Respect for the Pickup Man

I always wanted to be a pick up man. You know, those guys at the rodeo who help the rough stock riders escape from the bucking horses and bulls. The ones, that is, who didn’t fly off and face plant in the arena dirt! Those men are the ones who never have a name but who ride athletic talented horses, and deftly go in next to flailing hooves, and flapping stirrups, or hooking horns, to rescue cowboys, and strip off bucking straps. Then they usher the broncs and bulls out of the arena. Yeah, them. When I was trying to become a teenage calf roper, I admired the professional, cool skill of those guys. I guess I still want to be a pick up man when I grow up. If I grow up. (Growing old is unavoidable, growing up is optional!) I guess being a doctor and operating a ranch will have to do. I still help people and animals, and get to ride horses. Not long ago Western Horseman magazine ran an article about rodeo pick up men. I was fascinated by their connection with their horses, and the number of skills they have mastered. But mostly I was impressed by their motivation. All of them expressed a similar desire to help. They felt the connection with people, the ones they helped, the ones they met and got to know, and the ones they worked with and mentored. they considered that connection the most important part of their job. It was mostly about something called brotherly love. Seems we all could use a helping of that! 

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