Best lessons discovered on your own
November 6, 2010
Jim told me a story of his youth. Of course, it could have happened yesterday knowing cowboys the way I do.
Jim was 12. His brothers were two years off, either way. Their dad sent the boys out a’horseback to bring in Bully Boy, one of their herd sires, to the home corrals. Instructions were to stand off by the water trap until Bully Boy came in. Then make sure they close the trap before any other bulls came in, to avoid a bull fight.
The boys had been told many, many, many times to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER get around, beside or between any bulls that were fighting. It was a rule of the range.
Our teenage trio sat at the trap for an hour before they saw Bully Boy coming in with a handful of cows. They arrived without fanfare. The boys could have ridden up and shut the gate easily but … coming out of the brush they saw another bull, a big red one, trudging up the trail to the trap.
“Hold him back!” said the eldest.
“Wouldn’t you like to see a bull fight?” asked Jim.
Well, whatever convoluted logic one might use to make it seem OK carried the day. They rode into the trap and pushed Bully Boy out to meet Big Red.
It couldn’t have been better planned. The two bulls went right for each other. Allow me to quote: