Customer Testimonial from International guest from Germany.  Scroll down for English translation about their visit at Howard Ranch.

English Translation:

Stop 3: Woodward, Howard Ranch and hard work

We drive west. The country becomes sparser. In the small towns we drive through, we see mainly one thing: ranchers and cowboys. Huge pickups parked in front of farm stores, dusty hats, worn jackets, the gas station a gathering place for exchanging the latest news. No house without a barn or cattle pen. And definitely more churches than bars.

Our host Justin is still in the process of stocking up on land and cattle. With his 38 years he is too old and too often hurt to continue his life as a rodeo cowboy. For over a decade Justin has broken in horses and has come far as a Saddle Bronc Rider. Today he is building himself a second life on his family farm. Whatever money he can earn from building barns he puts into more land, new calves or a new breeding mare for his Quarter Horse Breeding business. And once in a while he takes in hunting guests or cowboy fans, like us, in his bunkhouse.

Justin works mainly alone. Out here neighbors help each other. And to work as a cowboy, is not just something one does here for a job, but a lifestyle one has intentionally chosen, with all its consequences.

Before sunup we drive out to the pasture. The radio plays cowboy poetry and country music. Neighbor Kevin is a “day worker,” a cowboy one can “buy” by the day – and a poet. In the back of the pickup is the fire oven for the branding iron and cow dog Pancho, and on the hitch the trailer with our horses. The sun comes up. The rest of the day we spend driving the cattle out of impassable terrain, separating the calves from their protesting mothers and – depending on size – either roping them or putting them in a working chute, a mobile station where calves can be pinned up. Then they get castrated, marked with ear tags, branded, vaccinated and dehorned. All this happens so quickly, that the little ones don’t know what happens to them. We get back to the bunkhouse at dark.

After three days we ask ourselves how Justin can manage to do all this. We need a vacation from our vacation.

And Justin invites us on a trip to Amarillo, Texas. There, a large ranch rodeo is taking place, which no one wants to see, because we know it already. But, the sales booths in the two huge halls let no one cold. And I cannot keep my eyes off the handsomest, best dressed and well groomed cowboys I have ever seen. We stumble out of the hall heavy laden with hats, chaps and spurs. And by the way, to drive for 4.5 hours just to shop doesn’t deter anyone here. On the drive through cotton fields and oil pump stations we talk about weight gain of calves, the advantage of Luzerne over hey, and quarter horse breeding lines. We eat a huge steak at Charly’s bar, a place we would not have found by ourselves nor had the courage to go inside.

And for the next day a side trip to Woodward is on the agenda. We heard on the radio that today the Mounted Shooters perform on the rodeo grounds. They pride themselves to shoot down the most balloons on a course at full gallop with real bullets; a fast and loud entertainment. We get the insider information and find out, that the horses are equipped with ear plugs. Most practical are the fur mice, which are actually cat toys. Once again we have become smarter.

 

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