Buffalo make a tough tradition

By Baxter Black

The lure to own something of historical significance is strong — Benjamin Franklin’s signature, an arrowhead, Dale Evans’ Chapstick.
This connection to tradition is part of the popularity of raising buffalo, I think. However, putting bison on display on your farm is more complicated than parking an antique tractor in your shed.
Kenny was having a clearance sale. Four buffalo cows and one bull. A country gentleman with 20 acres called and a deal was made. The gentleman assured Kenny he knew what he was doing. His wife and he already had two llamas and an emu, and he had seen Dances With Wolves.
He showed up at Kenny’s place in a brand new Chevy 3/4-ton pickup and a 20-foot stock trailer that didn’t have a scratch or speck of manure on it. Kenny’s own buffalo hauling trailer looked more like an armored car or the bed of a dump truck. He looked at the 3/4-inch pipe and tin foil sides of the gentleman’s rig and decided to keep his mouth shut.
It took the gentleman 30 minutes and 40 acres to get backed up to the loading chute. He walked back wearing his brand new black cowboy hat, boots, and a buffalo head bolo tie carrying a bullwhip.
“What do I do?” he asked.
“Sit in the pickup till I get ’em loaded,” Kenny said.
The cows complied but the bull was being difficult. Finally Kenny got him up to where he was sniffing the trailer floor when the gentleman poked his head around the corner, spooking the bull and causing Kenny to dive for cover.
After re-instructing the gentleman to stay in the truck, Kenny snapped a long lead rope to a chain that hung from a ring in the bull’s nose. He then ran the lead rope around a pipe in the trailer, took a dally on a corral post and worked the bull back up the chute right to the trailer again.
Once again, in an effort to help, the gentleman peered around the corner, scaring the bull who pulled back so hard the snap broke. The lead rope whipped around, the broken snap cracked across the gentleman and broke his arm.
“What do I do?” cried the gentleman.
“Stay in the truck!”
The third time was the charm; the bull loaded with a little help from a plastic bag and a fence stay. He circled and banged inside his cage while the gentleman counted out the cash with his good arm.
Suddenly the bull charged the tailgate, got a horn under one horizontal bar and ripped three of them loose! The welds popped like snaps on a shirt! He stuck his head out.
“What do I do!” hollered the gentleman.
“They’re not mine,” said Kenny to the gentleman behind the wheel. “But I believe ’bout every couple minutes I’d slam on the brakes to keep him from makin’ the hole bigger.”
Kenny watched as the truck and trailer headed down his driveway with the buffalo stickin’ out like a trophy on the den wall. Then he heard the screech of brakes and saw the buffalo disappear.
Tradition don’t come easy.

Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at:
headcowboy@baxterblack.com