Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: Stockgrowers chatter, change, commotion
Stockgrowers conventions can be educational. Once or twice I have actually learned something useful from listening to a speaker. If I am awake, I learn more out in the hallway. Scott George, National Cattleman’s Beef Association president, told us that India was exporting vast amounts of water buffalo. Later in the hallway, he admitted that he didn’t know whether you got milk or water when you milked a water buffalo. I am still wondering if the folks in India are swimming the water buffalo out of the country or processing them into meat first. My suggestion that NCBA sabotage the water buffalo market by putting up billboards in New Deli alleging that water buffalo were really sacred cows was ignored. The Water Buffalo check-off has been successful in promoting the animal as not just for plowing the rice paddy.
The trade show at the convention tells us quite a bit about where we are these days. There weren’t any lariat ropes or fence tools offered for sale. The booths were mostly livestock feed and vet supplies with a few state agencies and land trusts represented. The ranchers who had rain looked at the jewelry booth. The rest of us just looked around for candy and to see what they had to give away.
At one convention quite a few years ago we kept having the fire alarms go off. About 2 a.m., the alarm went off again and I ignored it. In a few seconds there was somebody pounding on my door. I jumped up and started to open the door when an elderly women in her nightgown pushed her way into my room. She marched right in and picked up the phone. “Open the @#$% door!” she yelled into the phone. Then she smiled sweetly and explained that she had gone out in the hall to see if there was smoke and the door had closed. Her husband had taken out his hearing aides and did not hear her knocking on the door. I stood there in my underwear not certain at all who should have been more embarrassed. So if you saw a woman run out of my hotel room not properly dressed, it was all a misunderstanding.
Sadly, the convention hotel sized us up as only needing one bartender. The wild young men that once patronized Shorty’s Saloon rolled over in their graves when today’s cowboys in old Cheyenne were told it was last call at 11 p.m. Nowadays the extracurricular activities are pretty tame. The stories about one old timer who claimed that he had gone to conventions for 10 years before needing a hotel room, belong to another age. Goodbye old paint, we have left Cheyenne.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News