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Day of the Cowboy Essay: On Ranching

July 21, 2009 — Ranching usually has created a closeness of family and neighbors, a sense of self-reliance and independence, and a use of skills so varied that I still wonder at my father's ability to do blacksmithing, build a timber bridge, doctor cattle and sheep, repair a mower or overshot stacker, judge the condition of stock and range, butcher a dry ewe, or construct a new head gate for an irrigation ditch.

The work required of my mother and other ranch women I knew was equally diverse. And looking back, those years we lived on the ranch seem not to have been an escape from the reality of a modern world, but rather an exposure to older realities deeply rooted in human experience. At the least, I came to recognize that a stockman, to be successful over a span of time, needs intelligence, initiative, adaptability, and an ingrained liking for his work and way of life.

Taken from "Historic Ranches of Wyoming," by Judith Hancock Sandoval, with essays by T.A. Larson and Robert Roripaugh, (Nicolaysen Art Museum, 1986).

UW observes National Day of the Cowboy

Author Robert Roripaugh works at home.

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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