Cornbread Thinks: Stuff You Hear in the Cow Boxes

My part of the Lucas Oil National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes, as far as showing goes, is over. It did not go well. My fault. I cut a bad cow once and cut bad next. Both preventable. The bad cow might not have been bad if I had cut her second or drove her out farther or, or, or… you know. We picked her together and had consensus. I ate steak that night to get even. The second cow got a step on me. Yellow baldy. My choice was chase her into the corner or switch off, counting on all five judges’ eyesight to fail. It did not. I got hit with a switch. Never got a chance to show my horse because of decisions I made or agreed to before I ever left the cow boxes.

Cutting is a very fluid sport. Little changes are constant. The basic cow does not change. Markets do, palates do, crops do, weather does, breeds do – all contributing to a cow’s temperament. A 550-pound lean cow tends to be a lot faster than a 550-pound fat cow. Prime lean beef currently brings more money than marbled per pound. Cows are quicker and faster, some are more like gazelles. They are easy to scare.

Picking cows and cutting them right is more important than ever. It is an art form. There are many great show persons who do these cuts every time. I cannot mention them all, but you will never be disappointed watching Lloyd Cox cut a cow. Two of the prettiest cuts I have ever seen were by Eddie Flynn and Guy Woods. The great Greg Welch said it all while narrating, “Buster And Friends.” A rider went deep, brought 17 or 18 out, filtered them off and dropped his hand. Greg said, “Well, he satisfied the requirement, but it was just a cut.”

It was not art. It was not inspired. Too many people think going deep in the herd is a credit-earning cut. “It is just a cut.” Going deep in the herd and coming out with just one cow – the right cow, a money cow – is the art of it. At Will Rogers, it begins in the cow boxes. A bucket list experience – picking cows with an expert cow-picker in the cow boxes in Will Rogers.

It is intense. Roughly 20 minutes to memorize and psychoanalyze 56 head of cattle that hate us, which you or someone have bet a $2,000 entry fee on. No two are alike. Just ask Jasper McLamb. All this said to get to: stuff you hear in the cow boxes.

Clay is settling this set. Yellow mot. Don’t know her yet. Black poof poll. She settled good. Red razor tail. She ain’t moved. Yet. Gold mule nose. She is numb-looking. Black with two ring eyes. Who’s this? Red strip face. Worked for Paul. Smoke with smear on left hip. She is always up there. Black with a rub under left eye. Stays up against the gate. Red with a picture frame. There goes your money cow. Red eyebrows. Right there, with her head down. Yellow horn. Walking back toward us by the red cow. Gray carpet back. Do not cut that cow. Black strip face with dot nose. He just ruined her. Orange baldy, tear stains. That pretty black cow on top? You know her? Red skunk tail. This bunch is looking sticky. White with muddy face. Gary cut her. High bridge red mot. Looks a bit quick, mate. Black water belly. Two more and I’m going down. Black with frosty dewlap. Don’t dry work her, just stop her a couple of times. Red baldy with blinders. I’ll see you there. Gray baldy, tail hooks. Have we seen this cow? Red headlight with a notch. I have never seen her. Red with a puzzle piece. Don’t know her. Black strip face. She is on top now. Big black, white navel. There are two of them. Black hatband. One is no good. Black paint cow. If she’ll go. White with glue on left hip. Keeps walking out there. Red dirty face. She is on the left side on top. Black baldy with white ear tips. The black between the two blacks, right in the middle. Red bump tail. Glad he cut that one. Slick brown. She’s on my smoke cow. Horned cherry cow. Go with the muddy paint. Big head yellow. Time to go.

Cornbread Thinks: Everyone should sit in the cow boxes sometime.