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On the Edge of Common Sense: Shipping Mr. Gerald’s Hereford

Baxter Black Published on 11 February 2013

Todd’s neighbor has raised good Hereford cattle as long as Todd has known him. As years went by Mr. Gerald, the neighbor, let his herd dwindle in numbers. Then last winter he fell and injured his knee.

Todd offered to help and was called upon. Just a word about Todd; he is an East River Dakota cattle farmer with the heart of a West River rancher. He’s a good horseman, wears a big hat and carries a 60-foot rope.

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Mr. Gerald wanted to ship some of his long yearlings. His whole herd consisted of 12 big cows, one old bull and assorted progeny. On the big day, Todd went to the back of the pasture and worked his way through the coulees and breaks, pushing what he could gather to the corral.

Mr. Gerald had his wife drive him out to help in their Jeep Wrangler SUV. Things went smoothly ’til they got close to the corral. In particular, Mr. Gerald wanted to ship a yearling bull who had somehow missed his castration appointment. After turning back at the gate twice, Mr. Gerald gave Todd permission to rope him.

Any fair-to-middlin’ roper relishes the opportunity to rope a big target, especially if it belongs to somebody else. It didn’t take long for Todd to run him down and rope him around his stubby horns.

The target refused to be led to the gate and Todd didn’t have enough horse to drag him. Plus, the bull ran up the rope a couple times trying to intimidate Todd. They were both losing their temper.

Todd yelled at Mr. Gerald to pull his Jeep up in front of the gate. His idea was to tie his rope over the bumper hitch and let the Jeep drag the bull into the corral.

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Now I can imagine you readers trying to picture Todd accomplishing this feat of cowboy derring-do! But, I told you Todd was a good hand – and he did it. He managed to get a half-hitch over the ball and still escape entrapment and injury.

In a testosterone milli-minute the bull encircled the Jeep like a yo-yo on a string, not once but three times, then jammed his head into the right front wheel well. The Jeep was rocking dangerously and the Geralds were trapped inside, being thrown about like orangutans in a paint shaker.

In an act of sacrifice, Todd leaped in and cut his good rope, freeing the front-seat prisoners. The bulk of the rope ran off with the yearling bull over the horizon. Mr. Gerald rolled his window down, pulled his “Herefords Forever” cap off his eyes and turned to watch the bull disappear.

“Well,” he said with the wisdom of an ol’ timer, “He wasn’t quite ready to ship anyway.” PD

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