I grew up in western Kansas and spent a lot of my K-12 years working on an uncle’s eastern Kansas ranch. My cousins were actual cowboys, even winning state roping and riding championships. I liked the work, it turned out that I don’t like horses all that much. In the late-60s, my wife and I rented an apartment from a dude in Dallas who desperately wanted to be a rich guy and had bought a “ranch” that he planned on turning into a horse breeding business. Since my wife loves horses and I had spent some of my youth working on an uncle’s ranch, our landlord thought we’d be cheap help on his ranch. For two years, I trained, fed, castrated, exercised, and got tossed on my ass by a motley collection of thoroughbreds and quarter horses. Most of which were almost as smart as a two-stroke motorcycle; especially the thoroughbreds. I have documented my horsie experiences before, in Geezer with A Grudge: “#48 An Attempt at Understanding.” The end result is that I have enough trouble keeping track of one scatterbrain and I generally don’t ride horses or want to ride horses.
At the beginning of my electronics career, I worked in commercial ag equipment; electronic scales, to be precise. Most of my customers were cattle, hog, and horse (seriously) feedlot owners from South Texas to North Dakota and all states between and east to Louisiana and west to the Rockies. I met a lot of working cowboys in that job and saw a lot of rodeos. I am not one, but I know a cowboy when I see or hear one and I know a great rider when I see one.
There are two things that are guaranteed to piss me off are Nashville country singers wearing cowboy hats and Harley asshats pretending that their idiotic motorcycles are throwbacks to “western American riding style.” The picture (left) is of my wife’s grandfather, Ira McKeever, a real live western saddle cowboy and if you can see a resemblance between his saddle position and a Harley’s traditional gynecological exam awkwardness, you need both glasses and some damn sense. You’ll notice a real cowboy doesn’t wear that ridiculous asshat Nashville city boys pretend is a cowboy hat, either.