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Another Winter Storm & THE AMERICAN!!!!

Day 3 into another winter storm and we are fairing pretty well and thankfully, so are our critters! We had a bit of a scare towards dark on the first day…..our power went out. Luckily, Shane had been out checking our neighbors cows and had seen the insulators on the brink of failure. He knew we were in trouble so he called the power company. There were already not too far away working on another problem. They headed this way as soon as they finished up. I’m so glad they did because we lost power about half an hour after we called in the problem. We were only without power for about an hour……praise to Shane and the power company for both being on the ball!

Earlier that morning, we all went out to check over our cattle. We knew about the storm coming so we always like to make sure our girls are looking good and tucked in where they are supposed to be. The storm was already here……

And the wind was starting to blow……

Chopping ice so the cows can drink the water beneath the ice……

See that pitchfork laying there? That’s my tool…..Shane chops….I get the ice chunks out. I chop once in awhile, but when the wind is blowing and time is an issue….I leave the heavy stuff to him!

The cows were waiting for us to finish up….although from the looks of things….drinking water wasn’t really on their minds….they were looking for cake… sorry girls!

We recently ran out of cake, which happens this time of year. You try to project how much you will feed each day and how long it will last. We are usually pretty close in our estimate. However, that day when the realization that you are out of cake hits….it’s tough. And of course, there is usually a storm after that. I feel especially guilty on those days…….but, we don’t just drop them from feed cold-turkey. We switch them over to high-fat, high-protein lick tubs (Vitalix, this time). It’s crucial to place them in good locations. We put ours down along the creek. This is on the way to water for the cows and it keeps them off the flats, which is a good thing when these winter storms hit. We needed to move a few closer to water and in a closer pasture…..once again, I left the heavy stuff for Shane!

I love how his pants almost fell down…..sorry, dear……had to “capture” the moment. My husband is one of the strongest guys I know…..and he has a huge heart. He’s my big teddy bear……he works hard every day……and yes, I know how very lucky I am to have him in my life!

As you can see, the cows are happy to have these lick tubs:

Before we finish up and head home, we have one last thing to check…..the tank. You saw we had to chop ice at the far end of the pasture….well, closer to home we have a great well. Our goal is to move our cows in closer over the next week. It’s getting close to calving time (this usually begins around the middle of March for us)….and it’s time to switch pastures with the girls. Our heifers will be coming in closer (they haven’t had babies before, so it’s crucial that we keep a close eye on them). Our older cows are pros by now…..we put them out a bit further, yet we still check on them daily (sometimes twice a day….it just depends on the weather and what’s going on). We had turned the tank on earlier….it was a frozen mess….this is what we see when we drive up:

Shane got out to inspect it……water is running…..and the overflow is working….whew! These tire tanks are a life saver. Now the girls have fresh water…..all is good in the world!

So, today is Sunday, March 2nd….an exciting day….I will get to that in a minute. Yesterday was a big day in itself… was my Grandpa Art Reukauf’s birthday. He would have been 91! I spent some time yesterday thinking of him and my Gram June. Also, it was Cowgirl Swank’s 7th Anniversary! It’s amazing how fast time goes…..proud of how far my little company has come!

Now on to the excitement of today……history will be broken today…..the richest one-day rodeo commences in about 4 1/2 hours! Have you heard of it?? I sure hope so!! THE AMERICAN is going to be an amazing event! Live coverage starts at 10 am MST on RFD-TV…..then the rodeo starts at Noon. I have friends competing: our neighbor/friend Lisa Lockhart will be running barrels and Chad Ferley (2-time Saddle Bronc World Champion) will, of course, be in the Saddle Bronc Ridding. He lives in nearby Oelrichs with his wife and the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen! I wish them both a ton of luck! I’m cheering for lots of people…..definitely one in each category: Exemption, Invited, and Qualifier. Here is my list:

Bareback: RC Landingham (E), Bobby Mote (Q) – I saw RC ride in the qualifying events….wow, that guy can ride! Bobby Mote – he’s a legend….need I say more?

Steer Wrestling: Tyler Waquespack (E), Dru Melvin (Q), Ote Berry (I)- I also saw Tyler in the qualifiers. This kid isn’t even of age to legally drink yet….and he’s amazing! Dru Melvin is awesome as well…..he lost his best horse last year in Denver so I have a soft spot for him…..and Ote Berry? Well, he’s a legend as well….not to mention that I’ve known his brother since I was born…..I hope he wins the whole event…..I like to root for the “old” guys.

Team Roping: Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn (Q), Logan Olson/Jordan Olson (E), Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira (I) – I’m a heeler so I really appreciate good heelers. All of the teams there are truly talented…or they wouldn’t be there. Kollin is one of the most accurate heelers I’ve ever seen so I’m picking him. Logan and Jordan really did well in the qualifiers so I’m picking them. Last, but not least…..Jake and Junior…HOLY COW!! Jake is a legend himself, but get a look at his Brazilian heeler…..he is absolutely amazing!! He made me sit up and take notice!! If you don’t know who/what I’m talking about….check out this YouTube video of Junior (Testa) roping….it will knock your socks off!

Saddle Bronc: Chad Ferley (Q), Wade Sundell (Q), Erik Wolford (E), and Dan Mortensen (I). I know…I have 4 picks….can you blame me? Chad is a neighbor/friend and a heck of a saddle bronc rider. Wade is one of my favorites…..I’ve met him and there’s just something about this guy that makes you root for him…..he is charismatic and is always smiling… rubs off on you! Erik Wolford – I’ve been watching him for quite some time…he rides good plus he works for friends of ours up north – The Crago’s…hope he does well! Then there’s Dan Mortenson…..what can I say…..he is IT!! When I was younger I remember Dan coming out to our place. My dad helped to coach him along…this was back when Dan was just starting out. I like to think that what my dad helped him become the champion he is….even if in a small way.

Tie Down Roping: Trevor Brazile (Q), Cory Solomon (E), Fred Whitfield (I) – Trevor is an amazing roper/athlete/man…..he is someone to admire! Cory – he is an amazing roper….very quick….and he’s pretty small….he makes it look easy. Plus, he finished on the bubble last year in the #16 hole….hope he does well. Fred – well, I just finished his book a while back…..he has endured so much and has always come out on top….I would love to see him win it all!

Barrels Racing: Lisa Lockhart (Q), June Holeman (E), Charmayne James (I) – Lisa is a friend/neighbor so I always wish her well…plus, her horse Louie is just awesome! June Holeman – what an inspiration at 70 years old! I truly hope she wins the hole deal! Plus, she autographs all of her pictures with “Grandma June” – I had a Grandma June too…..makes me love her even more! Charmayne – What a legend…..I’m really excited to see what she rides and how she does…..I’m sure it will take my breath away! I’m also rooting for Shelly Anzick (go, Montana girl) and Robbyn Herring……I love her horse, Happy. I could tell you little tidbits about them all, but I will leave it at that.

Bull Riding: J.B. Mauney (I) & Justin McBride (E). I’m not going to lie to you…..I’m not a bull riding fan much. However, I do know that these two guys have been at it for quite some time….so, wish them the best.

Guess that’s it……only 2 hours to go until the pre-show kicks off! How exciting this all is!!! I’m really hoping the $1 Million is won by a Qualifier. This rodeo imitates the American dream…..anything is possible if you work hard! I wish everyone luck and safety……LET’S GO RODEO!!!!!!!!



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