Tag: Empire Ranch Fall Roundup

Cowboys and Tomatoes

What do cowboys and tomatoes have in common? Nothing that I can think of! I just needed a name for this post.

Soose commented on my Empire Ranch Roundup post, asking for more details on the calf roping demonstration. We came upon the demonstration towards the end of it and only watched about five or six minutes. There were three cowboys on horses with ropes and their job was to cut out (separate) one calf from the three or four in the pen. The goal is to do it as quietly, peacefully, as possible. If you’ve ever been to a rodeo, or watched one on television, you know that is not the goal at the rodeo. A rodeo is a competition, so speed and accuracy in roping the calf are what counts. In real life, keeping the calves as calm as possible is the goal, as it is when you are working with any animals. Calm animals are easier to work with and decrease the danger possibility. Calm animals also keep the other animals calm, which will make the job just that much easier.

So, the three cowboys selected the calf they wanted to rope. They maneuvered their horses around until they had the one calf separated from the others. Each of them had a lariat and one at a time, one would throw the lariat and attempt to put it over the head/neck of the calf. Eventually one succeeded and then another cowboy roped the legs. I wasn’t really able to see how this was done, with the crowd in front of me, but the end result was that two cowboys had ropes on the calf and the calf was on the ground, stretch out so that it was pretty much immobile. These were pretty tamed calves, being used for demonstrations, so it didn’t protest much, but even if it had wanted to, the calf would not have been able to move much.

The third cowboy jumped off his horse, went over to the calf, and, if it had been in a working herd, the calf would have been branded or perhaps medicated for an injury or whatever needed doing to it. The two cowboys responsible for keeping the calf immobile kept their ropes taut, but not so taut as to cause injury or harm to the calf. They waited until the third cowboy was back upon his horse before they loosened their ropes, thus freeing that calf, who quickly was on his feet and back over to the “safety” of the herd, or, in this case, the other calves.
While this was all going on, each of the three cowboys were miked and they explained to the audience what they were doing and there was also a fourth cowboy giving a narrative, so there was a lot of explanation to the crowd. Most of what was told to the audience was familiar to us, as former dairy farmers and having years of experience working around animals. The one thing that was new to me was the fact that the two cowboys waited for the third to get back on to his horse, as a courtesy and safety measure. If they released the calf before the cowboy was seated, it could have charged the cowboy and his horse, possibly injuring one or both.

And that is about the sum of what we learned at the Empire Ranch Roundup. Bill thought we would have enjoyed it more if we had gone with another couple who was more into “doing” events like that, or who were more interested in the topic in the first place. Me? I had absolutely the most fun on our hour long wilderness drive in the solitude. We had four vehicles and one four-wheeler pass us on the road during that hour. Bill always pulls off and lets vehicles pass him when we are on excursions like that. He knows at any moment I’m going to want to hop out of the car and take pictures! He’s so sweet.

Believe it or not, I am still picking tomatoes!

fall tomatoes

They are small, and not extremely flavorful, but we are eating them to the tune of about two a day in salads. It has gotten close to freezing a few nights recently, so they are ripening much more slowly. And these are supposed to be “beefsteak” tomatoes!! Cool weather, less sunshine, and plants dying back equals small tomatoes.

Empire Ranch Fall Roundup

Saturday Bill and I ventured out to the Empire Ranch Fall Roundup. I have always wanted to visit the Empire Ranch, mostly just to see what was beyond the hill where the sign is located. The Roundup seemed like a good excuse to go, so we did. I honestly didn’t think it was an event that we would enjoy or even stay long at, and I was right. But it was a glorious fall day and we both enjoyed just getting out and going somewhere, anywhere!

Empire Ranch

Empire Ranch (beyond all the vehicles!)

The ranch itself probably would be interesting to tour. It was located about five miles, off the highway, down a dusty dirt road. The views were spectacular. My comment to Bill was, “100 years ago, if you didn’t have it or couldn’t make it, you didn’t need it. This must have been truly the middle of nowhere back then!”

Mustang Mountains

Looking southeast to the Mustang Mountains (15 miles as the crow flies)

We walked around, watched a calf roping demonstration (totally different mentality than what you see with rodeos), listened to some live music, wandered through the exhibits and vendors, and decided we’d seen enough.

Wagon tours at the Empire Ranch Fall Roundup

Wagon tours at the Empire Ranch Fall Roundup

Whetstone Mountains

Heading out, looking east to the Whetstone Mountains (10 miles as the crow flies).

The plan was to go back the way we came and have lunch in Sonoita. As we left the ranch and came to the right turn that would take us back to the main highway, we saw this sign:

Road Sign

The direction we came in from the main road was behind me as I took this picture. We had just come from the left arrow when we left the ranch. Where on Highway 82 did the road come out? Was the road passable with our Neon? What would we see?

Guess which way we went?!

Follow Me!

This was our guide to our parking spot yesterday when we visited the Empire Ranch Roundup & Open House:

parking guide