Betcha Can’t

Betcha Can'tDown time during branding season is NOT a good thing. Having to wait on cattle can leave cowboys time to get into trouble or worse, start a game of “Betcha Can’t”.

A round rock was the only toy around, so the game begins.  Don’t be fooled this is not about fun. Even though they act like it.  It’s a competition. I can do this longer than you; I can do this better than you. I can outlast you.  At some point in our lives we’ve either thought or actually spoken it out loud.

Competitiveness among peers is a good thing.  It brings out our best. It pushes us harder to go farther. Using this psychological tool strengthens the human spirit.

So if you want to get the best out of your crew or some individual, try offering up the phrase “Betcha Can’t”..

—Mike Tabor





Breaking News

Breaking News 3Cowboys are given a section of the ranch for which they are responsible.  This means daily circles through the pastures, checking on new babies, health conditions or just getting a head count on his part of the herd.

A solitary part of the job, just him, his horse and Mother Nature.
Stopping to get a cool drink of water, he squats down by the stream; silence surrounds him.

Just then the quiet is broken by cracking limbs, crushing leaves and a rustling in the brush. Hopefully it’s just a rabbit or a deer and not something of greater concern. Either way it’s “Breaking News”

— Mike Tabor






Cold Water

Cold Water

Big pastures on a hot summer’s day.

After making his afternoon rounds, that old saddle starts collecting some heat. Not to mention that hot horse underneath him is like sitting on a furnace.

“Better check the windmill,” seems like a good idea.  Windmill inspection of course means that water is involved.

Stepping out of the saddle, he takes a good long look around to make sure the coast is clear.

Skins out of the things he doesn’t want wet and steps into the water trough.

Lowering himself into the water his focus switches to a sense of renewal… “Cold Water”

— Mike Tabor






Company Man

Company Man

Early mornings, fueled by coffee and anticipation of the days possibilities, he hits the road. Travels lead to adventure and new experiences. From L.A. to New York, this faithful servant performs his magic.

The product is irrelevant; it may be steers in Montana or stocks in Manhattan. It’s his job, his responsibility. Pride in his effort quickens his step.

On the ranch we call it “riding for the brand.” It means we represent, we stand behind and we honor our word. You can count on it. You can count on him.

This is the modern day working man. Proud and focused for he is a “company man.”

—Mike Tabor









Realizing that this may indeed be their last trip together, maybe for the rider, maybe for the horse or maybe for both; who knows?

What is there at the end? The end of a day, the end of a job, or the end of a career?

To say thanks, well done or we appreciate all you’ve done seems hollow.   At some point in our lives, we will all be forced to face this quiet giant. What do you say, what do you do?  How do we truly say how much you have meant to us?

I don’t have the answer, but I know you will figure it out.  Just know you have my deepest, heartfelt most sincere “Gratitude”.

— Mike Tabor



HeritageHis years are many and his eyes have seen much. The changing of the seasons, the migration to lower country before the snow begins to fall.

With new births, and the burial of his fallen tribesmen. Battles won and battles lost, yet he still stands capable and willing to serve.

This is instilled in his heart and soul for this life is his people’s prayer.

Give me the strength, the courage, and the pride to maintain our “Heritage”.

— Mike Tabor




Lines of Communication

Lines of CommunicationSometimes the weight seems too heavy. A young man trying to carve out a living ranching. Family land helps, but the other costs have things pulled pretty tight.

There is no expense account, no company truck, and no cost of living increase. Just a product and a market that is extremely unpredictable.

His pride spurs his want. A want to prove to everyone that he can make it. That he can survive.

With so much ahead of him, he pauses for a moment to give thanks for his blessings; the little things, things that really do matter. Well-oiled bridle reins for direction. Steering a good horse that could probably lead himself. A good catch rope, for doctoring and relocation; but most of all, the strings of the heart. These little blessings are his lifelines.

His “Lines of Communication.”

—Mike Tabor


Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Springtime brings new colts to the ranch.

Careful planning has gone into breeding these mares.  Matching the right stud with the right mare is a strategic process. Do these genetics match up? Will he help this outfit produce the best offspring for our program?  What are we trying to do?

Prettier heads, bigger hindquarters are great but, we want a good mind and a colt that has a lot of cow in him.  After all we’re raising ranch horses.

Sure he looks good but will he be the “Next Big Thing”.

— Mike Tabor




PatriarchThe Spaniards brought the longhorn to America in 1493. Their numbers estimated five million by the end of the Civil War.

Known for their hardiness, the longhorn has the ability to adapt. It’s been said that they’ve withstood blizzards, droughts, and dust storms only to thrive. Ecologically adaptive with good health, fertility, disease resistance and soundness of body and limb the breed has easily adapted to all types of climate from the steamy Gulf Coastal regions to the colder higher elevations of the United States and Canada.

Almost bred out of existence, by the 1920’s only a few small herds remained but, in 1927, the United States Forest Service gathered a small heard of breeding stock in south Texas and moved them to the Wichita Mountain’s Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Smaller herds were put in Texas state parks to perpetuate the breed. The stocks longevity, disease resistance and ability to thrive in marginal pastures have quickly revived this majestic creature.

His perseverance has left his country with a true “Patriarch.”

—Mike Tabor



Rainmaker1 copyRevered by the tribe for his connection with the spirits, the BlackfootShaman is a leader of men whose advocacy is required by his people.

Inside the tent he is neither the chief nor an elder, but it is his word that they rely on.

Aware of his ancestry, the Shaman sees the future with a deep respect for the past.

He knows when to climb the mountain and when to walk the valley.
When his people are sick, he heals the body, mind, and spirit.
When his people seek advice, he counsels.

And when there is thirst…., he is the “Rainmaker”

— Mike Tabor



The Story Teller

Story Teller

Every group has one, that guy; the guy who has a story, a story better than the one just told.  If you feed this guy some libations you can actually watch his stories get bigger and bigger.  The stories usually start out with “Hey, did I ever tell you about……or you probably won’t believe this but, I swear it’s true.  They usually end with another swear of the truth.

It seems that these stories are related to time somehow.  The later the evening, the grander these tales become.

We often take his stories as they say “with a grain of salt”, because we know him, we love him, and we know he absolutely means no harm.

If you think about it, he’s in the entertainment business and that’s a good thing, otherwise, one of us would have to be “that guy”, you know…..

“The Story Teller”.

—Mike Tabor



Winds of Change

Winds of Change

The role of the frontier woman is the same as it has been since the west was born. Up before sunrise, working long hard days till well past sunset. Generations of western women have followed the footsteps of their female role models, mothers, grandmothers, or just icons of admiration. Passing the torch down has brought about new and fresh ideas.

These women truly have become the “Winds of Change.”

—Mike Tabor










With Respect

With RespectOn the ranch hierarchy is a position called the “cow boss”.

He only answers to the ranch manager or the owner.This position is not the one you apply for, you can only get there by earning it.

He has done and can still do whatever is required to make sure his cattle responsibilities are fulfilled. He would never ask his cowboys to do anything that he hasn’t done before and believe you me, he had better not have to ask you to do it. If it needed to be done you had better have seen it and do it before it needed to be discussed.

We call him Boss Man, “With Respect”

— Mike Tabor