The Outside Circle: Call reps in Washington, EHV-1 horse in Montana, Interior rodeo and horse-related wrecks |

The Outside Circle: Call reps in Washington, EHV-1 horse in Montana, Interior rodeo and horse-related wrecks

For the June 18, 2011 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

We’re got a lot of country to cover, so let’s hit a lope.

I know it’s a busy time, but I would like to have you take the time to write, call or e-mail your representatives in Congress and the Senate right away, and let them know how you feel about the bills that have been presented, some of which have already been voted on in the House. One is S. 1176, which is the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, which anyone in the ag industry should oppose (shut down horse slaughter, cattle, hogs and sheep are next). The people who are supposed to vote on this haven’t even read the GAO report to find out what has happened to the horse industry and horses in general since the closing of processing plants in the U.S. The GAO study was conducted specifically to get the facts about the horse industry and was meant to aid in the decision making process in Washington, DC. The study was released on June 8, so they should have it in their hands to read by now.

When you call, find out whom their staffer is that deals with ag and/or animal issues and talk to that person if possible. We in South Dakota have good folks in Washington who have done a lot to keep us all in business, but they still need to know how we feel about these issues and to know that we are paying attention to what is going on there.

The other issue, which should be supported by every taxpayer who owns so much as one animal, is HB 1996. That would prohibit the big money animal rights groups from having we taxpayers foot the bill for the very litigation they are filing against our industry. They have expensive lawyers bring all these phony suits against our industry, then we pay for it through the GLSA rule. That’s just wrong. What was meant to be aid for those who couldn’t afford to take an issue to court has been exploited by the HSUS and other organizations to kill our industry.

The first EHV-1 case in Montana was found in Gallatin County this past week. The horse showed no clinical signs, but since the 13-year-old gelding had been at the cutting in Ogden, the owners had isolated him and monitored his condition very closely. Great diligence on their part.

There have been 88 confirmed cases of EHV-1 in 10 western states (AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OK, OR, UT and WA) with 12 horses that have either died or been euthanized. Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota remain clear, so far. It should run its course soon, providing people are being careful and taking all the precautions possible to prevent it.

The Kick Em Up Cans NWBRA approved 4D barrel race will be July 2-3 at Buffalo, WY. With $1,000 added/day, it’s a nice destination. Pre-entries must be posted by June 27. Go to for entry forms, and call 307-684-5679 for information.

The Belle Fourche Roundup Grounds are in fabulous shape, by the way. The floods left the beautiful sand in the arenas, and the water drained away as hoped. It’s just amazing. The committee there has worked very hard to get the arenas in great shape, having laid drain tile and hauling in a mountain of sand to replace the dirt. This is just in time for the South Dakota State High School Rodeo Finals, held in Belle, June 22-26, too. You will never see more rodeo action in one place than at a high school rodeo, so go watch it and have a great time! See ya there!

Belle Jackpot is going strong. The next one will be July 6. There’s a short hiatus from BJA action during the state finals and the PRCA rodeo, but it will be going all summer. Great place to season horses and people, without the pressure of big entry fees and the toughs on their rodeo horses. Great fun to watch too.

The Interior (SD) Roping Club is having its annual Interior Frontier Days Rodeo, starting with a Ranch Rodeo at 4 p.m. on July 2. July 3-4 will be the SDRA/MSRA/NRCA rodeo at 4 p.m. both days. Wilson will be providing the bucking stock, so the action will be top notch. They’ve done lots of work on the arena and have rebuilt the roping end of the arena and put in new bleachers. There will also be a big parade and a huge fireworks display to add to the action. Connie Twiss, club secretary and my informant, says that in the ’20s it was the number-two rated rodeo in the U.S. I believe it! That’s COWBOY country! They will be honoring all veterans in the stands, plus the flag and son from each branch of the military will be presented. A team and wagon will be provided if they want to ride in the grand entry too. Nice touch, for sure. For more information on the rodeo, call 605-433-5390, or talk to Connie at 605-433-5457. Interior is located in one of the most beautiful places on earth, so head on down there and take in a great celebration. The Badlands are in their Sunday best this year.

One more quick rodeo note, Garrett Vig, Mud Butte, SD, was second in the second round and tied for second place in the average at the EOLS Ed Miller Memorial Xtreme Bulls Division 2 at Union, OR. Good job Garrett!

There have been several tragedies in the ranching world, some close, some far away. Gary DeVries, Bridger, MT rancher, was helping brand at a neighbor’s and was struck by lightning and killed while gathering cattle in the Pryor Mountains. His horse was also killed.

We all take for granted that thunder and lightning are far away when we can see it and hear it in the distance. It can travel for miles, though, and a little cloud far away can carry the bolt that will kill you. This is such a tragic event for that community and Gary’s family, and a grim reminder of our vulnerability when we’re out in the open on a horse.

A teenage girl in Arizona, a good friend of friends of ours, was killed in a freak round pen accident while she and her uncle, a professional trainer, were working a colt. On the same day in New Mexico, a good friend of ours was moving some of their cattle up some steep, brushy slopes, when his horse got tangled in some old wire and fell with him. The horse rolled over Dave twice for sure and broke him up some. He also has some severe tendon damage and it may be quite a while before he’s back horseback, but at least he’s alive and will walk again.

The three incidents I mentioned could happen to any of us. It’s not that we knowingly take risks, but our lifestyle is filled with risk until maybe we don’t respect it enough. None of us are tougher than lightning, and none of us are bigger than a horse, so we don’t stand much of a chance when things go haywire. What I’m saying is, don’t take chances. Enough can go wrong when we’re being careful.


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