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Texas Side of Things-May 12, 2023

published: May 12th 2023
by: Jim Banner
source: Southern Livestock Standard

      I would like to think that all of you have had momentous occasions, special memories that we will always remember during our lifetime. Maybe it’s when we graduated from high school or college, or when we got married, had our first child or when the first grand baby was born. It could be when we turned 18, 21, 50 or even 65 years old…I like to think that these are all memorable events. But for me, a day I will live with for the rest of my life was April 20, 2023…that’s the day I became a recognizable, full-fledged Texas rancher.

      Now don’t take me wrong, I’ve owned and raised cattle ever since I was a little boy, but I always felt like I was missing something…particularly, my pickup truck. It just didn’t look like most of the other ranch trucks driven by successful ranchers. But on Thursday, April 20th that all changed for me. Maybe I should explain. I was extremely busy trying to finish at least four different projects all on the same day. I was laying a new water line, putting out fertilizer and getting ready to fly to Kansas City to attend a cattle sale. Meanwhile, Vicki had mentioned that I really needed to go by Mason and sign some legal papers before I left the state. To make matters worse, there was a big celebration in Mason because they were raising the new cupola on the Mason County courthouse. So, I was trying very hard to beat the crowds that I knew would be at the town square to watch the cupola being placed because I knew this was going to be the biggest event in Mason, Texas in the last 100 years.

      So, here I was scrambling around at one of our places in Mason County, trying to explain to a man what I wanted him to do while I was in Mason. My mind was racing as I planned out the perfect schedule that allowed me to go to Mason, sign the papers and then leave before the crowds arrived. Also, I was already thinking about what else I could accomplish once I got back from town. Next, I checked my watch and realized that I only had 20 minutes before the cupola was scheduled to be lifted, so I jumped into my pickup, slammed it into drive, and hit the gas! It was shortly thereafter, and I do mean very shortly thereafter, I heard a loud bang and realized I’d forgotten to lower my tailgate after unhooking my gooseneck trailer. I don’t recall the exact words I used after I heard that loud bang, but I’m pretty sure my mother or my pastor would not approve of me using them. I stopped my pickup, got out and proceeded to make my way to the back end of my truck and sure enough there was my tailgate, jerked off the back in and hanging on by a little bit of electrical wiring. I drive a Ford truck and of course, most of you know the beds and tailgates are made from aluminum, so you can imagine how crumpled up it was lying there in the pasture. But, for those of you that can’t visualize it let describe it this way…it looked like a Bud Light beer can after a transgender person had crushed it.

      At first, I was in shock. This was the first time I had ever left my tailgate up and ripped it clean off, but I soon realized that I was in a very distinguished club…my pickup now looked like about half the trucks I see ranchers driving around. So, I have declared that I am officially a Texas rancher…I own cattle, I lose money with cattle and now I have no tailgate…what a milestone in my life and a memory that I will always remember.

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