Tag Archives: buckaroo

The Cow Town Of Elko…

I heart Elko, Nevada.  I work at JM Capriola’s, and hear conversations like this:

Clerk to shopping buckaroos: “How about some speed burners?”
Buckaroo #1: “What do I need those for?  I never catch”
Buckaroo #2: “At least you could see your rope in the fog”

Customers come in and discuss who got bucked off a gentle horse, who got canned at which big outfit, how much snow is piled up on Lamoille Pass, and the cattle market as it applies to one’s ability to buy Christmas presents.  Area ranchers use Cap’s as an exchange point.  We recently held half a dozen pies and a plastic pumpkin full of Halloween decorations behind the counter awaiting pickup. 

A pipe line worker’s wife came into the store at Thanksgiving and marveled that we didn’t have a shopping mall.  She’s right!  By golly, how can a town survive in contemporary times without a regular mall?!  Elko boasts 5 western wear and feed stores, however.  I guess that tells a person where the citizens’ interests lie. 

It seems Elko is 4 hours from anywhere.  It’s a 4-hour drive to Boise, Reno, and Salt Lake City.  But then to others, we ARE the destination.  People drive over from Winnemucca to purchase items stocked at our Wal-Mart that they can’t find at theirs.  To folks in Tuscarora (both of them), Elko is a roaring metropolis.  When I’m at home at night, I look a couple miles down the hill to Elko and see a basin full of twinkling lights.  It’s just the right amount of lights; they have a definite visible boundary, and the hills to the east and west swallow them up.

Yesterday, Allie came home and asked if I’d noticed the smell of propane wafting around the county.  I guess there’s been a gas leak for a few days now, and no one knows what’s causing it.  I wasn’t concerned, though.  This is Elko – it’s just a little rough.  The miners and cowboys who frequent this town boldly look a woman up and down in broad daylight, you can play the slot machines at any grocery store, the smell of cigarette smoke in the casinos will make you sick the next day, and washing clothes at the laundromat takes courage. 

I read in the Elko Daily Free Press today that Elko county reported no new murder cases for 2010.  See?  It’s a friendly place.  A person might be scared half to death at times, but you won’t be all the way dead 🙂

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Far From Town

How far away from town do I want to live?  1876.  Okay, I guess that’s not possible, so I’ll settle for an hour and a half.  Or, in Eastern Oregon driving directions “Three beers and turn left.”

I always get to thinkin’ that the 1800s would have been the ideal time period.  No cell phones (I have a current fantasy of throwing mine into a creek), no fences (I want to be able to ride as far as I can see), no zoning restrictions or building codes (I’m not much with a hammer and nails, but it just seems nice to be able to build things at will), and no Wal-Mart.  There is the flip side, of course: people died of the flu, women had no pain meds during childbirth, fresh fruit in the off season just didn’t exist for the common person, and a ripe old age was 42.

I guess people in the 1800s didn’t spend all their time sitting around campfires playing the fiddle and scraping together $2.50 to buy Ma a new bolt of fabric for Christmas.  She probably then had to make the entire family a year’s worth of clothing from the fabric.  I secretly like the thought that it took all day to make the twenty-mile journey to town to buy the fabric, though.  Ahorseback is my favorite mode of transporation.  Trotting away from the barn in the morning is the best part of the day, with trotting back to the barn in the afternoon a close second.  All the trotting that occurs in between is pretty sweet, too.

Living far from town where trotting lots of miles is a necessity and not a weekend trail ride, a person sure learns to be independent.  What do you do with no cell service?  You learn to think and solve your own dang problems.  You get good, clear directions before you are dropped off on your circle.  You sit and think a spell, a rare and antiquated pasttime in today’s info-in-an-instant world of high-speed Internet, OnStar roadside assistance, and GPS systems that tell you where to turn.  Just to be a rebel, I tape a map to my dashboard and figure out my own route.  I’m frequently lost, but that’s okay.  I have plenty of Ian Tyson CD’s and I’m not afraid to put ’em on repeat.

Yeesh, I keep sitting down to write something quiet and contemplative, reflect on the rural ranching lifestyle, then find myself on a tirade against technology.  Yet here I am, typing my thoughts to the world wide web, hoping people will read and relate and thus advance my writing career.  Maybe that’s why I’m out of sorts: I like being isolated and far from town, but to survive in today’s world, we have to be connected and up-to-speed with technology.  Okay, I’ll go with it for a while, but as soon as I get established for a while someplace and have a landline, that cell phone is going into the creek.

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Jingle Bobs

Dashing through the sage,
On a full-mouthed snaffle bitter,
His mouth is gaping wide,
He rides just like a shitter!
Hooves on rock piles clack,
Making sparks so bright.
What fun it is to doctor
Cut-up horse legs late at night!

Oh, jingle bobs, jingle bobs,
Jingle all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to ride
A jug-headed horse all day!


A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon a handsome cowboy
Was ridin’ by my side.
His horse was tough and rank,
Mine was lean and quick,
I looked over at his headstall,
Feelin’ pretty slick.

I reined my pony closer,
Batted lashes ‘neath my brim,
Reached up and pulled that bridle off,
Then spurred away from him.
But first I warmed his horse’s rump
With the tail end of my McCarty,
Then I rode off and watched the show,
And clapped my hands with glee!

Oh, jingle bobs, jingle bobs,
Jingle all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to ride
A jug-headed horse all day!

I guess I can file lyrics like this under “Reasons Why I Will Be Single Forever” lol.  I’m pickin’ on the boys here, but only ’cause they’re always pickin’ on me!  Merry Christmas 🙂

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