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The Real Deal - A Young Working Cowboy In Today's World


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southplains

Dakota has been putting in a lot of hard hours the last few weeks. In the saddle before 6am, and then sometimes working until 10 and 11 at night--one day last week he didn't get off until 1am, and then had to be out again before dawn. He's exhausted. No time currently for him to join us here, I'm afraid.

But here's one of his most current photos. If you've ever wondered what it looks like to be on the other end of a rope from a lassoed bull, here it is.


String

is a very important thing.

Rope is thicker

but string is quicker.

Here's a case where you need both "quick" and "thick!" (And I must admit, pulling out my cellphone to take a photo isn't the first thing I would be thinking of doing if I were in this situation.)

bull_zps0lw2kyud.jpg

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Top Hand Cattle Co.

Laddigo is 3 years old and is the punchiest little hand I've ever seen. I put him on his pony one day and she started trying to buck him off. He grabbed his hat and started whacking her with it lol. While most kids his age are still trying to get the hang of potty training he's already stomping Broncs.

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I haven't updated this thread in quite some time because we've had some developments. I'll try now to catch you all up. (I may get some of these details wrong, so Top Hand will have to correct me, as usual. ;) )

When last we saw our young cowboy, Dakota, (aka Top Hand) he was working cattle in southwestern Kansas on the P5 Ranch near the Colorado border. By summer, his lovely girlfriend Sarah missed him so much that she moved up there to be with him. Shortly thereafter, Dakota popped the big question, and he did it in prime cowboy fashion. First he went out and roped a heifer that needed doctoring. All the cows wear an ear tag with a number on it, so on the back of this cow’s tag, he wrote “Will You Marry Me?” Then he called Sarah, telling her he needed her help.

So Sarah drove up in her pickup truck to find Dakota on his horse with the cow tied on the ground. “I need you to read me the number on her tag,” he said, so even though she wondered why he couldn’t have read it himself, she did as he asked, reading the number off to him. “No, read the other side,” he told her. So she flipped the tag over, and there was the Big Question!

She said yes. ;)

The wedding is in April. We were very fortunate to meet a man who is doing a documentary on old Texas dancehalls. In an ironic turn of events, he has offered to video the wedding in exchange for allowing him to use portions of it in the documentary. So you will all be allowed to join us via the video! There will be horses and wagons and campfires.

They had the presence of mind to take a couple of selfies at the time of the proposal. (No other human around out there to help them take pics, lol!) Here they are, still holding down the cow with the Big Question tag in her ear while Dakota takes a picture with his phone. (Please ignore Dakota's dirty face; he had been out working since before dawn. ;) )

proposal%20day%202%20edited_zpstxaitwky.

And this is one Sarah took of Dakota right after they released the cow.

proposal%20day%201%20lighter_zps1h6huqtt

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A few years ago, Dakota was gored by a bull. The lingering injury has caused his shoulder to intermittently pop out of socket. He has always been able to pop it back into place, but in July it happened again and was stubborn about being put back. He had been delaying surgery as long as possible, but knew the time had come to get it taken care of. Because of the lengthy rest period that would be required for the shoulder to heal, the decision was made for him and Sarah to move back home to Texas with us until he could work again. The owner of the P5 told him to come back when he was ready.

So he had the surgery done in the fall and has healed enough to start working again, but they will be with us until the wedding. In the meantime, he is putting in long hours training cutting horses and starting colts. Even though his old boss had given him an open invitation to come back any time, he and Sarah thought they might investigate some other ranches. He put out a resume, did some searching, and talked to some ranch owners and foremen. This past Sunday, he received and accepted a job offer at the 100,000 acre Pitchfork Ranch in Meeteetse, Wyoming, which is nestled up against Yellowstone National Park. They will be leaving for the new job immediately after the wedding. I am both sad to see them go and excited for them as they begin their lives together.

From July until September, the newlyweds will be up on a mountain in a line shack inside Yellowstone with no electricity and no running water other than a nearby stream. Dakota will be in charge of watching over 850 pairs during this time. (No fences, mind you.) The foreman asked if he owned dogs. Dakota said yes. The foreman said that's good, because they will warn you when bears are close.

When September comes, the cattle are brought back down into the valley, so Dakota and Sarah can return to civilization then. The ranch foreman’s wife has expressed excitement at having another woman there. She has already offered Sarah a job helping with the cleaning and cooking at the brandings and such.

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Congratulations to Dakota and Sarah. You must all be really excited.

Thanks so much, Inca. Yes, we are really excited. She is a sweetheart, and just perfect for him. It isn't easy to find a girl these days who not only won't hesitate to get in there and help with the cattle and horses when necessary, but who also doesn't balk at the thought of spending two straight months on a mountain with no plumbing, electricity, or phones! ;)

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Thanks so much, Inca. Yes, we are really excited. She is a sweetheart, and just perfect for him. It isn't easy to find a girl these days who not only won't hesitate to get in there and help with the cattle and horses when necessary, but who also doesn't balk at the thought of spending two straight months on a mountain with no plumbing, electricity, or phones! ;)

Of course, she may change her mind after those first two months...

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Mazel Tov, (congratulations), SP! Sarah sounds like a wonderful girl! So happy for them and for you, Ma!

Thanks so much, Michele! Yes, we do love her. It's funny how things work out--his surgery has meant them both living with us until after the wedding, and that has been a blessing because we've gotten to know her so much better than we would have otherwise. (Six people in a 1,200-square-foot house is a LOT of family togetherness, lol!)

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:lol: She may be thinking something along the lines of "What have I done?" :lol:

They'll love it. It's amazing what's fun when you're young. My mother and father spent their honeymoon in 1960, in a garden shed in the Lake District, after an overnight bus ride to get there. Admittedly, the shed had curtains at the window and a bed inside, but no electricity and no running water. Came complete with a bucket for a toilet. It was all they could afford at that point.

I always smile when I see my parents' honeymoon photos because my mother was walking miles around the lakes and mountains in a summer dress, cardigan and low-heeled sandals. These days, you'd be togged up with waterproofs, rucksacks and hiking gear. But at the time, she only owned her work clothes and her "best" dress.

I think it's called character building.

Next thing is, you'll be a grandma....

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They'll love it. It's amazing what's fun when you're young. My mother and father spent their honeymoon in 1960, in a garden shed in the Lake District, after an overnight bus ride to get there. Admittedly, the shed had curtains at the window and a bed inside, but no electricity and no running water. Came complete with a bucket for a toilet. It was all they could afford at that point.

I always smile when I see my parents' honeymoon photos because my mother was walking miles around the lakes and mountains in a summer dress, cardigan and low-heeled sandals. These days, you'd be togged up with waterproofs, rucksacks and hiking gear. But at the time, she only owned her work clothes and her "best" dress.

I think it's called character building.

Next thing is, you'll be a grandma....

I'm actually very envious. I'd give anything to be able to join them!

Can you imagine newlyweds today having a honeymoon like your parents had? The vast majority of people would be turning up their noses at such a situation. We've become so soft and pampered.

Hopefully the grandma thing will hold off for a couple of years. It's always nice for a couple to have at least a little bit of time to themselves before children change their lives forever. ) And when they finally do get pregnant, I hope they time it where they aren't up on that mountain during the last couple of months. :rolleyes:

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I'm actually very envious. I'd give anything to be able to join them!

Can you imagine newlyweds today having a honeymoon like your parents had? The vast majority of people would be turning up their noses at such a situation. We've become so soft and pampered.

Hopefully the grandma thing will hold off for a couple of years. It's always nice for a couple to have at least a little bit of time to themselves before children change their lives forever. ) And when they finally do get pregnant, I hope they time it where they aren't up on that mountain during the last couple of months. :rolleyes:

My "roughing it" days are past, I hope. Although I really enjoyed it when I was younger, now I really appreciate a bit of luxury. At least I know it wouldn't phase me, though, to have to do without mod cons if I had to. It's amazing how quickly you adapt. I'll put up with most things, but I do like a decent toilet.

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