Saturday, 1 July 2017

Ride 'em in

If you're a cowboy like me, you come to Texas to rope 'em steers, brand 'em, and...whatever else you do with cattle.  Unfortunately the ultra-urban setting of Houston gives scant opportunity to drive a herd of longhorns thousands of miles across the plains, and the newly-formed Davies Tours (Texan Division) knows what its customers want to see when they visit.  We needed a plan.

Luckily something called the Internet informed me that George Ranch Historic Park was just down the road.  It's a place with a long and storied history; Texas used to belong to Mexico but no one would live here, so the Mexican government contracted with one Stephen Austin to bring Americans down to become Mexican citizens and populate the place.  If you said you were going to be a farmer you got 170 acres of land.  If you said you were going to be a rancher you got 4000 acres of land (seven square miles!) and owned whatever wild longhorn cattle happened to be roaming about there.  Strangely most people became ranchers, and after a rebellion or two Texas was born.

The George family eventually accrued a good 12,000 acres, ran a massive cattle business, then found oil, etc. and remain quite a local force.  The ranch takes you from their first wood cabin to a prairie home, a Victorian mansion, and finally a cattle complex.  More importantly there are cowboy demonstrations every hour!  Except that even at 10am (when we were the only audience) it was already too hot to rope the calves.  Too hot for Texas cattle?  I pitied the many costumed volunteers who recreated ranch life as we traveled around.

This is what Texas is all about!  So taken was I with the experience that I went on the website to see what employment opportunities I could find.  "Part-Time Cowboy" jumped out at me immediately!  "Basic roping skills" it requires.  I can tie my own shoelaces - does that count?

We've been farming these plains for three generations...

"Tex" the longhorn.  Don't stand too close when he tries to swat away a fly.

Babies getting a dip.

Spud, the tame one, enjoying a brush.

Ride 'em, cowboy!  So proud.

Do you have wi-fi?

Put out to pasture.

Look before you sit.

Of course, there are other ways to make money in Texas beside ranching.

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