A buckaroo’s natural habitat is the high desert sagebrush, where daily work involves livestock and unpredictable weather. As a result of these conditions, they learn to be resourceful and practical as a matter of course, and they never pass up a chance to pass on their wisdom to others.
In the six years I’ve lived in Nevada, I’ve been collecting quotes from various buckaroos on various subjects. Here is a buckaroo’s basic guide to life, in no particular order.
“Hell, I’ve gotten drunk and lost more money than that.”
“I’m going broke. Whatever.”
“You can’t put a price tag on fun. But my wife can.”
What’s the price of a wedding ring? Better ask his wife, because chances are this cowboy doesn’t know.
On moral conduct:
“I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life, but I’ve never worn a straw hat.”
Like many buckaroos, Biggs is breaking tradition and wearing a straw hat, keeping him nice and cool for summertime branding. He’s not too worried about it, though. He’s done worse.
On doctoring livestock:
“That calf needs two shots – a head shot and a heel shot.”
“I think he’s suffering from a little nylon deficiency.”
The disease doesn’t just affect cattle, so make sure area horses at risk get their recommended dose of nylon as well.
“Go three beers, then take a left.”
“I don’t have a girlfriend. I just know a girl who’d be really mad if she heard me say that.”
“Elko County rules: You didn’t lose your girl, you just lost your turn.”
On (un)desirable locations:
“Never buckaroo in country that puts up more than one cutting of hay a year.”
“I’d go back to Texas if all the Texans left.”
On giving two weeks’ notice:
“If you like the @^$##@ place so much, why don’t you just stay there!”
“You’re gonna hear a lot of stories about me, honey, and not all of them are true.”
Ah, the stories circulating out there about these two. Jim Young, aka “my husband/the father of my kids” on the left, and Woody Harney, aka “you’ve read about him in Western Horseman” on the right.
“A plan is just a list of things that can go wrong.”
“There was logic involved. Not a lot, but some.”
“I’m not worth a darn unsupervised.”
“I have plenty of self-control. That’s because I’ve never used any of it.”
To hear more buckaroo words of wisdom, just visit Winner’s Casino in Winnemucca, the Cowboy Bar at the Elko County Fair, Jordan Valley the third weekend in May, or any bunkhouse in the West with pieces of beer boxes hung up as wall decor. You may or may not be glad you stopped in, but you are guaranteed to learn something.