Who wants a neighbor like that? They’ll invite you over to preg check cows and they’ll have color-coordinated facilities designed by Temple Grandin. They’ll use a different needle for every cow, have electronic ear tags and their hydraulic squeeze chute will be inside a building.

The next thing you know, your wife will be asking, ‘Why don’t we have one of those?’”

“I see your point, ReRide.”

“They’ll have a veterinarian, a manager of sustainability and a Ph.D. in wildlife management all on staff. They’ll have weekly meetings and the number one agenda item at every meeting will be how to keep your cattle on their own side.

They’ll have fences with razor and concertina wire with guard towers at every corner just to keep their 15,000-dollar bulls from breeding your 800-dollar cows. And their director of biosecurity will call you all the time about trich-related issues. Whatever that means.”


“That would sure cut down on my carrying capacity. And I’d have to buy more range bulls,” I admitted.

“Talk about feelin’ inferior. They’ll drive brand-new pickups and pull trailers with a small condo inside with more living space than your house. They’ll have silver on their saddles and spurs, and have reins made by Mr. Ortega himself. And they’ll ride 50,000-dollar horses once owned by Trevor Brazile.

“They won’t work the ground at your branding because of the bad knee they injured playing polo. Make you want to puke, I tell ya. They’ll be name-dropping all the time about who their bulls are related to, and you can bet your bottom dollar their horses won’t have names like Horse Face, Old Puke or Stinky.

They’ll pay 10,000 dollars for cow dogs that can do the work of five men, prompting your wife to say, ‘If we had one of those I wouldn’t have to plug holes in fences when I have the flu.’”

“But won’t they increase the value of all the ranches in the area?” I asked.

“You’re kidding, right? Who’s gonna want your shack when they have compounds with hunting lodges, metal shops for woodworking and hangars for airplanes, brand-new D-8’s, road graders and hay balers.

And your wife will wonder why their hired help all live in better homes than you do. She’ll ask, ‘Why do they have medical insurance pensions and retirement plans?’”

“Tell me, Lee,” said ReRide, “do you have a 401k?”

“What’s that,” I asked. “Some model number for a tractor?”

ReRide was on a roll. “They’ll host field days where other ranchers will put their legs up on their vinyl fences, look at your place and say, ‘What a dump!’ No, thank you very much. I don’t want a neighbor like that. That’s a neighbor from Hell.”

ReRide continued, “No sirree, give me a neighbor whose fences are falling down, whose lead-up alley is made of bed springs, whose cattle are every color of the rainbow, whose gooseneck doesn’t have a changing room and whose horses don’t make any sudden moves.

Give me a neighbor whose brandings are an adventure without 37 townies on inbred horses gathering the cattle according to a plan.

“I want a neighbor who will trust me with a branding iron, a needle and a knife. A neighbor who will come to my aid at the drop of a hat and loan me anything I need without signing a rental agreement, even if it’s something I loaned him to begin with.

I don’t want a neighbor who makes me feel jealous but one who makes me feel superior in every way. A neighbor who is a worse roper than I am and whose cattle make mine look like purebreds. In other words, a neighbor just like I have now.”

“Thanks a lot, ReRide. I like you, too.”  end mark