The Outside Circle: Dry country, farewells, vesicular stomatitus update, NRCA rodeos |

The Outside Circle: Dry country, farewells, vesicular stomatitus update, NRCA rodeos

I took a nice drive over to Newcastle, WY, yesterday for the celebration of life for an old and dear friend. Gathered at the funeral were generations of ranchers from a big stretch of country, and of course that lead to some great visits and catching up. The common thread of the conversations was the need for rain. The grass is trying to green up over in that country, but it’s sure dry. I saw lots of big, framey calves and their mamas along the road, and they all looked like their mothers needed some good, green feed to give more milk. Most of the cows looked a little lean, like they would after a hard winter. I saw a lot of cows still eating hay as there isn’t anything to turn them out on yet. Water is another concern as many dams are low or dried up.

Southern Wyoming, in the Saratoga-Encampment region anyway, is desperately dry. Not a hint of green showing and the dust is bad. The drought lingers on tenaciously in the west Texas, New Mexico, southern Colorado and Arizona country too. I sure feel for those folks. We had the best year in history here last year, so there’s some grass left over and I know that we’ll pull through, even if we’re short of water. They haven’t had a good year for so long that there are broke saddle horses that have never been rained on in that country. Like the old man said, “I’m not wishing for rain so much for myself but for my grandkids. I’ve seen rain.”

The funeral I attended was for one of the dearest people in Weston County, WY. Mae Christensen was Wyoming to her core; a ranch woman of the old school who was a devoted wife, wonderful Mom, perfect Grandma, and fabulous cook, who also loved to ride and loved everything about the ranch. Mae was one of those people who was so easy to love. She was a Christian lady, and I do mean lady, who lived her faith every day in her words and actions. I never remember a time that I didn’t laugh with her and she always brightened my day, no matter the circumstances. She and Earl were so devoted to each other and I won’t ever be able to think of one without the other. I have been blessed to have her daughter Janice as my dear friend for several decades, and I see so much of Mae in her, which to me, is the highest compliment I can give my friend. Mae was 91, and on Mother’s Day, while surrounded by her big, beautiful family, laughing and telling stories, she slipped away on her trip home to the Lord. Oh she will be missed, but her memory and her legacy will go on and on. Mae is survived by her husband Earl; sons Wayne and Judith and Walter and Launa, all on the home ranch near Newcastle, WY; daughters Janet and David Schultz, Newcastle, and Janice and Steve Langer, Upton, WY; 11 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

A Hammond, MT, family, Courtney and Crystal Higgins, need to be kept in our thoughts and prayers. They lost their little son Cayden in a four wheeler accident on May 12. The little guy was only five years old. I can’t even imagine the pain this family is going through and the long journey ahead of them. I hope all that know them will support them in any way they can, for as long as needed. My deepest sympathy to everyone involved. There is no pain that can compare to that of losing a child.

Congrats to Cassidy Lantis, Spearfish, SD, for winning third in the 1D at the Martha Josey, Junior World Championship Barrel Race at Marshall, TX, May 11-13. Cassidy rode Frenchmans Speed, against 522 entries from 15 different states. I’m sure Bill and Deb Myer are pretty proud of her too, as they own the horse’s sire.

Our northern plains barrel racers are sure holding tough in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) standings. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, is sixth, Trula Churchill, Valentine, NE, is seventh and Nikki Steffes, Vale, SD, is eighth.

For all of you traveling with horses, due to the vesicular stomatitus infected horse in New Mexico, Nebraska has issued an import order concerning livestock entering the state from New Mexico. You need to check with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian’s office at 401-471-2351 for details and requirements. Regulations can also be viewed at

We are sending a couple of horses to Canada and that’s all changed too. The usual health papers are more expensive and there’s a day-to-day change of statutes due to the vesicular stomatitus as well. It’s about $111 per head to get the health papers for each horse, and you have to prove that the horse hasn’t been in New Mexico in the past three weeks. It’s a hassle, for sure. Just something you should be aware of if you’re exporting a horse to our northern neighbors.

Nebraska seems to be ready to kick out the old guard in the senate and put someone in with some real-life, working, practical experience and common sense. Their primary election put Sandhills rancher Deb Fischer in the Republican slot for November, where she’ll run against Robert Kerrey. Being a rancher, she ought to be able to handle all the bull in Washington, D.C.!

The Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association (NRCA) is still looking to fill the slot for a team roping heeler director. If they don’t get a director, there won’t be saddles and other cool stuff at the finals. Quit dragging your feet (I know, pun intended for you heelers) and take the job, someone!

As of May 15, membership for the NRCA went up to $87, too.

Upcoming NRCA, SDRA, MRA approved rodeos on May 25-26 are the Buckhorn Rodeo at Britton, SD, and the Foothills Rodeo at Wessington Springs, SD.

Hulett, WY, will be holding it’s 65th Annual Hulett Rodeo, which is NRCA and WRA approved, on June 9-10. This is a great rodeo, community gathering, and fun time held in one of the most beautiful spots for a rodeo grounds. I hope it’s a drought-breaker for them like it’s been in the past! I remember some great times, mud and all, at that rodeo.

I hope my circle is a muddy mess by next week and that the creeks are flooding so I can’t cross them. Until then, have a great week and send me your items and event results.