Dakota Cowboy

Two weeks of total stockmanship

For the past couple of weeks, as a matter of fact the whole fall has been seeing lots of different cattle in lots of different facilities. Canada, Mexico and last week in the Dakotas. 

There is a great book by Ike Blasingame titled “Dakota Cowboy” My Life in the Old Days.  If you a reader of western lifestyle I highly recommend it. It explains the life and people of the area in the Dakotas that used to have thousands of cattle shipped by train from the Texas country and grazed off the “Strip” a 6 mile wide by 80 mile long fenced area that opened up to vast areas of strong grass and good country.

The Flying 0 ranch owned by Wayne “Biz” Hepper is a big outfit with lots of cowboys of all different styles and levels of experience. Smally is from South Africa and heads up the crew, and each division of the ranch has a leader. The crew consists of flat brimmers to bull fighters and steer wrestlers and everything in between. There is a young guy from back east that had never ridden a horse before he came, and Scott who has been on lots of operations that is an excellent horseman and stockman.  They all work together to get lots of work done in much the same manner as 120 years ago as when the strip was in operation except now they have trailers and cell phones, but the days are still long and the weather is always a factor in the enjoyment and effectiveness of the day.

I’ll share some videos of the work, the country and the crew.  I’m sure glad I got to spend some time with them sharing ideas about everything stockmanship with a horseback style.

I will put some video of my time in Mexico up soon. Just getting them put together. 

Big open country with lots of grass
Thrown together on 27000 acres and headed to smaller trap for next days works
Gabe and Luke with nice movement of mothered up pairs
Brownie (an excellent hand and leader)spilling his pills laying out the gather
Mike getting a birthday tradition on the ranch

After a long week and many hours in the saddle everyone was proud of the work they had done, just as it was done in early 1900 and all through the years, and I hope in another hundred years it’s still the same.

I thank Biz and the crew for letting me be a part of the works and hope we were all better stockman at the end of the week than when we started.

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