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A good friend from across the state line called me the day before yesterday and asked if I would bring a horse and help him gather a bunch of steers turned loose in a timbered 200-acre plot. He said he thought he had help lined up but one got the covid-19 and others were exposed, so he was down to two locals ready to help.

I listened patiently and finally asked, "Why me?" and he said his dad gave him my number.

His dad and I have been friends since way back to tumbleweeds and black dirt country. So I asked what time and the directions and said I'd be there.

I loaded the roping horse, Quter Quarter, he is many years younger than Snip, and we left home feeling pretty young and western. My registered horse is named Snip. Quter Quarter's registered name is Quter Than. I hung the rest on him against my close relative's wishes by saying he wasn't worth more than a quarter. I am believing you get the Cuter is not spelled correctly.

So we unloaded and shook hands, got the story about the trucker pulling in with a pot load of 600-pound steers, opened the tailgate and turned them loose. The cattle are pretty good kinds, just spooky and not 600 pounders now. The estimate is 1,100 to 1,150 per head and they were watching every move we made.

The boss poured cubes in the cement troughs for a quarter of a mile and the sound brought up a cloud of dust and the sound of thunder. They did like to be fed and so we very easily rode to the west along the fence line. All the help turned out to be good cowboys, rode good horses and were nice fellers. The deal was working fine and all was well until the bay horse next to me boogered at something and started bucking. Then another, well broke, overfed and under rode, broke in two and the grunting was on. The only thing that saved me was the open fence line and I spurred Quarter and we lit out like a scalded cat.

The young rodeo was over pretty quick and the steers were all safe behind trees, watching from the east end of 200 acres. Both bronc riders rode and finally pulled their horses' heads up and did some exercising that was sure called for!

We met back at the trailers and had some laughs and a cup of coffee we appreciated. We agreed to come back in three weeks, after a fence was constructed to separate the feeding area from the Black Forest!

It is my opinion, and everyone has one, we are a blessed bunch of fellers around here. We all have enough food, running water in the house, warm clothes, and some of us have grands that ride the good horses right regular! The tracks made almost daily around the place are worth the effort for horse and grand. They both have time to learn things and feel the world as God intended, fresh and free!

I can't find my long johns and I suspect they went to town in a bunch of giveaways! If you find them return for a reward!

Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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