Julie Carter

Welcome to the West as I see it

Within these pages, you will find the end result of a lot of living and laughing, finally put between book covers to share with the world. A laugh is never a better laugh than when it can be shared and shared again.

I hope you choose to own a copy of my book, Cowgirl Sass and Savvy. It is a selection of some of the first stories individually published in a syndicated column by the same name that I have written weekly since 2002. They offer you a peek into ranch and cowboy life that isn't what you see as you drive by or what you read in the glossy slick magazines selling cowboy clothes, furniture and adventures.

And most of all, I hope the stories bring you, at the very least, a smile and a good laugh. No better gift could I offer you.

I also offer you a glimpse of this rural area as I see it through my camera lens. Shop the Mercantile page for posters that I have combined my photography with words I have written. Also there are calendars showcasing some of my favorite photos from this year. A link to my landscape photography website will let you browse through what I see when I travel down the dirt roads of the West.

Julie's Weblog

April 4, 2009

T-shirts and Diamonds

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 10:39 am

Some of my favorite people are Texans. In a world where we are not supposed to recognize color, creed, gender or nationality differences, the rules don’t apply for Texans.

Texans are not wealthy by chance. There was a fair amount of sweat involved in the early days – getting the somewhat unruly Indians shipped off to Oklahoma and New Mexico, the wild longhorns trailed to Kansas railheads and turned into money and, of course, getting the oil wells pumping at a steady rate.

Nevertheless, they have their own list of priorities when handling wealth. You won’t find it buried in fruit jars in the backyard. They put it in circulation in a conscientious manner and a good bit of it is still involved in the cattle business – pastures, feedlots and the roping arena.

Texas is home to 130 feed yards of 100,000 head or more and many more of them with a 50,000 carrying capacity. With more than five million Texas cattle marketed annually, the numbers represent more than 30 percent of the nation’s fed cattle.

Texas Cattle Feeders Association statistics document 14 million cattle in Texas.

Neighboring New Mexico, fifth-largest state in the nation and also a large cattle business state, reports between one and two million head.

These businesses have a trickle-down effect on the economy representing millions of dollars. The cowboys who take care of the cattle and the owners who profit from the enterprise are a vastly different economic group, but both are part and parcel of the industry.

Of the nation’s dedicated team ropers, about 25,000 are active in Texas. In the rodeo world, in the team roping event alone, ropers that call Texas home regularly capture 30 percent of the top 50 professional rodeo slots.

Bona fides established, a look at the day-to-day Texan reveals that he is loyal to his friends, his country and both kinds of Lone Star. You might find him in charge of a bank or managing a stock portfolio that represents a couple million dollars. This, right after he lines up his partners for the next weekend’s ropings.

Absolutely, a priority for him will be feeding the horses and taking care of the practice steers. Every afternoon, unless it’s raining right straight down, he will give the Corrientes a little exercise. In some cases, if it continues to rain a while, he might put a roof over the arena.

The rodeo rigs, pickups and trailers were designed with the Texas competitor in mind. When cost is not an issue, comfort and convenience is.

Top of the list? The close proximity of a bathroom facility, right where his horse is tied and his beer is cold.

The women of the roping arena are just dedicated as the men and, whether they admit it or not, the cowboys tend to get a little tense when some of them ride in the arena.

These women are not just beautiful, but always competent roping hands. They will be fashion trendsetters and are never without their customary jewelry.

Comfort is a priority and it has become stylish for them to wear T-shirts while roping. T- shirts and diamonds big enough to blind the competition.

Shy and understated are not terms normally applied to Texas women. They, like the men, figure if you get too much money you can just trade it for something you would like to have.


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