“What this country needs is dirtier finger nails, and cleaner minds.”
There are stories, that are never told. Stories that are written underneath an old straw hat or during a snow storm. Stories that tell of life lessons, cold winters, the natural circle of life, or the rarity of nature. These stories are lost, forever forgotten by the ones who have lived them, especially during this day and age when hard work and a good horse are hardly heard of any more. So I say this, Cowboy, share your stories.
Share your stories not just around a fire or in a bunk house, shooting the shit with your buddies, share them with the little boy watching you behind the chutes or the one outside the branding pen. The one who tells everyone that cowboys are his heroes and he wants to be one when he grows up. Take your time to scoop him up, and give him a lesson or two.
Share your stories to the old man, who is wheel chair bound, fighting alzheimer’s. I bet you would have never guessed that he was a legend back in his day, riding some of the rankest broncs, a legend he was, just the stickiest son of a gun you could ever see. Share your stories with him, because, for just a split moment, he may remember all those wild times that he had with buddies he cannot remember, or the lovers he once had until he found his one and settled down. It will give him a little piece of freedom and some of that youth back, it may save his life more than you realize, take the time and share your stories.
Moments you experience pushing up cattle, stepping on a bucking bronc, or behind the chutes after a rodeo are history in the making. They are of a time that may soon fade away, and it is your job to preserve every last thought, experience, and mindset.
Share your stories with your family and friends, your kids, your future grandkids. Write them down, pass them on. Cherish the history that you are making. Do not let this new day and technology mask what you have to offer this world. Allow the world to see the value in a good horse, or the joy of a new calf, or the discouragement when the rain hasn’t come or the snow is too thick.
Cry during your story, laugh, note the scars and marks, count every wrinkle, embrace the gray hairs, give meaning to the life you living. Never let a day go to waste.
And Baxter Black said it well, not only for rodeo cowboys, but for all cowboys:
“There’s a hundred years of history, and a hundred before that
all gathered in the thinking going on beneath this hat.
The cold flame burns within him till his skin’s as cold as ice, and the dues he paid to get here are worth every sacrifice.
All the miles spend sleepy driving, all the money down the drain, all the ‘if I’s’ and ‘nearlys’ all the bandages and the pain,
All the female tears left drying, all the fever and the fight, are just a small down payment on the ride he makes tonight.
It’s guts and love and glory, One mortals chance at fame,
His legacy is rodeo,
And cowboy is his name“