Jan Swan Wood: Rain! World Show qualifier, Bascom inducted, more feral horse follies
I am so thrilled with all the moisture the area’s been getting. We are so green now that it nearly hurts the eyes. Of course, the lack of old grass to clutter up the color scheme makes it that way. I hear that there’s been some dams filling throughout the area and it’s sure encouraging. We’ve had over 3.5 inches so far. Hallelujah! I almost had to hit someone with a cast iron skillet the other day, but he didn’t go ahead and actually complain about the rain and mud. Good thing. I’d hate to have broken my beloved Grandmother’s fry pan.
At Dennison, Iowa’s AQHA show May 24-27, Kirk Hall, Hot Springs, SD, did really well. Riding Semi Dry China, a 2007 mare owned by Mick Anderson of Custer, SD, Kirk won the Sr. Working Cowhorse. They were named circuit champions and qualified for the World Show. Congrats as well to his fiance’, Shelly Silkman, for winning the Amateur Box Only. Always nice to see the up-and-coming trainers hit the mark. Kirk’s horses have an advantage over many horses in training in that they are used regularly on the ranch. During calving, this good mare took her turn checking springers, tagging and doctoring calves, and covering the miles alongside the ranch horses and other horses in training. That’s what I call a REAL working cowhorse!
On May 24, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame at Red Deer, Alberta, inducted Earl Bascom (1906-1995). He is a very significant figure in all rodeo history for his innovations that not only changed rodeo at the time but are still in use today. The modern side opening bucking chute (1919), hornless bronc saddle (1922), one handed bareback rigging (1924) and modern rodeo riding chaps (1926) were some of his innovations. Earl is also the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor which gained him renown as well.
My neighbor, Lane Schuelke, has qualified for the National Jr. High School Finals rodeo in Gallup, NM, June 23-29 in the tie down roping. I have it on good authority that he fit a nice bronc ride in the process! Too bad he missed him out coming out of the roping chute or he maybe could have gotten a score. He’s another all around hand from a fine family of ranch and rodeo people.
June 14 is the date for the Red Dirt and Roughstock at Highmore, SD. There will be 10 barebacks, 10 saddle broncs and 10 bulls, plus a wild show. Top stock and cowboys will be there, plus trick riding by Christy Willert. Go to for more info.
Just to bring you up to speed, the BLM is holding, at our expense, 49,369 feral horses and 1,340 burros in various facilities across the nation. There are still 31,500 horses and 5,800 burros roaming the west. So, the head and founder of the anti-gather group American Wild horse Preservation Campaign says that the BLM is forcing a crisis by stockpiling these animals. She says that there are “humane and cost effective” solutions, like birth control, available and criticizes the BLM for not using them. Well, guess who owns the patent on said birth control? HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) does.
In the mean time, BLM is planning to gather a bunch of horses off drought stricken Elko and White Pine Counties in northeastern Nevada. Due to there being no feed or water and excessive damage wrought to the 1.8 million acres by the feral horses. The area can only sustain 550 horses on an average year and about 1,000 head on really good one. It has over 1,500 head on it now, even after removing 1,400 two years ago.
Obviously, something needs to change, but letting the already fat coffered HSUS get richer with their exclusively owned birth control for horses, which will cost us many millions, just sticks in my craw. It’s not a permanent solution, either, as the BC has to be re-administered on a regular schedule. I have a couple of ideas for controlling that population that would work. Set up a portable slaughter plant (kind of on the order of the fishing boat/canneries) at the catch pens and holding facilities and utilize all this healthy, lean protein in our USDA foods programs for the needy. It would certainly reduce numbers! Can you imagine the screaming and gnashing of teeth that would erupt over that? Kind of entertaining to just envision that. If nothing else, a sharp knife on the studs and a quick spay on the mares would be way more effective than that birth control. Doesn’t have to be re-administered either.
Well, with that, I’ll call this a circle. Send me your news items and coming events! Enjoy the green grass! If you’ve been praying for rain and got some, don’t forget to thank the good Lord for it!
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News