I grew up on the passenger side of a ranch pickup. As a kid, I spent as much time as possible riding shotgun in whatever pickup, farm truck, or tractor my parents were driving. I learned more in that seat than most kids could in a thousand books. To this day, one of my favorite ways to spend my spare time is riding along with dad in those passenger seats.
There are many adventures to be had and things to see as the passenger during any ranch activity. Here are a few that stick out the most to me:
I rubbed cold calves during freezing, snowy nights when they needed to come into the ranch pickup to warm up.
I helped rescue lost calves and returned them to their mothers.
The pickup door became my shield when battling a calf’s upset momma as I tried to bring one into the pickup to take to the barn.
I slammed a finger (or maybe two) in the feed truck door.
I climbed up and down and up and down and up and down the tractor steps to open gates…
Speaking of gates, I opened every gate unless I was lucky enough to have someone else volunteer. (This comes along with that shotgun seat, kids.)
I rode down the bull lane and clambered out to “help” feed – which was mostly just putting a hand on the buckets my parents carried.
Eventually I got out and carried grain buckets as we went down the bull lanes.
I never mastered unfolding the “buddy seat” in the John Deere.
I sat on top of a bucket in the hay swather on late summer days when there was no passenger seat.
The best views of the ranch were seen from pieces of equipment.
I held on tight as we chased unruly heifers across the pastures.
New Years Eve celebrations meant heading out at midnight with my mom to check cows ready to calve for the first 17 years of my life.
I lost my passenger seat when I was kicked out for running my mouth when I should’ve been listening.
I thought a lot about respect when I was allowed back into that passenger seat…oops 🙂
Today I prepare paperwork for bull buyers as we pull into their ranches to deliver bulls in the spring.
I asked and still do ask a million questions – observe what was going on – and have learned to answer most of them myself.
I watch my father make many decisions while driving across the ranch.
I give my opinions to dad as we discuss the future of the ranch.
I think about and am hope for the future of our family business.
Someday, my time in the passenger seat will come to an end, but while I still can, I’ll soak up every minute I can spend riding along with my father and learning about this great thing we call the cattle business.
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