The new issue of Ranch & Reata is out. Unfortunately, it’s the last of what has been an outstanding publication. For more than five years, the magazine has covered a lot of interesting people and places from all around the West. I know, because I had the opportunity to write about many of them.
While I didn’t have a byline in every issue, it was pretty close—and, in a few, I had two stories. That’s the case with this final issue.
“The Top hand and the Tenderfoot” compares the experiences of two poets at the 2016 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering—Wally McRae, who has been there since the beginning more than three decades ago, and Marleen Bussma, who made her first appearance this year. It’s an interesting look at what has become a fixture in the world of Western culture, seen through the eyes of a pair of participants.
Also in the magazine is “Ninety Percent Off,” a story about War Paint, the legendary saddle bronc horse of the ’50s and ’60s who bucked off about nine out of ten of all the rodeo cowboys who stretched a cinch around his middle. Among his victims were the best bronc riders in the business, including world champions. The article was inspired by and quotes Idaho cowboy Bob Schild, who got on—and off—War Paint twice in his career.
I’m sorry to see Ranch & Reata go. It has been a real pleasure to pen stories for them.