This is the snake the cows turned over when it was full.
This is the snake the cows turned over when it was full.


It’s calf dragging time. Every working cowboy’s favorite. Area ranches share their cowboys to brand the calves. So it’s a big get together that lasts for weeks. Good food at the wagon, good company and work we enjoy.
Memories are made dragging calves. Mike and I had our second date dragging calves together. Tomorrow we get to drag a few. We are proud of each other and our horses dragging calves to the fire. There is a strict etiquette and structure in a good dragging crew.
Sometimes things happen that are a little out of the ordinary.
One time we were dragging on Whitmire Ranch. There is a good set of pens where we were working, but it has no alleyways. We set up a portable snake coming out of one gate. When the cows were cut off the calves we were running them through the portable snake to give lepto shots and worm.
Steve Perkins was on one side with the shot guns and I was on the other with the worming jug. I noticed after a while that my side of the panels was no longer on the ground. I was afraid a cow might get a foot under it so I asked Steve what he thought.
“Not much we can do about it now,” he said. “Looks like less than 100 more. Let’s just see if we can slide on out.”
And for a couple of more bunches through we got along OK.
These cows were horned, tiger striped F1s. If you eased around them they might not get stirred up, but if they did it could get a little western.
One cow in the middle of the snake started getting a little antsy.
“Hurry,” Steve said. “We need to get this bunch out of here.”
A long-legged steer tripper carrying a couple of shot guns can move faster than me in batwings, with a full wormer jug and the tube to the gun wrapped around my neck cause it’s too long, but I was trying.
Then the snake started to tip. That upset the cows more.
“Run,” Steve yelled at me. “It’s going over and these bitches are gonna be mad.”
I pitched the wormer jug. Luckily a feed truck was close by. I scrambled under the cow catcher.
Looking out from under the truck, the scene was like watching one of those slow motion videos of a building implosion.
The snake slowly fell onto its side, full of cows. Steve was right, they were mad. It took awhile for them to get loose from all that metal and flounder to their feet, but they got up mad.
Steve had made it to the pen. Several mounted cowboys came to keep the cows out of the metal and we set about figuring what to do.
The snake was reset and feed trucks were put on each side so it could be wenched down to the cowcatchers. That worked just fine.
I hope nothing that exciting happens tomorrow – but you just never know.
And for Benny Barnes – I have a picture of the wrecked snake somewhere I am trying to find. I will post it when I do.

4 thoughts on “The best time of year

  1. Having fun doing what you love , doesn’t get any better than that. I have a feeling working cows the way I am used to doing it and the way you do it are not quite the same, but either way the unexpected are what keeps it interesting.

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