She Ain’t Got a Chance



by  Mike Capron
This painting reminds me of a time when 3 of us were trying to catch David’s bull. He
was a full grown mature athlete. He was raised in the Guadalupes and a Maverick. He had never been in a corral and spent his whole life doing exactly as he pleased. He was wild but not spoiled. He had never been exposed to any domestic procedures. This is the same bull that outran Deck and me going straight up Raider Ridge. 

David had put together a good crew of cowboys and we assembled with the idea of having a good time while we worked David’s cows. We figured this would be a cake walk. 
The drive came together just like we planned and we weren’t far from the corrals and a big water lot where we planned to pen them. Nobody knew the cattle, so we were on our toes, not knowing what to expect and it was moderately brushy. 
I saw my bull right off, he was in the middle of the herd and his head was up and peering around like a periscope on a submarine. He was checking out the situation, but respectful so far.  We got the herd and the bull penned with no excitement. We had to cut off a small bunch and move them to a smaller pen in order to separate small pairs and shipping yearlings.  The bull made sure he wasn’t included in the move.  
We got the shippers stripped to the shipping pen and put the small pairs in another pen to work later. This procedure continued until we got to the last bunch in the water lot, which included the big bull. We moved them to the smaller pen to strip the shippers, but that was just too tight for the likes of this bull. I moved thru the pen full of cattle in the direction of the bull hoping to cut him out and move him to the shipping pen or the pen full of small pairs. He felt my pressure right away. He looked over his shoulder and the water lot was next to this pen. He took two steps and jumped the pipe corral fence without touching a layer of paint on the pipe. Nobody saw this but I took big notice. That corral fence was saddle horn high and he would have jumped right over me and never touched my saddle horn. I figured he would be fine until we stripped the shippers and then we would put the small pairs back in the water lot and re-pen him. Maybe he would stay with the cows and small un-branded calves. This worked fine and we moved all the small pairs to a larger draggin’ pen with the bull. The boss wasn’t sure what he was going to do with this piece of masculinity; sure was a fine herd bull. He told us to spot the trailers to put the shippers in and he would make up his mind what to do with this sharp horned problem. 
We loaded all the shippers and it worked out where we would have to crowd a trailer to fit him in. So it was decided to keep the bull as a herd bull. We would stretch him out in the branding pen and give him some brands and ear marks. Several of us had our ropes down and loops built when we rode into the draggin’ pen, but it was for not. Mr. Maverick took quick glance at us and cleared the back fence just like he did the other fence. I could tell it was not an accident, he was an athlete, but I was sure his time was coming. He was just postponing his domestication. He had jumped back into the water lot, not that the fence was so great there either, but he was comfortable there. We worked the small calves and moved them to the water lot. We planned to move them just outside and hold them up until we could get ropes on the bull and stretch him out. 
The minute he saw us coming with the cows and calves he jumped the water lot fence. Jumping fences with him was easier than takin’ a deep breath. He stayed with the cows and calves just fine until we got outside and to a good spot for a hold up.  But this was asking too much of the bull to stay in one spot. He was ready to roll and looking for a chance to make a get-a-away. He made a run on the opposite side of the herd from me first, but James managed to turn him and get him back in the herd. But he didn’t stay long, he was milling faster and made another dash on the downhill side. He was rolling when he encountered Jack and Ed. But here again cowboys and horses made it hot enough to convince the bull that is was cooler in the herd. We had planned to catch him the first chance we had without stirring up the herd, but the herd was not settling. Probably because of the bull buzzing back and forth. We were all trying to be patient but El Toro wasn’t buying it.  I was on the uphill side and the safe zone compared to everyone else. I was also riding Alpo who was still in his boot camp stages of horsemanship. He was slight in build, but his heart was as big as any. I really liked him because he could go with the best of them in rough country, even though he could buck me off on his worst day and my best day. 
Alpo was enjoying the activity and I was nervous and concerned, we weren’t equipped heavy enough for the likes of this bull. Me and Alpo didn’t weigh what this bull did and I am not sure I wanted to rope him as bad as he wanted to get away from all this civilization. I knew this was coming to a head and I was as ready as I could get. 
The bull came back into the herd exactly opposite of me and never changed directions. He came in headed east and left the herd headed east, coming right straight at me and Alpo. I had a plan and it wasn’t going to be to catch him around the neck. I wanted to turn him more than anything, but the look in his eye wasn’t respectful and I felt like we were invisible. He wasn’t paying any attention to us.  The bull did not acknowledge our presence in any way.  Alpo was on his maiden voyage when it came to roping anything. I knew he wasn’t ready for the likes of this gentleman. I was going to rope feet, either front or back, I didn’t care.
 Alpo was all eyes and getting down and holding his ground and waiting. I couldn’t tell what the bull had on his mind except going straight east uphill in a high lope. He got close enough that I could see that he was as serious as any mad bull I’d ever seen before. I wasn’t going to let him hit me and Alpo. That would be like a bowling ball hitting a paper cup. I waited a little long to encourage Alpo to get out of the way. This was a little too much for Alpo’s experience. Mr. Bravo dropped his head and changed gears to overdrive. I got braced for the impact, but my boy Alpo made a move that elevated my appreciation for Alpo.  We didn’t get completely out of the way, but we stayed topside and the bull got a small piece of hide on Alpo’s hindquarters with one horn. We finally got wheeled around and chasing the bull. I could tell Alpo wasn’t excited about being anywhere close to this sharp horned cowboy hater. But I managed to coax him back on the bull’s trail. I was excited to see James and Jack fall in with me on this Bull’s trail. I knew that bull didn’t have a chance know. James and Jack were both mounted to the hilt and the likes of this bull would be not test for these two.  We all topped out about the same time and could see the bull just going out of sight down into the canyon. The terrain changed fast from there on. It was steep downhill. Rocky with ledges, cedar, catclaw, lechuguilla, and some kind of thick tangly underbrush. We did a good job of overtaking him, but it didn’t last long. We didn’t get a throw before we got separated from him and each other by various obstacles. The roping arena turned into an obstacle course. I didn’t know what his plan was, but it sure was had to keep him in sight. We had to ride hard to keep getting glimpses of him. He was definitely outrunning us. I was hoping to beat him to the bottom and turn him uphill. Maybe it would slow him down and the  other side would be less brush and smoother sailing. 
So much for best laid plans of mice and men. I got to the bottom in fine shape, but not sure if I was ahead or behind him. I waited for a short spell at the bottom but no sight of him or my compadres.   I could hear rocks rolling and bush breaking on the hill side, so I quit the bottom and gave chase up the hillside in the direction of the rocks I could hear rolling. but when I got to the top, I was all alone and not a sound. I hadn’t seen any sign of tracks or guacamole . So I started scouting back down looking for some sign of man or beast. When I got to the bottom I rode down the canyon for a good spell before I saw any sign at all and it was had to tell what had been down the canyon before me. It was mostly rocks moved and broken limbs on bushes. 
I rode a good spell looking for more sign, but nothing of great value. I heard a man holler, so I hollered back and we got together. It was James and hadn’t had any more luck than me. He had lost him about the same place as I did and we couldn’t figure out wether he had gone down the canyon or up the hillside. He hadn’t seen or heard from Jack either. We split up, making a circle back towards the herd, looking for Jack and the bull. We found Jack not far up on the hillside looking for sign also. We compared notes and learned nothing. Mr. Toro had made the slip and escaped again. We decided to return to the rest of the crew and see how the herd was faring. We tipped our hat to El Toro and made a promise to the next time. We were not going to cut him any slack and be sure to come loaded for bear next time. 
But the next time never came, I have no idea where that bull went or what ever became of him. My Hat is off to him, he was one of the greatest individuals I ever encountered. 
It is hard for me to say, “She Ain’t Got a Chance” .  This painting brings back lots other memories. I sure enjoy them. 

 

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