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This is Page 64.

See some past weeks' photos below.

See an index of all past weeks' photos here.

See Page 1 here with the current photo of the week.

 

We welcome your pictures. We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We're looking for vintage photos and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo to share, email us for information about sending it to us.

Each week, we'll post selected photos from those received. We'll also share some photos posted previously elsewhere at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

Send your photo.

 Email us for information about sending it to us.

 

 

If you enjoy this feature, you may also be interested in our 
Western Memories Project, the personal recollections— many with photos— contributed by BAR-D visitors.  Your stories and photos are welcome.


 

 

We welcome your photos.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


previous  photos

index of all photos


Week of December 21, 2009


We welcome your photos.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


previous  photos

index of all photos


Montana singer and songwriter Stephanie Davis reports on the happenings at her Trail's End Ranch with periodic Ranch News postings at her web site, www.stephaniedavis.net. The entries are filled with characters (both human and animal), history, cowboy philosophy, humor, and her always-interesting observations.

We excerpt that news now and then for Picture the West. Here are some recent Winter entries, some that refer to Rodney Nelson and last week's Picture the West. 

Read all of the Trail's End Ranch News at www.stephaniedavis.net.


Winter 10, Autumn, 0

Weather extremes here at Trail's End! After several record-breaking, early October, 85-degee days, the mercury plunged to the single digits, and now a foot of wet, heavy snow blankets the ranch. The poor cottonwoods along the creek sag and groan, their burgeoning canary plumage reduced overnight to a
dull brown, their annual pageant over before it began. Bewildered-looking meadowlarks stagger drunkenly around the feeders. A robin cocks his head skyward, as if inquiring as to whether someone at Headquarters forgot to send out the Migration Memo.

I descend the basement steps to a storage room, where, while rummaging through dusty boxes for long johns and mittens, I spy an orange crate of murder mysteries. In no time, I'm happily perched on an overturned bucket by the propane stove, hot cup of cocoa in one hand, serial killer in the other.

Just out the window, in the blue late-afternoon light, two steaming, frost-covered horses stamp and paw at the drifts in the corral. To the east, a small regiment of turkeys comb the sparkling, snow-covered barley fields; above and around them, the cedar-dotted foothills roll like huge swells in an endless white ocean. I blink and shake my head in wonder—yesterday I was sweating in shorts and a t-shirt, and today, I shouldn't be surprised to see the Marlboro man riding past, dragging a newly cut Christmas tree.  Then again, if the phrase "This, too, shall pass" applies to anything, it's Montana weather—the forecast this week calls for blue skies and temps in the 70s!



Rodney, Rooster, Rodeo Wrecks, and Reading Recommendations

Had a wonderful overnight visit recently with two of my favorite North Dakotans: rancher, cowboy poet, and bulldogger, Rodney Nelson of Sims, and rancher and bareback rider Donnie Schmid, from Bismarck. Returning from the National Senior Rodeo Championships in Winnemucca, they rolled into Trail's End at sunset.


Rodney, me and Donnie

After turning Rodney's bulldogging horse, Rooster, in the corral, they headed to the house, where we doctored Rodney's ear, which was still bleeding where he landed on it in the bulldogging competition the day before. Once we'd reached a consensus that he would likely survive and showed no more discernable brain damage than the average senior rodeo cowboy, we sat down to a pot of stew and some seriously entertaining rodeo wreck stories. Both Rodney and Donnie are marvelous storytellers, complete  with physical reenactments and exhibitions of the corresponding bruises, broken bones, and scars. I could have listened all night.


Rodney and Rooster in the corral
 

Later, the talk turned to book recommendations. Rodney's picks included the Montana-based story, Once A Hobo, which he graciously promised to lend his rare copy of. Whether from lack of television, long stretches of solitude, or just a genuine love of words and stories, I have never come across a more discerning and voracious bunch of readers than cowboys and cowboy poets. One of the great joys of being included in this bunch is the constant recommending and lending of books of all genres to each other. Oprah's Book Club has nothing on us!

The next morning, we walked down to the corral to find a nervous, lathered-up Rooster pacing and whinnying—I suspect either the  mountain lion or the cow moose and calf that have been hanging around camp made an appearance...anyway, poor Rooster was in such a hurry to depart Trail's End, he dang near loaded himself into the trailer! Thanks for the good company, boys, and stop in again anytime.


Heading Home

[see Picture the West below for more about Rodney Nelson and his rodeo career]
 


Of Coyotes and Hank Williams

Three a.m.: A hair-raising wail pierces the stillness. I sit up on one elbow, breathlessly listening for more, but alas, the concert is over—loneliness, heartache, grief, defiance, wild freedom, all packed into one exquisite note. Hank Williams himself could do no better.

With apologies to anyone trying to raise sheep for a living, I have a soft  spot for coyotes, especially their music. From joyful, full-moon chorales to lone, dead-of-night soliloquies, no evening on the ranch is complete without their expressive voices echoing the hills.


illustration by Rick Philipp of Trail's End and Recluse Records

Recently on a morning run, I came face to face with a young coyote. He was standing beside a cow path, and I'm not sure which of us was more surprised. For several rather incredible minutes, we stood looking each other over; me marveling at his perfectly camouflaged silvery-brown coat, his large, pointed ears, his stunning amber eyes; him warily eyeing my water backpack, ipod, and running shoes. At last, he broke the spell and loped off into the juniper, leaving me to my cow path.

With the exception of a persistent packrat or the occasional rattlesnake that gets too close to the house, we employ a "live and let live" approach to wildlife here at Trail's End. We enjoy seeing everything from marmots to mountain lions, and try our best to be good neighbors. Also, even when we did run cows, we never lost a single calf to coyotes or other predators. I suspect this has more to do with the abundance of rabbits and other game,  more than our particular benevolence. Of course, every outfit is different,
and I realize sometimes problem predators must be managed/dealt with, but the "shoot a coyote on sight" policy is not for us. However, judging from the racket along the creek last night, I suspect a few wild turkeys would vehemently disagree!

 

Stephanie Davis has contributed previous ranch news:

 

  A look back at Summer, 2009

  A June, 2009 installment of Ranch News from Trail's End

 


photo by Clark Marten

Read more about Stephanie Davis in our feature here.

Read more Ranch News here at Stephanie Davis' web site.

 


 

   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


Weeks of December 7 and 14, 2009

(Because of on abbreviated week of postings for the week of December 14,
the Picture the West below ran for two weeks.

 

We saw a recent rodeo photo of rancher, writer and poet Rodney Nelson, and asked if he'd share more photos for Picture the West. 


Jan Spencer photo; © 2009, used with permission
Rodney Nelson and Rooster, Lusk, Wyoming, 2009


We asked about his rodeo career and after some prodding, he told us:

My rodeo career is impressive only in length. I rode saddle broncs in the National High School Rodeo in 1967, rode broncs in the National College Finals in 1971, rode saddle broncs in the North American Rodeo Commission Finals in 1980, qualified for the North Dakota Rodeo Association finals in bronc riding at least 16 years; rode broncs in Senior Pro National Finals Rodeo in about 1991, and bulldogged in eight of the last ten years at the Senior Pro National Finals Rodeo. 

Throughout my rodeo career I have won very little. As a North Dakota bronc rider I used to be the tallest one, the heaviest one, then the oldest one. I am hoping maturity will some
day be on my side.

At the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering web site—Rodney has appeared there 15 times and will return in 2010—his bio tells:

Rodney started his rodeo career with a bang when he won third place in the calf riding at a rodeo in 1956. He rode saddle broncs, and after a serious slump of 50 years he won the 50+ steer wrestling average at the Senior Pro National Finals Rodeo in 2006. At his current rate of improvement he hopes to win a major bronc riding title by the time he is 80 years old.

Rodney writes, "This is my favorite rodeo photo. I was trying to smile for the photographer but I missed it a bit. That is my wedding shirt, so it was taken after 1980, but I'm not sure what year."

Rodney has hardly changed from this photo from the 1950s:

He jokingly writes, "This was back when I just got hired by a big outfit to trail some cattle."


 

Rodney has a recent column about rodeo in his twice-monthly Up Sims Creek in the Country Living section of Farm and Ranch Guide.

Well, we made another trip to the Senior National Finals Rodeo. I have made about 10 trips to the SNFR. It is hard to quit going to rodeos.

I guess when I placed in the calf riding at the Bantry rodeo in 1956, I was hooked. I have competed in some rodeo events in every year since 1956. I should go down in history as being one of the most mediocre cowboys ever to come out of North Dakota.

It is easy for a kid to dream about being a champion. Most people either achieve their goals or come to the realization they should try something else by the time they reach the age of 30....

Read the entire column here.



 


2009 photo by
Jeri L. Dobrowski;

Read more about Rodney Nelson and some of his poetry here.


 

   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


 

   

        

       

     

       

     

     

     

    

     

   

     

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us your stories!  If you have a photo to share, email us.

See an index of all past photos here.

 

 

 

 

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