The West Ain't Dead

The West Ain’t Dead


                                                        Mike Capron


You don’t have to go very far to hear some old coot tell about how the way things used to be and how it was when he was runnin’ things.  With all the changes and modern technology getting louder every day, it is easy for me to join the band wagon about how the west is gone. But the other day something happened that made me want to break out my old bedroll and join the spring branding season. A friend called from Montana and said his son was Jigger Boss at the YP ranch in Nevada and they were looking for a cook for the spring branding. My first thought was that was going to be a tough one to find as it was late in the winter and most camp cooks were already taken for the spring works, but I told him I would do the best I could. I called around for a couple of days with no luck in finding a cook.  We were playing 42 one afternoon when the Cow Boss from the YP called and introduced himself, telling me about the cooking job he had and what they were looking for.  Sounded very reasonable to me and I enjoyed the visit with the cow boss. We had a good visit and I told him I would keep looking. When I hung up we went back to the 42 game and Rowdy Holmsley, who was on the opposing 42 team, told me I need to call Peery (his brother) about the cooking job. I was shocked as I knew Peery could cook, but I didn’t think he had ever cooked for a cow outfit, especially with a crew of 18 men. But I called him and explained the job to him, the best I could from all the cow boss had told me.  Peery was so excited,…….he said he have been waiting for this call all his life…………….I was rocked back in my chair and gave him the cow bosses phone number and said good luck. 

A couple days passed and Peery called telling me, I got the cooking job and I am on my way to the YP ranch in Tuscarora Nevada.   What could I say…….?????  Other than,……really, tell me more. He said it was going to be a Hoot, 18 men including the owners and family members, two meals a day, breakfast and evening meal when they come back to camp. They have a new mobile kitchen that is all enclosed and built on a semi-trailer. The cowboys would leave camp after early breakfast and go brand what calves they could gather around a designated watering. The numbers would vary depending how many cattle were watering at that location, but they would be from 150 to 350 calves that had to be branded every day, with portable panels and nothing but men, horses and ropes to hold the calves. Their procedure was to have 4 sets of ropers to head and heel the calves and drag to flankers and processors. I wasn’t there but I know that it takes good hands to work 350 calves in a day with just ropers, horses, and a ground crew. Plenty far West………!!!!!!!!!!    

In 30 plus days the cow boss called and said that Peery was on his way home and he had been the best cook ever, he can out cook my Grandma……..!!!!! 

Peery arrived back in Texas the next day and I ran into him on his way to his grandsons for supper. Peery said it was a wonderful time at the YP and he was going back if they still wanted him. I quizzed Peery about the outfit in general. Peery said it was a tight run ship, nothing fancy and the owner was there every day and helped out. He was a descendent of the one who put it together. I didn’t ask many personal questions but it sounded like a cow outfit, no hunting and extra income from minerals etc., just cows, I didn’t ask how many, but he said they planned to brand close to 4000. Not sure how many years they have been in business but the conversation led me to believe it was in it’s third or fourth generation. Very impressive for the ranching business to be passed down that long with family members still on the working crew.

Men who can do something and get the job done, are always a good story to me……!!!!!!!!!!!

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