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Baxter Black

Baxter Black tackles ag issues with a strong funny bone. Black is an American cowboy, poet, philosopher and former veterinarian.

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Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. Warm memories, overstuffed afternoons and family. Yet rising from this cornucopia of good feelings, like a rubber chicken from a shopping cart full of cut-up fryers, is that runner-up for national bird ... the turkey.

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If you saw a team roper with his hand behind his back, could you tell if he was a header or a heeler? I have done an extensive study on this very problem with a grant funded by the Pro Rodeo Ex-Wives Collection Agency and the Team Ropers Anonymous Halfway House. Here are the results of my findings:

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I had just finished bein’ on an extension program in the Herington, Kansas, sale barn. I was standin’ in the auction ring afterward, tryin’ to answer a few questions and shake hands with the local stockmen. My veterinary lecture, as usual, had been more humorous than informative.

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Have you ever been drivin’ a set of pasture cattle down the lane, and then you notice them stringin’ out longer and longer, driftin’ over into the ditches along the side till pretty soon you’re a half-mile ahead of the lead steer?

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It’s a pairing I never thought I’d see. Chip and Al. Al was a cowboy I worked with for 10 years. He was an example to lots of the young buckaroos. He was 25 years older than me. We met one spring when he was in a cow camp on the Brown Place in North Fork, Nevada.

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