They are forecasting single digit lows for tonight. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It happens every year about this time. So today we will start winterizing tanks, rolling up garden hoses, and insulating the pumphouse doors. Maybe. At least we will talk about it. We usually don’t do that stuff until the hoses are covered and the water lines have frozen. Because someone will call and need help weaning calves today. Or someone will text me that they need a partner in pinochle. In all my trips around the sun that is what I have learned.
Actually, it is a time of the year that starts to slow down a bit. Most ranches have pulled calves from the cows and moved the cows to winter pasture. Many are grazing fields or just getting cows preg-checked and ready to winter. Stock cow sales are starting to take place so you can usually find your rancher friends in town at least on sale day.
This weekend the Dickinson rodeo team put on their annual “Cowboys and Candlelights” fundraiser. It’s something we seldom miss. It’s a dress-up deal for those of us that seldom shave, seldom wear a tie, and dang sure never polish our boots. I had to wear my soft sole golf shoes. Boots were a mess and Shirley wouldn’t wipe them off after she had gotten cleaned up. I guess I could have just as well stayed single.
The event raises money for the cowboys and cowgirls that rodeo to keep gas in the vehicles, pay for motel rooms, and buy a few meals as they rodeo across their region. Rodeo is an expensive sport and the competitors pay their own way. But it does give many of them an opportunity to get an educational opportunity that they otherwise may not have. Come to think of it, although I went to school for five or six years, by my credits I am still a sophomore. I wasn’t a very good student. More important things easily distracted me. I won’t mention them here. Not sure of the statute of limitations.
One of the highlights is the awarding of the “Arena of Excellence” awards. Those awards go to a man and a woman that attended Dickinson, were part of the rodeo program, and have gone on to help others throughout their careers.
Judy Schnell of Dickinson was awarded in the woman’s division. She had been a part of the rodeo team and credited that experience with what has helped her in her career.
Pete Fredericks of Twin Buttes was the man awarded. Pete was instrumental in starting the Dickinson rodeo team. He was a national high school and collegiate champion. On the professional level, he made it to the big show, the NFR, three times. He operates a ranch on Fort Berthold along with his wife, Sylvia.
Pete told a few rodeo stories and left us with some good advice.
“Never quit lifting on that rein!”
If you ever attend a rodeo school, or watch a good bronc ride, listen up. You will hear cowboys hollering at the rider. “Lift! Lift!”
Lifting on the bronc rein helps keep you down in the saddle.
I never did learn that.
But it is a good lesson for life.
“Never quit lifting!”