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Outside Circle: A new breed of traders, ranch rodeos, ranch rodeo finals, Hope and Healing event

I took a trip last week down to the Minatare, Neb. area. The country from north of Hot Springs, S.D., to where I went all looked pretty good. Of course it's all in it's golden fall colors, so that just makes it prettier. I saw lots of hay clear down through Nebraska, all of which I coveted pretty bad, sad to say. The hay buying this year is a real nail biter. I did get some bought for a good price down there, thanks to a dear friend, so that will bring the average price of the hay down a little when I buy more. I'll sure be glad when it decides to rain in the spring and early summer again. Ah, those were the days.

I get a lot of my news items from horse and livestock sites on social media, mostly Facebook. There are lots of things for sale on those sites, plus lots of upcoming events that are pertinent to those of us in the rodeo, ranching, and horse world. I have a bucket full of pet peeves, but one things on those sites really puts a burr under my blanket.

The ad will have a horse of any description, usually something less than beautiful and of unknown breeding and background. The post will have some line in it like "I rescued this beautiful/magnificent/amazing horse from a kill pen". Really? Was it drowning in a tank in there? Were there wolves circling, just on the verge of dragging it down to eat it to death? No? Well then, you didn't rescue it. You bought it at the salebarn. You may have bid against someone who buys weighup horses. But, those people also try to get the best money out of any horses they buy, so they see what the horse knows and if it is rideable and usable. If it's not, it's right where it belongs, in their truck going to slaughter. So, if I see an ad like that, I know that that is a social media horse trader. Nothing more or less. They bought a horse of questionable background and now want to poke someone in their soft heart to make a bunch of money on the horse when they "re-home" it for a fee of $2,500 or so. I'm to the point where rescue, re-home and protester used in anything raise the same response in me and it's not soft hearted. Rant over.

The Black Hills Horse Expo is going to have a Ranch Rodeo on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Event Center in Rapid City, S.D. I wanted to make sure everyone knew about that going on along with all the other great events there. You can find out more about the whole deal at http://www.BlackHillsHorseExpo.com.

The WSRRA (Western States Ranch Rodeo Association) finals will be Nov. 2-5 at the Event Center in Winnemucca, Nevada. This will include teams from the northern plains and all the way to the west coast who ride and work in the more buckaroo style of things. You'll see lots of flat hats, chinks, slick fork saddles, 80 foot ropes, bridled up horses, and beautiful gear in evidence. There will be open and ladies division ranch rodeo events, ranch broncs, goat roping, jackpot ropings, kids events the PWHRA Wild Horse Racing finals, and a fantastic trade show and gear show. For more info, go to http://www.wsrra.org.

If your tastes lean more toward the split reins, rancher creased hats, Will James tree saddles, and shorter ropes, sometimes tied hard and fast, then the WRCA's 22nd annual Ranch Rodeo Finals on Nov. 9-12, will be the place for you in good old Amarillo, Texas. Besides the ranch rodeo, there's also a ranch horse competition that is second to none, and a gear and trade show that will also make your heart pound. You can learn more about it by calling 806-374-9722 or at http://www.wrca.org.

The Hope and Healing Therapeutic Riding Center will host their 1st Annual Horsing Around Fall Event on Sunday, Nov. 12, 4-7 p.m., at the All Seasons Arena, Bowman, N.D. There will be lesson demonstrations with instructors and clients, parade of stick horses, games for young and old, plus a back seat driving contest and a bouncy horse race. To top it all off, there will also be a chili feed with a free will offering.

There will be a free rough stock Bible camp on Nov. 17-19 at Miles City Community College, Miles City, Mont. They're taking 12 students per event, so six saddle bronc steer riders and six steer riders. There will be top of the line instructors, plus a meal provided. It's open to ages 8 and up. They could sure use some more sponsors to keep this free school running. For more info, contact Sylvan Cross at home at 406-452-1003 or on the cell at 406-855-2184.

Well, that's my circle for another week. Be sure and send me your upcoming events and news items so I can share them here! Have a great week.

Rain, rodeo, clinics, Black Hills Horse Expo, jackpots

A lot of folks got some of that lovely rain last week and I am so glad. Some areas got the first measurable precipitation for the year. It's not going to grow much grass this late, but at least it settled the dust and gives the grass a drink in preparation for next spring. Snow in the mountains dampened down those miserable fires. Some are still burning, but it took some of the power out of them.

I was very encouraged by two things happening from the federal front. First of all, Interior Secretary Zinke said that the forest service and all other entities who are responsible for the mismanagement of the western forests need to do what it takes to get those places managed for fire suppression. Of course, that would be logging and grazing, the original management tools. The second thing out of Washington that made me smile was the likely appointment of Karen Budd-Falen to head the grossly mismanaged Bureau of Land Management. Budd-Falen is a fire breather lawyer, a rancher, and an advocate for real management of our resources on federal lands. She's definitely an ally to the ranching world.

The INFR, which will be in November, will be recognizing the flags of the supporting tribes again this year during the Parade of Nations. If you would like to be a part of this, you need to call the INFR office at 406-338-7684.

The PRCA Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale will be Sept. 29-30 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota The top 88 contestants in the world will be striving for a piece of the $128,000 purse, so it's much like a mini-WNFR. Get your tickets at http://www.ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.

There will be an Indoor Calf Roping Sept. 30 at the Gun Barrel Ranch Arena 15 miles west of Wessington Springs, South Dakota on Hwy 34. The roping starts at 1 p.m. with the 40 and over breakaway, open breakaway, 16 and under breakaway, open tie down roping, and 16 and under tie down roping. You can call Shawn Coleman at 605-661-2973 for info.

The BHSU Rodeo Team Fall jackpots at Seven Down Arena, Spearfish, South Dakota have started. The schedule for the breakaway and goat tying are Oct. 6, and Nov. 3 and 17. The office will open at 4, breakaway will start at 5:30 and the goats will follow. If you're a barrel racer, those dates are Oct. 7 and Nov. 18. The office will open at 9:30, exhibitions at 9:30-11:30, entries close at 11:15 and the barrels start at noon. Call coach Glen Lammers for more info at 605-381-9531. Entries for all are cash only.

Wyoming Sorting Association is holding their team challenge sorts again. There are new events for all levels, junior and senior horse, youth classes and 3 man/2 gate sort. It will all be held at the Hot Springs Fairgrounds, Thermopolis, Wyo. In the heated indoor arena. The date is Oct. 13-15. You have to pre-enter for the team challenge, senior and junior horse open events on Oct. 9, 7-10 p.m. by calling Melissa at 307-751-8715. All other classes will be able to enter on site.

The NWBRA finals will be Oct. 13-15 at the Cam-Plex in Gillette, Wyo. Seniors will run Friday, peewee, youth and open on Saturday and Sunday.

The Oahe Riding Club has set the dates for the Fall Playday Series at Ft. Pierre, South Dakota They are Sunday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m.; Saturday Oct. 28, 10 a.m.; and Sunday Nov. 1, 1 p.m. You can email Angela Roman at angela.roman@sd.usda.gov.

There will be a Trail Obstacle Horsemanship Clinic on Oct. 19-20 at the Event Center, Rapid City, South Dakota Charlie Andrews is the clinician and it's limited to 25 riders and costs $450 for the two days. For info call Tim Pederson at 605-381-1511.

The Black Hills Horse Expo is back and will be held Oct. 20-22 at the Event Center in Rapid City. There will be something for everyone there, plus clinics, exhibitions, horses of many breeds, stallion alley, and more. You can check out the schedule of events at http://www.blackhillshorseexpo.com or find them on Facebook.

Just a reminder, if you have stud colts that you're preparing to wean, this would be a good time to get them gelded while they are still on their mamas. It's so easy on them and they will be all healed up before winter. The older they are, the tougher it is for them.

That's my circle for this week. Have a great week ahead and enjoy the moisture and cooler temps. I think fall is upon us!

The Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: Benefits for Arlen Hulm and KC Carden, Crook Co. Horsemen’s meeting, team sorting, ranch roping

It finally got above freezing today and it positively feels like summer time out there! We have been in that bubble of cold air that would have us at just above zero when folks 30 miles away were in the 30s. The sunshine is really nice too and the stock is really enjoying getting warmed up.

The wind finally quit blowing the snow around for a few days so we could get the corrals dug out and the cows in to work. It's certainly the latest I've ever weaned heifer calves, but between the corrals being full of snow and it being so bitter cold, it just hadn't happened. I'll bet those old cows are glad to be rid of those big babies!

There will be an Online benefit auction for Arlen Hulm, Faith, S.D. There are some great items on the auction and more coming in daily. Check it out on Facebook at "Benefit Auction for Arlen Hulm" to look it over. Bidding will start Jan. 27, 6 p.m. and end Jan. 29, 6 p.m. If you aren't a computer person or Facebooker, you can still help out. There's a fund set up at Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union for Arlen. Send money to DPFCU, Attn: Arlen Hulm fund, P.O. Box 549, Faith, SD 57626. Arlen is undergoing more cancer treatments and this fundraiser will help he and his wife with travel expenses and medical care.

The Crook County Horsemen's Association meeting that was postponed in January will be held Friday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m., at The Longhorn in Sundance, Wyo. For more information, call Shannon Haugen at 307-680-7243.

There will be a benefit ranch sorting at the Ag Complex, Wright, Wyo., for KC Carden, from Kaycee, Wyo. He is a young husband and daddy who was recently diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. Proceeds will go toward helping he and his family with medical bills. The sorting will be a RSNC sanctioned event with a BBQ, and silent auction featuring stallion breedings, antelope hunts, and more. You can find out more on Facebook at "Enter Up For KC". You can also help by going to the GoFundMe account to donate at http://www.gofundme.com/kc-cardens-medical-fund. For more information, call Pam Harr at 307-351-4148, Coby White at 307-340-0941 or ManDee Moore at 307-216-0236.

There will be a ranch roping at the Horse Palace, Laurel, Mont., on Feb. 19. Signup is at noon and the roping starts at 1 p.m.

AQHA's Best Remuda Award nominations are due by March 1. If you or someone you know would like to be considered, you may download the application and review the criteria at http://www.aqha.com/news.

The WyMont 2 & 3 Man Team Sorting Jackpot Series at Keyser Creek Arena, Columbus, Mont., will be Feb. 18-19 and March 18-19. The first day of each is the two man, with the second day the three man. Of course, it's open to both men and women. You can call Mike Arzy at 307-752-1992 or Connie Schaad at 406-633-0057 for info, plus you can pre-enter with Connie too.

Well, that wraps up my circle for another week. I hope to see you all at the Black Hills Stock Show!

Whit Hibbard series Part 2:Applying low-stress handling principles and techniques

Building on a low-stress foundation

Applying low-stress handling principles and techniques

Low-stress livestock handling is complex, and can take a lifetime to master. It involves some science, some art, and a lot of practice. The method benefits the livestock and requires some alterations to the handler's thinking, behaviors and expectations.

Clinician and scholar of the practice, Whit Hibbard, says, "It is important to acknowledge that low-stress livestock handling, although actually quite simple, is, as Bud [Williams] states, 'Very difficult for people to learn because it often goes against human behavior. Remember, as a stockman, you are supposed to be the smart one. It is up to you to change to accommodate the animal.' In conventional livestock handling it is typical to make the animal change to accommodate us."

In the previous article on low-stress livestock handling we addressed the five foundations upon which clinician Whit Hibbard builds all his work. The foundations include: Mindset, Attitude, Reading Animals, Working Animals, and Preparing Animals.

Hibbard uses the pyramid approach (see diagram) to explain the progression of building a low-stress livestock handling thought process – start with the foundations, understand the principles, then utilize both to apply techniques and later applications. In this article we'll discuss the principles and some techniques.

The Big 12

The 12 principles Hibbard teaches in his presentations and writings are all based on the practices of the founder of low-stress livestock handling, Bud Williams. They are:

1. Keep animals in a normal frame of mind.

Ever had a wild heifer crawl over your brand new Powder River gate? Cattle do not do this in a natural setting. That heifer is not in a normal state of mind (and neither are you when your gate gets ruined). Low-stress livestock handling is based on preventing fear and panic, which incite a survival instinct, in the animals. Instead the handler should utilize the natural tendencies of cattle to accomplish a desired result.

2. Animals should not be forced to do anything they do not want to do or are not ready to do.

When cattle are not ready to go through a chute or load on a trailer, the natural response of conventional handling is to use fear and force. By using the foundations of working with animals and preparing animals, we are able to make our idea their idea.

3. Set up every situation so our idea becomes their idea.

Perhaps we don't give animals enough credit for their intelligence. Often we approach working with cattle – no matter how calmly or effectively we do it – as if the only positive result will be when we get the cattle to do something they inherently don't want to do. By utilizing the five foundations, we can make the chosen destination become the cattle's idea.

4. Animals want to avoid pressure, and they need to experience release from pressure.

We utilize this principle when training horses or teaching a 4-H steer to lead – pressure and release, pressure and release. It only makes sense that it would work on cattle as well. Too often we apply pressure and once we get the desired result, such as movement, we apply more of that same pressure in an attempt to get it done faster, rather than releasing it as a reward.

5. They want to be in a herd.

Cattle are naturally herd animals, and like sheep, will flock together. "Quitters" that do not exhibit herd instinct have likely been handled incorrectly and have learned that being in the herd will result in being pushed and prodded.

6. They want to move in the direction they are headed.

Cattle have a set inertia in their movement – they want to continue the way they are going. This is important in understanding how to place yourself to request movement.

7. They want to follow other animals.

Even handlers who may not use correct low-stress techniques to load a cattle pot are still relying on this principle. Cattle like to follow each other. This can be a positive aspect – if you're able to first determine the direction you want them to go.

8. Good movement attracts good movement.

Has "your neighbor" ever missed a few pairs in the hills, and as the herd was trailing down the creek, the skipped pairs ran from behind to join up? This principle is based again on herd mentality and cattle's desire to follow each other.

9. Animals want to see what's pressuring them.

Think of how a cow reacts when you are riding or walking right behind her; her head is usually tilted to one side. She wants to see who her predator is. It's a natural instinct – you would do the same thing if you felt someone was stalking you from behind.

10. They want to see where you want them to go.

At times, although it may at first feel counterintuitive, we may need to place ourselves between the cattle and where we want them to go in order to bring it to their attention and lead them to it. This is why riding up to the gate can be an effective handling technique.

11. They want to go by you or around you.

Have you ever noticed a cow at a decision point hesitantly step past you, and then break into a run? Opposite to the natural desire for humans to "drive" from behind, this principle is the basis behind techniques such as the reverse parallel (discussed later) and facilities such as the Bud Box.

12. Under excess pressure they want to go back where they came from.

Ever spilled a herd of cattle at the gate? When stressed, the instinct of cattle is to return to where they last felt comfortable. That's why it's important to recognize when too much pressure is being applied.

These principles are key to understanding how cattle intuitively function, and how to work them in a low-stress manner.

"If low-stress livestock handling doesn't work it's because we aren't doing it right," says Hibbard. "The tendency for people who are trying to adopt low-stress handling is to give it a try – often half-hearted – but when things start to unravel they resort to what they used to do, which is conventional livestock handling.

"What we should do is stop, assume responsibility for what just happened and recognize that we caused it, analyze the situation to discover what principle was violated – because one most certainly was – and what we were doing incorrectly as far as technique."

The techniques

The techniques Hibbard teaches are based on positioning and movement of ourselves in order to get a desired response from animals.

"The purpose of the techniques is to put you in the proper position," Hibbard quotes Williams. "Proper position on your part is all the pressure you ever need to move animals, and if you're in the proper position, animals will want to move in the direction you want."

1. Straight lines

According to Williams, no matter the movement, when we're working with animals they like us to move in straight lines. Hibbard gives the example: "Imagine being in a big parking lot and a car is coming at you at a high rate of speed, weaving back and forth in a curving motion. If it is coming at you in a straight line, you can predict the trajectory and feel safer, because it's not the car you're afraid of – it's the intent. When we move in a straight line animals feel more comfortable in predicting our intent.

2. Zigzag

We can learn a lot by watching a good Border collie dog. They zig zag back and forth but in a forward angle, getting closer with each pass. They are utilizing straight lines, but forward motion.

3. The T

"We can actually steer cattle by the determining the direction of our zig zag," says Hibbard. Zig zagging in a "T" formation toward the direction we want our animals to go accomplishes several things: 1) communicates to the animals what we want, 2) creates effective pressure, 3) drives them to our target, and 4) keeps us from being in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing. The "T" obeys the first four principles.

4. Reverse parallel

A reverse parallel is moving past the cattle, opposite the direction of their motion, to initiate movement or speed up movement. This is an effective technique based on principle #11. Conversely, riding in a forward parallel, the same direction of their movement, will actually have a slowing effect.

5. Flight zones and pressure zones

Picture a circle with a smaller circle inside it. The center circle is the flight zone – the point where we frighten cattle. The outside ring is the pressure zone, where cattle respond. Beyond the outside circle is the point of no effect. Hibbard advises always staying in the pressure zone. "If we're working in the flight zone, we're just scaring them."

6. In and out

If we want animals to speed up, we can step in toward them and, if we're behind their point of balance, they will move forward to avoid the pressure. We then step backward to release the pressure, and draw the next animal forward.

7. Backing up

If an animal turns around in an alleyway or tries to escape a herd, stepping toward it actually increases the pressure to try and escape. Taking a step backward relieves the pressure and ceases to further drive the animal past the handler.

8. Stepping aside

Just as backing up is used to stop animals from going by you, stepping aside will draw animals past you. This movement is effective in sorting cattle in an alleyway.

9. The 45 – Using the concept of straight lines, approach the cattle at a 45 degree angle. This can be used to effectively get cattle out of a corner, or to drive and guide cattle, for instance, along a fence. The concept is to approach the herd at a 45 degree angle, then angle back out at a 45 degree angle to release the pressure and to position yourself to return.

Hibbard says it's critical to understand the essential principles and techniques and learn to apply them when and where needed. However, the when and the where are the art, and can take a lifetime to master.

"Don't try to do it all at once," Hibbard says. "As Bud counseled, think of it as something to work toward. The more I learn the more I realize there is to know, and that there will be no point at which I can say, 'I've arrived.'

"However, when done correctly, low-stress livestock handling is fast and efficient and works every time."

This article is the second in a series on low-stress livestock handling.

The Outside Circle: College Alumni info, The American Rodeo, barrel races, clinics, and final nail in coffin of N.M. horse processing

It's sure been a windy sonofagun lately! If we lose any more shingles off the house we will have a skylight in several rooms! At least it hasn't been bitter cold or accompanied by a foot of snow, so it could be much worse.

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni is an organization dedicated to preserving the history of college rodeo, honoring past NIRA champions and contestants, and awarding deserving college rodeo athletes with scholarships. They give scholarships to both the Man and Woman Rookie of the Year winners, plus the fourth place men's and women's teams. Starting last year, they also gave a new scholarship to the high point rookie in each event. For those interested in joining the alumni association, you should know that the donations are tax deductible and donors can designate whether they are supporting a particular event. Joining the NIRAA is all positive, as you will also get a subscription to the Rodeo News, which is published 18 times a year, with a page dedicated to the doings of the alumni. If you are interested in joining the NIRAA, you can contact Butch Bratsky at 406-855-1542 or Sharon Adams at 602-268-5874.

Also on the subject of college rodeo, the NIRA reunion dates have been set and are Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18 during the college national finals at Casper, Wyo. There are lots of activities planned for the alumni besides getting to watch a great rodeo. For more information, call one of the above numbers, or go to http://www.collegerodeoalumni.com.

RFD's The American rodeo will be on February 28 at the AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas. It will be airing on RFD-TV live, and I already have a great date lined up to watch it with. Dad and I sure enjoyed it last year and expect to do so again!

The 2nd Annual Cloverleaf Classic barrel race will be at the Horse Palace, Laurel, Mont. on March 4-5. Pre-entries are due February 25. It will have NWBRA, NBHA, and UBRC side pots along with the other added moneys. For more information call Valee Cooley at 406-672-3265.

The Bowman Spring Fling Barrel Race will be April 16 at the All Seasons Arena in Bowman, N.D. The $500 added, double header will feature an open 4D and youth 3D. Call Bailee at 605-381-0390 for more info.

The Rebel Run Barrel Series will be held at the brand new arena in Crosby, N.D. All are double headers except for the finals. The dates are May 22, June 11, July 16, Aug. 20, finals on Sept. 10. You can enter the day of the events or you can pre-enter by calling or texting Tabitha at 701-641-0521. You can get more info on the times and suchlike from her too.

There will be a Paul Humphrey barrel horse clinic on May 28-30 at Stanley, N.D. Paul will help clinic attendees with consistency, how to perfect the turns and numerous exercises to keep your horse calm. He focuses on a solid foundation and horsemanship. The clinic will cost $475 with $250 deposit to hold your place. You can call or message for more information at 701-641-0521. You can learn more about Paul at http://www.breakingthemoldwithpaul.com.

I'm pleased to read of the efforts by the Deadwood (S.D.) City Commission to approve a $48,400 grandstand log replacement project at the beautiful, historic Days of 76 arena. Those wonderful log grandstands are huge and have stood the test of time, but as with all things, need some repairs. The project should take about five weeks and will begin right away.

A District Court judge has granted an order that will permanently prohibit plans for developing a horse processing plant anywhere in New Mexico. The February 4 ruling states that the companies and anyone affiliated with them are permanently enjoined from slaughtering horses for human consumption, and for the manufacturing, selling or distribution of horse meat for human consumption in New Mexico. Several American companies have tried to start up horse slaughter plants in recent years but have been unsuccessful in getting the permits to do so due to the anti-everything groups' control over the political processes. Horse slaughter plants closed for good in 2007 in the U.S. and the horse population has done nothing but suffer in the ensuing years. Horses are still shipped to Mexico and Canada for processing but the antis have the ending of that on their agenda next. After that, will it be beef, pork, lamb or poultry that goes the way of the horse processing? Don't think for a minute that isn't on their agenda too.

Well, now that I have my blood pressure up, I'd better get off of here and call this circle made for the week. Send me your upcoming events and I'll share them here!

Cowboy Jam Session by Jeri Dobrowski: Faces of classic and contemporary cowboy music

For more than thirty years, the cowboy music and comedy quartet Riders In The Sky have been keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Reviving and revitalizing the genre, the group previously honored Autry with Public Cowboy #1: A Centennial Salute To The Music Of Gene Autry.

Consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Ranger Doug, upright bassist Too Slim, fiddle player and vocalist Woody Paul and accordionist Joey, the CowPolka King, the group's way-out Western wit and velvety, harmonious tones have earned them a following among all ages. Riders' fans, affectionately called buckaroos and buckarettes by the band, are encouraged to live life "The Cowboy Way!"

Since their first performance in 1977, the Riders have chalked up more than 6,100 concert appearances in all 50 states and 10 countries. To date, they are the only exclusively Western music artists to join the Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show in history. Ranger Doug also hosts Ranger Doug's Classic Cowboy Corral heard weekly on SiriusXM Channel 56.

Western movie, music and TV star Roy Rogers is celebrated in a 2015 release by the group. The 14-track album, Riders In The Sky Salute Roy Rogers: King of the Cowboys, pays homage to Rogers (1911-1998) who rose to the top in an era when Western stars were at their zenith. The Grammy Award-winning Riders salute Rogers, founding member of the Sons of the Pioneers and undisputed "King of the Cowboys," with favorites from his long career including "Don't Fence Me In," "Happy Trails (To You)" "Yellow Rose of Texas," "My Adobe Hacienda," "Along the Navajo Trail," "Roll On Texas Moon," and "Blue Shadows On the Trail."

If you appreciate old-time cowboy songs, this is a must-have album for your collection. The Riders' treatment of these classics is nostalgic yet sophisticated, taking the listener back to the days when cowboy heroes ruled the box office and airwaves. You'll enjoy riding down the trail with this group of accomplished entertainers.

Tangible copies of Riders In The Sky Salute Roy Rogers: King of the Cowboys sell for $20 plus shipping from ridersinthesky.com. Downloads are available.

Daron Little is one of the faces of contemporary cowboy music in the real working West. Making his home near Encampment Wyoming, he cowboys for a living. Describing himself as a "bovine relocation engineer and cowpunch music guitar picker/singer at Silver Spur Ranches," Little shares glimpses into his lifestyle via Facebook. Photo offerings on any given day vary from selfies to a cowboy's vantage point from the saddle. Far removed from Hollywood, it's the sweat-stained, sunburned, all-weather, all-terrain world of a working cowboy. (For more on the Wyoming division of the ranch, see silverspurranches.com/)

Earlier this year Little released his fourth recording, a 6-track EP of original songs entitled Dos Amigos. Butch Hause musician and proprietor of the Ranger Station, Berthoud, Colo., joins him on the acoustic session. Those familiar with today's cowboy music genre may find a hint of Tyson or a dash of LeDoux in the selections, maybe a bit of Corb Lund. (Listen to the full-length tracks under "Store" at ranchcowboymusic.com.)

Little's songs reflect his life and experiences in an occupation that is as often misunderstood as it is romanticized. In the opening track, "The Outside Circle," he explores the myth and realities of the lifestyle, preceded by an impressive guitar introduction. (Find the lyrics at cowboypoetry.com/daronlittle.htm)

Order Dos Amigos for $10 from Daron Little, PO Box 314, Encampment, WY 82325; 307-761-3251; ranchcowboymusic.com. Downloads are also available. While you're there, take a listen to samples from his other albums. Ranch Cowboy Music is a favorite of mine.

The Outside Circle: High school champs; ranch rodeos & big bad wolf

We finally got some rain Tuesday night! The gauge said two inches and I actually believe it. All we have had lately is wind and a lot of scary lightning, so the rain was more than welcome. It was interesting to find out that we have a major leak in the roof above the kitchen table, too. I'm not complaining though. That can be fixed a lot easier than the drought.

The National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, WY is over and the contestants are all probably home by now. Special congratulations to national tie-down roping champion Drew Cowan, Highmore, SD. He also competed in the cutting, placing 17/18 in the average, putting him fourth in the All-Around.

Other regional hands doing well at nationals were, by event:

• Barebacks: 6th Shane O'Connell, Rapid City, SD and 9th Tate Cowan, Ft. Pierre, SD;

• Girl's Breakaway: 8th Jordyn Schaefer, Des Lacs, ND and 13th Lindsay Adamson, Cody, NE;

• Goat tying: 4th Emily Faber, Rozet, WY, 5th Jamie Thompson, Whitney, NE;

• Pole Bending: 2nd Teal Stoll, Pavillion, WY, 5th Breanna Reimler, Buffalo, WY, 13th Kristi Steffes, Vale, SD;

• Saddle Broncs: 5th Philip Shields, Philipsburg, MT, 10th Dalton Rixen, Richardton, ND, and tied for 15th Josh Davison, Miles City, MT and Tayte Clark, Meadow, SD;

• Steer Wrestling: 3rd Dillon Simonson, Purdum, NE, 4th Sean McPadden, Garretson, SD, 8th Austin Eller, Glendo, WY and 14th Blake Boysen, Sioux Falls, SD;

• Team Roping: 2nd Brady & Riley Wakefield, O'Neill, NE and 16th Seth & Wyatte Anderson, Hurley, SD;

• Tie Down Roping: 1st Drew Cowan and 19th Cody Nye, Alliance, NE.

Winners of the Murdo, SD Ranch Rodeo July 22 was the "Homewreckers" team, who are: Tyler Jones, Oglala, SD; Lex Grooms, Sharps Corner, SD; Frank Carlson, Belvidere, SD; and Joe Pavla, Kadoka, SD. Lex was also named Top Hand. Congrats guys!

At the Crook Co. Fair Ranch Horse competition, Sundance, WY, the event couldn't be finished due to a torrential rainstorm. I heard there were no complaints about the rain as most everyone there has been fighting fires and fun things like that for weeks. Scores for the part of the event that was completed were added up and the Open was won by Raleigh Mills, second Cole Fitzgerald, third Marc Matlick, and fourth Gabe Gill. Ladies was won by Jenna Gill; Youth: First to Lane Mills, second Rhett Fox, and third Hayleigh Fenner. Perhaps in a week or so they can have another Ranch Horse competition and get some more rain.

At Lewellyn, NE, the Garden Co. Ranch Rodeo will be Friday, Aug. 3, at 6 p.m. It's a WRCA-sanctioned event, so the winners will qualify for the WRCA Finals in Amarillo in November. Call Jennifer Carlson at 308-778-6730 or 308-778-9563 for more info.

The 16th Annual Broncs and Bulls Rodeo at Broadus, MT will be Friday, August 10, 7 p.m. There will be 20 contestants per event matched against the tough Max Burch stock. There's a $100 entry fee with 100 percent payback, plus $2,000 added purse per event. Entries open and close Sunday, Aug. 5, 4-10 p.m. Call Mitch Roberts at 406-436-2453 or 406-852-4198.

The Faith (SD) Stock Show and Rodeo will be Aug. 7-12. The Dakota Championship Roping will be Aug. 7, 10 a.m.; Match Bronc Ride on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.; Ranch Horse Competition Aug. 9 at 8 a.m.; Kid's Day Horse and foot events Aug.9 at 1 p.m.; Ranch Rodeo Aug. 9 at 6 p.m.; SDRA/NRCA/WPRA rodeo Aug. 10, 11, and 12; and of course parades, carnivals, dances, reunions, and other fun stuff all that week and weekend too. You can call 605-788-2926 for further info.

The last three Belle Jackpot events in Belle Fourche, SD will be Aug. 1, 8, and 15.

On a different note, Montana officials have eased the restriction on wolf hunting. On July 12, they agreed to allow the trapping of wolves. They also extended the length of the hunting season and removed the state-wide kill limit. Wolves had far surpassed the numbers for a healthy population well before the 2012 pups were even born. It's estimated that there are 650 wolves in Montana, not including the pups. This is good news for ranchers, horse owners, hunting guides, hunters and citizens in general.

If you're planning on transporting horses from state to state, especially heading toward Wyoming, Colorado, or New Mexico, you'll sure want to check with your veterinarian about what restrictions there might be due to the outbreak of vesicular stomatitus in horses in northern New Mexico. Some states are adding some requirements, as they well should, before horses can be transported. Always get your health papers in order and current before traveling. That could save a lot of trouble down the road.

I'm sure thankful for the rain and hope you've all had some too. Send me your events and results and I'll share them here! F

The Outside Circle: Blister beetles, Cowboy Class, Smart Chic Olene dies

No updates on the rain in the area as there's still not enough of it, accompanied by too much lightning. I've talked to people in Colorado, Nevada, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming and it's the same story everywhere. On a positive note, nearly everyone's rangeland firefighting skills have been honed to a fine edge.

Everyone I know is working to get hay laid in for the year and it's going to be scarce. Something I've observed in several places many miles apart is the prevalence of blister beetles near and in alfalfa fields. It sure has me concerned, as they can prove fatal for horses when ingested. They are about a half inch or so long and have a slender, grayish-black colored body. I've seen the beetles in both dryland and irrigated fields, so, be watching and really look at that hay closely before buying. Find a picture of one so you can be sure of what you're seeing.

There's good news about the Ranching Heritage Breeders show in Rapid City, SD set for Aug. 30. Brandon Black of AQHA has announced several more classes have been added. The new Cowboy Class will really be ideal for the working rancher to be able to show their top horse against their peers for a sweet $1,000 purse. Besides that class, there will be Open, Limited Open, Non-pro, Amateur and Novice Amateur classes. Entry deadline is Aug. 15, so get online for a form at aqha.com/ranchingheritage or call Brandon Black at 806-378-4387. In a pinch, I will even email you one.

In case any of you Ranching Heritage Breeders haven't done so, contacting the buyers of your horses over the past four or five years and encouraging the participation in this inaugural class would be a nice idea. They might not be aware their horse is eligible.

I made a booboo on the name of the Jr. High School Finals by calling it the Wrangler Jr. finals. Wrangler used to be a major sponsor, but that sponsorship has been taken over by Cinch. Just wanted to clarify that.

If you are serious about going on the St. Jude Ride on Sept. 15, you need to let Sally Rall know that you want a participant envelope. Call her at 605-890-1425 to get one or to get more information on this wonderful charity ride. It's held in beautiful Custer State Park in SD, and benefits St. Jude's Children's hospital.

One of the all-time great performance sires has died at age 27 in Texas. Smart Chic Olena had a major impact on the reining, cutting and working cowhorse world. In his own career, he earned $113,504 in cutting and $15,361 in reining. His impact was as a sire, though, with his 896 performing offspring earning of $11.9 million in the three disciplines. His get often had his distinctive markings of splashy white on the face and a little roan in the flanks and a "coon" tail. He was by Smart Little Lena and out of Gay Sugar Chick by Gay Bar King.

The Calgary Stampede has wound up for another year and fabulous purses have been distributed. No longer part of the PRCA, Calgary is still the "go-to" rodeo for professional contestants because of the money earning potential. For example, Wade Sundell, Boxholm, IA, won the saddle broncs and was handed a sweet $100,000 check. Also pulling substantial checks were saddle bronc riders Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, SD, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, SD, and Chet Johnson, Douglas, WY; barrel racers Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD and Britany Fleck, Mandan, ND; steer wrestlers Jake Rinehart, Highmore, SD, Todd Suhn, Hermosa, SD, Jason Miller, Lance Creek, WY, and Dean Gorsuch, Gering, NE; and bareback riders Steven Dent, Mullen, NE, Jessy Davis, Power, MT, and Kelly Timberman, Mills, WY.

In PRCA action, Jess Tierney, Hermosa, SD won the All-Around at Laramie, WY's Jubilee Days with checks pulled in team roping and steer roping. Louie Brunson, Interior, SD, was second in the saddle broncs, Justin Scofield, St. Lawrence, SD, was third in the tie-down roping, and Ardie Meier, Timber Lake, SD, won the bulls.

A call from a friend in Wyoming yesterday reminded me to remind you that horses can be vaccinated against rabies. He was describing symptoms his horse was showing and I immediately thought of rabies, as the symptoms matched. He had vaccinated this horse, however, so, it wasn't rabies. He'll find out what it is at the veterinarian's, I'm sure, but at least won't have to face the nightmare of treatments and the euthanasia of the horse on account of it. He had ridden the horse the day before and handled his mouth while bridling him, so, it was a very real risk, had he not been vaccinated.

It's time to wind up this circle and head for the shade, so, we'll talk more next week. Stay cool and keep praying for rain.

The Outside Circle: Brazile; adios Deuce; tie-down ropers & barrels

I can't believe it's August already. Where has the summer gone? County fairs are upon us and school is poised on the horizon and I'm still not caught up on the spring work.

Trevor Brazile is a household name in any household with a flicker of interest in rodeo. There is little doubt that he is the greatest roper of all time, surpassing all others with world championships and money won. A man like him might be expected to be a bit arrogant and pretty proud of his accomplishments.

While covering the steer roping at Deadwood, the oldest son of a friend of mine joined his Dad at the corner of the walkway where his Dad was taking photos. The blonde haired, happy boy has one of the most contagious smiles I've ever seen, and has a keen sense of humor to go with it. Austin sometimes uses a wheel chair to ease mobility when out in public, as he was at the roping, but is an active country boy otherwise. He was watching the roping when a man on a horse came through the gate and rode around that end of the arena, as had many others, to warm his horse up. He then rode over and sat on his horse by the gate and struck up a conversation with my friend's son and they had quite a long exchange. I believe, without having consulted my watch, that the man and boy shared smiles and conversation for at least 20 minutes. When the guy's turn was getting close, he smiled at my young friend once more and rode away. That man was Trevor Brazile. I couldn't think more of him as a person now if I tried. He's darned sure hero material for kids wanting someone to look up to and emulate. I know my young friend will never, ever forget his time spent with this nice guy and the great visit they had. I know I won't.

I want to remind everyone about the Buster McLaury clinic coming up Aug. 9-12 at Brad and Beca Andrews place north of Red Owl, SD. I'm sure there's a slot or two left in the colt starting or horsemanship clinics and there's always room for one more to watch. Call Brad at 605-515-0088 or Beca at 605-515-0027.

Also, a reminder that the entries for the Ranchers Heritage Challenge in Rapid City, SD on Aug. 30 are due by Aug. 15. You can go online for an entry form at http://www.aqha.com and go to "Ranching." You can also call 806-376-4811 for more information.

My heart goes out to the Vern and Laurie Ward family from Fruitdale, SD. They lost their great stallion "Deuce" to kidney failure this week. He was one of those really amazing horses that did it all for the family. Vern picked up broncs and hazed on him and Dallas Loudon roped calves on him in the NPIRA. More amazing though is that the Ward girls used him in all the events kids can get into at all levels. He did barrels, poles, goat tying, breakaway, heading, heeling and flag race in the rodeo arena. He was also used in ranch rodeos and for anything that needed done on the ranch. This once-in-a-lifetime horse was by Double Tough Doc (Doc Bar x King Cobra by King) and out of Mighty Ms Pine (Mighty Te Go x Pines Dina Lou by Poco Burleigh). If you ever saw one of the Wards on a beautiful, smokey, dappled buckskin, you saw Deuce. They sure don't make many like him.

On a brighter note, Dane Kissack, Spearfish, SD, won the tie-down roping at the Days of '76 in Deadwood, SD. He tied for first in the first round, and had a time of 18.9 on two head to win. Good job, Dane!

Also in the tie-down roping, Trevor Thiel, Belle Fourche, SD native, won first in the first round and second in the average at Cheyenne Frontier Days. I'm sure his folks are grinning from ear to ear over that!

Congrats to Denny and Doris Lauing, Sturgis, SD, on their stallion's second place finish in the Red, White and Run barrel race at Seven Down Arena, Spearfish, SD. Under the competent guidance of Cami Bauer, St. Onge, SD, Colonels Frenchman placed third on Saturday and split fifth and sixth on Sunday. The Lauings will offer a fine group of this stud's offspring at the SD Ranchers and Breeders sale Sept. 1 at Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City.

The horse processing plant in Missouri is ready and waiting to begin processing. Only thing it lacks is USDA inspectors. It wouldn't hurt to contact your senators by letter, as well as the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and ask them to get the ball rolling. Also, encourage your senators to reject the Moran Amendment in the farm bill, which would make it illegal to transport horses anywhere for processing. You can find the address of your state's senators in the Government section of your phone book. Write a letter and help get this now legal process moving.

That's my circle for this week. Send me your events and results as I always like to share them here!F

The Outside Circle: Duane Howard hurt; Scamper; winning ladies & NHSRA Finals

My sympathy goes out to those who have suffered losses in the big fires in our region. My heart aches, as well, over the suffering and loss of the livestock.

Rodeo honoree in both the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, OK, Duane Howard, Sheyenne, ND, had a serious accident on June 26. While getting out of a car, he lost his balance and fell, striking his head. He was airlifted to Bismarck where he was in the ICU in an induced coma. Duane had been hail and hearty up until this accident and will be turning 79 in August. Many years ago during his rodeo career, Duane suffered a critical brain injury at Cheyenne and had to relearn how to walk, talk and ride. Cards can be sent to Duane Howard, c/o MedCenter One, 300 N. 7th St., Room 474, Bismarck, ND 58501. I'll try to get an update on his condition for next week.

Anyone who ever watched the NFR on TV knew the name of the great barrel horse Scamper. He and Charmayne James, then a young teenager, shot to the top of the world standings starting in 1984, and followed that with 10 consecutive World Championship titles. Scamper, whose registered name was Gills Bay Boy, was a broncy, ex-feedlot horse, who found his niche and loved his job. He proved that he ran because he wanted to when his bridle broke during a run at the NFR and he finished the run and won the round after it fell off. He and Charmayne won over one million dollars in his career and he was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1996. He was loved and meticulously cared for by Charmayne for 31 of his 35 years and died July 4 on her place. He was a tremendous individual, with toughness, heart and try. Scamper will never be forgotten.

I mentioned Rickie Engessor's barrel title and pole bending placing at the Wrangler Jr. High Rodeo Finals in Gallup, NM last week, but didn't have this additional info to share. She also placed 16th in the average in the girl's breakaway and was third in the all-around. JD Kirwan, Bonesteel, SD, won the championship in the boy's breakaway and was ninth in the boy's goat tying. Dawson Munger, Pukwana, SD, was 17th in the average in the girl's breakaway. The South Dakota team placed 8th overall, with the boy's team 24th and the girl's team 4th. Great job, all of you!

Top Horse at the Black Hills Roundup Ranch Rodeo was Snippy Hawk, aka "Toothless," owned and ridden by Ryan Bowden, Belle Fourche, SD. This very good horse was raised by Fred and Clara Wilson of Newcastle, WY. Congrats to Ryan, too. Now that's what I call an Ag Loan Officer! He definitely knows which end of the cow gets up first. Also, his horse has all his teeth – his kids named him after a movie character.

The Cowboy Christmas rodeo run over the 4th of July week was sure good to our regional ladies in the barrels. Nikki Steffes, Vale, SD, put $13,523 in her pocket, while Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD put $11,315 in hers. Nikki won money in rodeos at Belle Fourche (4th place); Cody, WY; Mandan, ND, St. Paul, OR; and Livingston, MT. Lisa pulled checks at Greeley; Mandan and Mobridge, SD. The miles these ladies put on and still arrive at a rodeo with a horse ready to run is very impressive to me. Plus, they do it week after week. Hats off, ladies.

Bareback rider, Steven Dent, Mullen, NE had a nice run over the 4th as well, with a tidy $22,194 jingling in his pockets. Steer wrestlers Jason Miller, Lance Creek, WY and Dean Gorsuch, Gering, NE both surpassed the one million dollar mark in career earnings over the 4th as well.

The National High School Rodeo Finals will be July 15-21 at Rock Springs, WY. Best wishes to all the contestants. I offer special wishes to my neighbor kids, Taygen Schuelke and Kelsie Collins, who are headed to nationals. I'm sure proud of both of you.

The Ranching Heritage Breeders Challenge show in Rapid City, SD will be held on Aug. 30. The entry deadline is Aug. 15. Classes will be for four year olds, Open, five year olds and older non-pro. Entry forms can be obtained online at http://www.aqha.com/ranchingheritage or call 806-376-4811 and they'll help you to the right department at the AQHA. This is a great opportunity for those of you who have purchased horses from breeders who are now a part of this organization. The older horses will be grandfathered in for the shows this year, but hereafter, they'll have to be nominated as youngsters. It will be a ranch horse type class, so, all of you riding these good, rancher-type horses ought to get in it.

That's my circle for another week. Send me your info! Pray for rain! F