I have spent the last three days doing what I really like to do in a place I really like to be. Cattle, Colts, kids and family’s in the prairie lands of South Dakota.
I flew into Rapid City Thursday evening and we did a cattle handling day in the shadow of “Bear Butte” near Sturgis, South Dakota at the Blair Brothers Angus Ranch all day Friday. A real crowd of cattleman of all ages that really were there to become better stockman. We worked with some bawling calves that were real good to handle, and we were able to demonstrate getting them out of a pen, working with them to settle them, loaded a straight deck semi out of a “Bud Box” horseback and on foot, sorted in an alley, worked through processing barn and discussed BQA in the chute. Real good work for everyone to see and discuss.
I really think the folks that came got to see a lot and left with a lot to think about. The Blair family were great hosts and we sure all ate good. The The South Dakota Grazing Land Coalition did a great job hosting the event.
If we go back in time about twenty years or so I started doing horse clinics in the Rapid City area with Deb Black. Her son Ryan Rypkama and another young fellow by the name of Riley Kammerer were around in those days. They decided they wanted to start some colts with the next generation of kids, so we did. Some of their other friends brought kids and colts and away we went. That makes three generations of Debs family.
It was so enjoyable to watch parents and kids working together and making so much progress learning and teaching. I just got to orchestrate things and they did all the hands on. To watch a Dad snub up a colt for his 14 year old daughter, or an uncle help a 12 year old nephew get by a snorty draft cross bronco, and husband and wife and two kids all starting colts together and having fun doing it was just great to be a part of.
It never ceases to amaze me at how good kids and colts can do and how much change they can make in two days.
After we finished up on Sunday, my host needed to move his cows as he is on a rotational grazing program, and it was time to move. He, his wife and myself went out and gathered and moved a few hundred pair in a beautiful South Dakota evening. I could see Bear Butte in the distance, the cows moved really nice, I was riding a real nice horse and the wind wasn’t blowing, so it was a great way to finish the work of the weekend. Content cows on grass, riding back to the house with good people knowing the work that you had done the past three days was good work, and knowing you were going to have a good steak in a ranch house kitchen with a good family made it a very special evening, a great way to finish a very special weekend.
Riley Kammerer had put all this together. He and his wife Jimmy and their three wonderful daughters are living ranch life to its fullest. They are an old time family in a modern age. I really appreciate them letting me get to be a part of the family for the weekend.
From what I observed they have their priorities right and do what matters for their livestock, land, kids and people they care about.
So I am back to thinking I have the best job in the world. Good people is what makes it, and animals and the land are what gets me there.