denver. We did and it was very well received and the Stockmanship and Stewardship program was born. Cattle handling demonstrations have been a part of every national convention since, and I don’t know how many demos I’ve done demonstrating cattlehandling around North America, but it has been a bunch, and it all got started because of Todd and the “gigg” in Fort Worth.
It’s real fun to be working cattle horseback in downtown Reno, or Tampa, or even New Orleans in front of some of the real progressive cattle producers in the country.
I been back to the TSCRA convention three times doing demos. They have been in the convention center in downtown FW. My now very good friend Todd McCartney, brought me his son “Young Ben”(think Lonesome Dove) very nice horse so it was easy for me to be in the right place at the right time.
Everything worked great, We got to see lots of old friends and make some new ones, and my kinfolk from Coleman, Texas, Chris and Cindy Jamison spent some time with us, and I even got time to go down to the Stockyards and share some Ideas with the Fort Worth Herd Drovers,(I so much believe in and admire what they do). To top it all off we went and had breakfast at Esperanzas, my favorite place to eat breakfast in the world.
So it was a great way to finish up my last big run I told you about. I hope it’s not the last time I get to work in “Cowtown”, and who knows maybe I can take my Grandson “Neo” and show him around when he gets to where he would appreciate it. Maybe his dad will help him on a Bronc in there some day.