Wagons West Chronicles October Issue 2016 October Issue - Page 3

Wagons West Chronicles October 2016 THE ROUND-UP III Saddling Fresh Horses. Author’s Note: this is part three of a five part series by Theodore Roosevelt about his experiences on round-ups during the time he was a cattle rancher in the Dakota Territory. I know, originally we said this would be a four-part series. But Theodore Roosevelt had a lot more to say about the subject than we originally realized. The method of work is simple. The mess-wagons and loose horses, after breaking camp in the morning, move on in a straight line for some few miles, going into camp again before midday. And the day herd, consisting of all the cattle that have been found far off their range, and which are to be brought back there, and of any others that it is necessary to gather, follows on afterwards. Meanwhile the cowboys scatter out and drive in all the cattle from the country round about, going perhaps ten or fifteen miles back from the line of march, and meeting at the place where camp has already been pitched. The wagons always keep some little distance from one another, and the saddle-bands do the same, so that the horses may not get mixed. It is rather picturesque to see the four-horse teams filing down at a trot through a pass among the butted — the saddle-bands being driven along at a smart pace to one side or behind, the teamsters cracking their whips, and the horse-wranglers calling and shouting as they ride rapidly from side to side behind the horses, urging on the stragglers by dexterous touches with the knotted ends of their long lariats that are left trailing from the saddle. The country driven over is very rough, and it is often necessary to double up teams and put on eight horsed to each wagon in going up an unusually steep pitch, or hauling through a deep mud-hole, or over a river crossing where there is quicksand. The speed and thoroughness with which a country can be worked depends, of course, very largely upon the number of riders. Ours is probably about an average roundup as regards size. The last spring I was out, there were half a dozen wagons along; the saddle bands numbered about a hundred each; and the morning we started, sixty 3 men in the saddle splashed across the shallow ford of the river that divided the plain where we had camped from the valley of the long winding creek up which we were first to work. In the morning, the cook is preparing breakfast long before the first glimmer of dawn. As soon as it is ready, probably about 3 o’clock, he utters a long-drawn shout, and all the sleepers feel it is time to be up on the instant, for they know there can be no such thing as delay on the round-up, under penalty of being set afoot. Accordingly, they bundle out, rubbing their eyes and yawning, draw on their boots and trousers, - if they have taken the latter off, - roll up and cord their bedding, and usually without any attempt at washing crowd over to the little smoldering fire, which is placed in a hole dug in the ground, so that there may be no Only $108.49 risk of its spreading. The men are rarely very hungry at breakfast, and it is a meal that has to be eaten in shortest order, so it is perhaps the least important. Available on a 1TB External Hard Drive, 99 TV Westerns, 647 Movies, 15 Serials, 20 Radio Shows, and Miscellaneous Animations This is truly the Each man, as he comes up, largest collection of its kind. Full 20 years of Gunsmoke and much more grasps a tin cup and plate from the mess-box, pours out his tea or coffee, with sugar, but of course no milk, helps himself to one or two of the biscuits that have been baked in a Dutch oven, and perhaps also to a slice of the fat pork swimming in the grease of the frying-pan, ladles himself out some beans, if there are any, and squats down on the ground to eat his breakfast. The meal is not an elaborate one; nevertheless a man will have to hurry if he wishes to eat it before hearing the foreman sing out, “Come, boys, catch your horses”; when he must Roped! score of riders in each, separate and drop everything and run out to the wagons all assemble at the one make their way in opposite direcwagon with his lariat. The night wrangler is now bring- where the captain is sitting, already tions. The leader of each tries to ing in the saddle-band, which he mounted. He waits a very short get such a “scatter” on his men that had been up all night guarding. A time — for laggards receive but scant they will cover completely all the rope corral is rigged up by stretch- mercy — before announcing the pro- land gone over. This morning work ing a rope from each wheel of one posed camping-place and parceling is called circle riding, and is pecuside of the wagon, making a V- out the work among those present. liarly hard in the Bad Lands on shaped space, into which the saddle If, as is usually the case, the line of account of the remarkably broken, horses are driven. Certain men march is along a river or creek, he rugged nature of the country. The men come in on lines that stand around to keep them inside, appoints some men to take a dozen while the others catch the horses. others and drive down (or up) it tend to a common center — as if the Many outfits have one man to do all ahead of the day herd, so that the sticks of a fan were curved. As the latter will not have to travel through band goes out, the leader from time the roping. As soon as each has caught his other cattle; the day herd itself to time detaches one or two men to horse — usually a strong, tough ani- being driven and guarded by a ride down through certain sections mal, the small, quick ponies being dozen men detached for that pur- of the country, making the shorter, or what are called inside, circles, reserved for the work round the pose. The rest of the riders are divided while he keeps on; and finally, herd in the afternoon — the band, now in charge of the day wrangles, into two bands, placed under men retaining as companions the two or is turned loose, and everyone sad- who know the country, and start three whose horses are toughest, dles up as fast as possible. It sill out, one on each side, to bring in makes the longest or outside circle lacks some time of being sunrise, every head for fifteen miles back. himself, going clear back to the and the air has in it t he peculiar The captain then himself rides divide, or whatever the point may down to the new camping-place, so be that marks the limit of the chill of the early morning. When all are saddled, many of as to be there as soon as any cattle round-up work, and then turning the horses bucking and dancing are brought in. and working straight to the meetingMeanwhile the two bands, a about, the riders from the different Continued on page 5