If I was ever chosen to be horse judge for all kinds of horses and had to choose the best looking horse, Abraham would be one of my first to consider. Gary Lewis owned Abraham and he certainly was part of the good looking factor on Abraham. Gary was a cowboy and Gary was a roper. He made Abraham look good. Both of them were a convincing picture that could hang anywhere. This horse was big but very well balanced and handled himself like an athlete. An old man told me one time to saddle the little ones and admire the big ones. Abraham broke the rule. I would put my saddle on him for any job. He was my favorite color, classy brown, not a white hair on him.
We had been working hard for a couple of months shipping all the cattle on several ranches and we were a little excited about finishing up and havin’ a little change of routine, maybe some town lights to begin with. We were moving the last batch of cattle which were the keeping bulls from the shippin’ trap to a larger holding trap for safe keeping until they settled some. We had just year branded and vaccinated them and they were just about as excited as we were to be away from the shipping pens. These were the cream of the crop and hand picked from 1000 cows. There were only twelve of them and they looked like peas in a pod. We were all proud of them, especially the boss Jim Calvert. He picked them.
We had just put them through the gate into a new pasture. We were all sittin’ there waiting on the man to close the gate. The bulls were wandering off, some grazing and the others just looking around. We were waiting for orders, thinking we would take them to a watering and hold them there until they all got settled a little.
Jim looked around and kinda threw his chin up a little and said, “I bet none of you fancy team ropers can head and heel one of those bulls.”
Gary Lewis knew Jim Calvert. He grabbed his rope and spurred Abraham at the same time. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I didn’t want to let Gary have all the fun and no one else moved, so I spurred ole “Ace” and we were off to see the chase. Ace had not a clue. I don’t think I had ever roped a thing on Ace. He was a fine four year old with lots of proper kindergarden but that is all. He was loving the chase but not a clue where he was headed for. The bulls saw Gary coming and threw their tails in the air and were rollin’ in two jumps. They were sure not hanging around for anymore branding and vaccinating. The chase was on and Abraham was into it. Gary had spent plenty of time roping calves on him and this was right up Abraham’s alley. Ace was still in Abraham’s dust. But he was all peepers and loose as a goose. We were buildin’ a fire!!
Just as we came clear of Abraham’s dust Gary roped one of these prize keeping bulls that weighed six hundred pounds if he weighed at all. Gary waved the slack out of his rope that was tied on and Abraham shut it down. He was anchored when the bull hit the end of the rope. Even though the bull weighed less than half of what Abraham weighed, he stretched that nylon rope like it was a piece of bubble gum. He went straight up and was jerked straight over backwards. Before I got to him to heel him I could see his left hind leg was completely broken in two and Gary knew it also. Both of us were open mouthed and wide eyed. The power of Abraham and the weight of that bull was more than the leg could stand and it snapped like a dry twig. When I got to him Gary was still holding a tight rope and all I could do was jump off and grab a front leg. I also grabbed my leggin’s knife and started cutting the bulls throat. I wasn’t sure of what the consequences were going to be, but I was doing all I could do at the time. My heart was heavy. Jim and the rest of the crew rode up just as I was finishing and had my knife in hand with blood all over it. Jim asked me what in the world I was doing ? He wasn’t aware that the hind leg had broken so bad. I pointed to the leg with my knife and the excitement went out of the day. Our holiday was delayed. We had to butcher the bull. Another lesson in controlling our emotions and not letting the excitement level overwhelm our judgment calls.