Spring Time

We have had quite a winter here in Ryegate, Montana.  Lots of challenges for producers of livestock.  I think we broke the record for most snow on record.

This song has been a favorite of mine for a long time and it just fits, as we had another wet snow this week, and I think it may be springtime finally.  Mother Nature sure is something.

Saturday music

I could of chose a real cowboy ethics song or “Honesty” by Billy Joel  to go with the discussions of the past week but I think we’ve had enough of that for a while.  You can dwell on that stuff and make a big deal out of it and it will get you down, or you can get over it by listening to a good song.

Music can do lots of things for us.  For me, It’s the whole package that gives me a little endorphin release that gives me pleasure, sort of like a horse cribbin or Pickens your nose, it just makes you feel good.

I really enjoy Junior Brown.  I like his voice and how he hangs onto words and then gets real deep with it,  the way he dresses, how he honors tradition, and his music playing talent.

Wife Tammy and I spent some time with a real nice young man this week in Big Timber, Montana and he had worked for the Montana Highway Patrol in the past and when we lived in Big Timber during the filming of the “Horse Wisperer” Tammy got a ticket for not obeying traffic law, so I think this is a great song for the Saturday Music.


Honest Answer


A little follow up to “Be honest with yourself”.

I didn’t know it but the fellow I made the deal with read my scoop loop. He replied to me in an email, and it ended up being a real positive experience for me, and hopefully him.

Here’s what happens sometimes. We lose control of things, and other people make decisions that may not know all the details, and then the original deal is not met. While this explains why it happens, it still does not mean a promise was not made and broken. This may be what the term growing pains in business is part of.

When we purchased our place we are on from Fred Cougill, he gave us some things. The one I really liked was a flat bottom aluminum canoe, as we live on the Musselshell river, it would have been great to float the shallow river.

Through circumstances when it came time to move all Fred’s possessions off, he was in Arizona (He’s almost 90)and his daughters and there husbands came and moved his belongings to Oregon where they lived. I was gone, they new nothing of the deal, so they did what they were supposed to do and moved the canoe. Just circumstances that created a result, that was not the end of the world, and I probably would have never used it anyway. An honest set of circumstances that created an outcome.


The problem I have with the deal I wrote about is it’s either ego based, on account of me doing some things with a competitor or a lack of management skills. When we made the deal there was never an exclusive or any other stipulations. I would preform stockmanship demonstrations, that was it.

The man I made the deal with was strait up and apologized and didn’t make excuses. I appreciate that. Here is a little piece of what he wrote.

“This has helped me to review myself and I humbly trust I have learned something to improve the way I do business”

I really believe this has been a good experience for me, and I am glad I got the email that set it all off, or I would not of said anything and held a resentment. I think it has been a good experience for the other party as they seemed to have benefited from it as well.

Being honest is not easy, we must work on it, and help others work on it.


Be Honest With Yourself

I’ve been awake since 2:00 am and can’t sleep. Been thinking about honesty.
I recently had a situation that I made an agreement with a CEO of a company, and they backed out of the agreement. I found out that they had hired a good friend of mine to replace me, and while I know he will do a great job, and he knew nothing about my deal, the company did, and that’s not right.

I decided to leave it alone and not say anything to them.  Then I got an email from one of their marketers wanting to do some things but questioning some of the moral standards of some of the competitors of theirs that I had done some work with.  They now know how I feel about moral standards.

It’s got me to thinking about how to deal with right and wrong.

I remember when I was real young, we were at the Townsend Rodeo. Bill LaFromboise, a Native American guy I’ve mentioned before gave me some money to get us a hamburger and drinks. I decided to keep the change and tell him I didn’t get any. Well that didn’t work very good as he took me back to the concession stand, and they said they gave me change. My Mother didn’t put up with that and I got in lots of trouble and paid for it for a couple weeks of no TV and lots of extra chores. I learned a lesson in dishonesty and stealing.

I have put myself in situations in my life when I have not been honest with myself and others. Nothing good came out of it. Whatever I’ve gained was overcome by the results of not being honest.

I was in Nebraska last week at the Rex Ranch. Tom Drieling was telling me about a mechanic that worked on his car, and it had some problems, and he stood behind it 100%. Tom pointed out that he had to be honest because of the small amount of people in the Sand Hills community, that he would be out of business because every one would know if he didn’t do right.

This is a very important point. Honesty is so easy to fudge on trying to take the easy way out of something, or letting the desire for something overcome moral standards to get what you think you need or want.

I have worked with lots of different religious based groups. I always hear about if there is one, they will drink of steal, but if there are two they won’t. This might be true, or just that someone that is different in the way they dress, live or believe than we do makes us question their honesty.

But this really brings up a good point. We keep each other honest. If we don’t, our society will fall apart. The smaller the community the easier it is to get caught in a dishonest act. This is what is so great about the ranching community. It’s a small world that is very connected. If someone is dishonest on a cattle deal, word spreads like wildfire, and that person goes away. This is why we can still do business so much of the time on a handshake. Your hand shake is your contract to your word, and if your word is not good, pretty soon no one will shake your hand.

I feel this is one of the real advantages of a small church community. It keeps everyone looking each other in the eye, which helps folks pass on the temptations that are so abundant these days. We find comfort and support in like minded people.

I can’t remember being at anything of Bud Williams that he didn’t say “ you must be honest with yourself”. This is probably the most important thing he said, and he said a lot of important things.

Be honest with yourself. That’s quite a statement if you think about it, and it’s not much of a statement if you don’t take time to think about it.

If you take the time and put the effort into thinking about it and working on what you need to do, then you can be honest with yourself. If you have moral standards and are honest with yourself, then you can be honest with others.

Two of the biggest problems I see today are taking on to much debt and more to do than you have time for. These two things will cause you to not be honest with yourself and that will start the “when bad becomes normal” behavior.

I feel that one of the most important thing the leader of a country should do is set the moral tone of a country. As I think back to the presidents in my life and what they did for the moral standards of our country, it doesn’t matter so much the party they represented but the standards they set for us. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush senior, George Bush junior, and Barrack Obama seemed to have good family lives, didn’t use vulgar language, and lived life in public that no matter what your political views you have, you could admire the example they set for the country. I can’t say that for the others that have been president in my lifetime.

The one that sticks out the most is President Reagan. He had a way of being president that even if people in power didn’t agree with him, they respected him because they new he was going to do what he promised, and he was not afraid to look anyone in the eye and tell them how it was. It was a great moral time for the country with Reagan raising the standards for the whole world. I wish we could get back to that.

President Trump might be getting a lot done and may be good for the economy, and might be achieving lots of on the world scene, but I really feel he is not being a good example for moral standards to our country, and that makes me concerned that honesty will be lessened to our moral standards level.

Now, back to what got me to not sleeping. I don’t know the reasons the company didn’t follow through with the deal we made. I do know I have never not kept my word to them. The only thing I have control over is my decision to allow it to happen again. I won’t.

So, be honest with yourself. Do business and associate with people that have the same or higher moral standards than you do. You can’t make people choose to be honest, but you can choose honest people.


Whoop Up Trail-Because He Lives

Last Sunday I flew to Denver and then drove North to Wellington Colorado to do a little business. Leachman Cattle Company know how to put on a bull sale and give people what they want and need. People want knowledge and they had seminars on Sunday afternoon. They need good bulls, and they had plenty to choose from. They had a banquet Sunday evening that they fed 400 or so people, Lee Leachman spoke about why their bulls were what the folks needed, and why they were important to the future of the beef industry. I have heard him speak many times and from what I’ve seen he really gets it. I had a real nice dinner surrounded with the kind of folks I really like to be around, positive, progressive, winners that believe in what they do.

The entertainment was Wylie and the Wild West. I listen to lots of Wylie’s music so it was a big treat to see him live. I have always been a fan of yodeling. When we were back in the rodeo days and Buzz Copes green van, we were at the Maria’s county fair in Shelby, Montana and the “Idaho Yodeler” preformed in a concert and I bought a cassette of his. I was taking the night shift driving later on and was trying to yodel with the cassette while everyone was trying to sleep. That sort of ended my yodeling career because the next day my cassette tape disappeared never to be seen again.

I still love to listen to a good yodeler and Wylie is my favorite.


With it being Easter Sunday tomorrow, I hope this song will get you into the “Spirit” of what it is about, and take time to think it over a little.



I Don’t Like Texas!


I have spent the last few days in the great state of Texas. Visited our old stomping ground of Hubbard, Texas and seeing old friends, and then on to Fort Worth stockyards to work with Ron Gill and spent the day with the “Herd” drovers helping them with ideas to improve their stockmanship skills as they drive the longhorns on Exchange Avenue two times a day.

Ron and I rode drag to watch what was happening while the drove em. It was a great day and a real honor to get to follow those steers down the streets of Ranching history. Come to Fort Worth and see em, look on their website, and help keep this great part of history alive.  “www.fortworth.com/theherd” is the website.

When we finished at the stockyards I headed up to the Convention center
And did a cattle handling demo for Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers.

I spent three great days in Fort Worth. I’m not much for big city’s but with all the great people I met and listened too, I really enjoyed my time.

I got to meet and visit with Boots O’Neal. He is a legendary cowboy that has been employed by the 6666’s, and he explained to me what good stockmen some of the crew were, as well as good cowboys. It was so inspiring to visit with him, and to see how he lit up with pride when he talked of being a ranch cowboy.


I got to visit with my old friend and Mentor, Bob Tallman. I went to He and Bob Feist rodeo announcing school many years ago. I really feel what they taught me, the skill to communicate what is happening in front of an audience, and explaining it in terms that helps them “see it” is why I get to go and do what I do. He was as full of life and B.S. as ever, and still got that twinkle in his eye when he really got emotional about something, and he is passionate in all directions.

Priefert set up the pen in the demo area. I just wonder how many times I’ve looked at an audience through a set of Priefert panels, in the last twenty years?
I will say this, their products have kept on improving over the years, and as I told my long time friend and Priefert employee David Fillibrown, they have always done what they said they were going to do. I guess you do that when your from Texas and your name is on the product. Not all equipment company’s have done that to me lately. Priefert has earned my trust and loyalty for the past twenty years.

I also received a new Greeley Hatworks hat and sterling silver toothpick and had the pleasure of watching Trent shape it.  He named this hat style the “Johnson County” from the history around Johnson County ,Wyoming and all the controversy around the Tom Horn legend.

Many of the folks at the convention commented on my Greeley hat.  I will say you can judge a mans style by his hat, but not his honesty, integrity, or skill.  I think people often do.  I’m a traditionalist and as I looked at the pictures in the Exchange building at the stockyards, and see photos from the old days, I am wearing a hat that is much more traditional to all parts of North America, and especially to the “Stockman” I am trying to bring back and represent.  I actually think I’m wearing a traditional Texas hat, and the new big brims are more of a modern thing.  I like both styles, but have learned to get to know someone before you go to judging his character or doing business with him.

If you want to figure out the northern versus the southern cowboy here are three ways.  The shape of his hat, how much ice he puts in his tea glass, and if he says “Ya’ll or “You guys”.  If your still not sure, if you hear the term “right smart”, “good bit” and “hug your neck” your talking to a Texan.

Texas is different. It is a huge state with many different climates and topography types. The thing that really sets it apart are it’s people, and I believe the people of agriculture, mainly Ranching are what have created lots of those people.

My friend and kin Chris Jameson came and spent the day with us on Thursday. He is a a product of Texas Ranch Genetics. His Daddy, the late Dick Jamison gave me my favorite book of all time, “The Time it Never Rained” and I believe it helped me to learn to live and act a little more Texan. His Mother, Virginia, was my Grandfathers sister, and she taught me about Texas ranching in a drought when I visited many years ago, and I got to help her pull sheep out of tanks that were bogged down, and take skinny old cows to the pens that had gotten addicted to prickly pear and couldn’t eat because of the thorns in their nose.

The people at the convention were so polite and enthusiastic about learning and wanting to share. Big Bend trailers let me hang my saddle and gear in the tack room of their great trailer. People doing talks and demos helped each other, and were real good about following rules and protocol. I’m telling you it’s just different in Texas.

So for this scoop loop I’m tied hard and fast as is the tradition in parts of Texas, and if you are confused about the title, I’ll come tight on it. I don’t like “Texas” , I love it, and can’t wait to get to go back.

Texas Pride

I’m in Fort Worth, at the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Convention this week.  I listened to Donnell Brown at the opening session and much of his talk was based on family pride. Great presentation.

Todd MacCartney offered to bring a horse in for me to ride.  I gladly accepted as they have real nice horses, and I asked to bring another horse and his son I call “Young Ben” to help. (he reminds me of one of the boys on John Wayne and the Cowboys so I had to give him a movie name)

Todd and wife Mary Ann have a great family and all the kids are just wonderful to be around.  It just happens that I’ve had the chance to work with Ben the most and I really enjoy seeing how Todd and Ben get along working together, and how proud Todd is of Bens skills.

Red Steagall sings Texas Ranching and cowboys.  He tells it as it should be told, so it the most fitting choice f

As I have watched my Friend Todd grow as a rancher and Father over the years, and when he speaks with such pride of Young Ben and all his children and wife, this seems to be a song written for Todd and all the other fathers that have watched their son dragging calves to the fire.