Sunday, August 29, 2021

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Hunting Season

With fall coming upon us, it's time to start harvesting some cows. This year has brought a couple new additions to our operation, a big block and a contraption. 

The cattle look real good. Some are still up on grass and a few are down here ready go to the cooler. 34 was next on the list. I love these corrals in the middle of the Campbell County prairie. The 10-24 operating in the background is music to my ears.

The .22 mag has been getting the job done, most of the time. Therefore I've been in the market for an open site rancher rifle of sorts to better my average. I was thinking of a .223 but Dcn. Joe Sandrini came through with this sweet .454 Casull. I'd never even heard of one before. What I like about it most is the lever action, which helps ease my cowboy insecurities. 

She's a cannon compared with a .223 and definitely packs a punch.

The other new addition is the Contraption. Made from scrap iron, her purpose is to eliminate the need for a tractor. She fits into the pickup's receiver hitch and has a trailer axle attached to the stinger. On top of that sits the boom with a 2,500 lb hand winch. When the pulling gets tough, I attach my come-along to the gooseneck ball to ensure I don't loose any teeth. 

It makes for clean gutting, which I drop into a sled and drag off for the coyotes. 

After gutting, I switch ends and start skinning. 

It really makes for a quiet, peaceful process. 

Once skinned, I half her...

and swing her around into the pickup box and quarter her.

Simple as that.

Fold her up and we're on to the next one.

It's gonna be a fun fall. We now have 8 cows still in the herd. Over the next 4 months we'll be bringing them all home and into the cooler. Our mission is to Feed America. If you want on board, give me a ring at Better beef makes for happier hearts. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mallo Camp

One thing I love about Campbell County is the way they use their resources for the betterment of youth. One example of this is the 5th grade annual retreat to Mallo Camp in Weston County. Here kids get to enjoy the great outdoors and learn about the wisdom of nature. Our John Paul II Catholic School has jumped on board of this CC tradition and each fall takes up their 5th and 6th graders. Today, fb got to tag along.


The camp is located just on the west side of the Black Hills and is privately owned.

Ms. Bailey packs a lot into 2 1/2 days.

Staff from the school comes up, but we also rely on the help of volunteers. Here Kurt, Dcn. Kim, Jeff, and Scott serve lunch amongst many other jobs.

Canoeing is an all-time favorite. 

Botany is a good education as well.

My personal favorite was kickball.

Kurt did a good job with forestry. 

Ms. Sours had fun teaching kids to tie dye. 

Deputies Holden and Dan are definitely a crowd pleaser with their firearm safety course. Four rules to never forget: 1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded. 2. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. 3. Finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. 4. Know your target and beyond.

A fun time was had by all, even handcuffed Carter.

Nature is our best teacher. Her simple lessens lead us closer to the Wisdom who created her. If we could all stay tuned into that, the world would be a much happier place.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

My 53

The Lord has blessed me in many ways over the years, but the gift I've enjoyed the most is my 1953 Chevy. He gave her to me in 2003 when she was 50 years young. For the next 18 years we saw a lot of country together and weathered a lot of storms. Without a doubt, my 53 has helped make me the man I am today.

Bryce and his truck.

I moved to Helena Montana in 1998 after high school graduation and drove tow truck for my uncle. For years I drove by this beauty, standing like soldier begging for someone to rescue her from retirement. That day come in January of 2003. Just weeks before, I had ran back home because Grandma S. was dying. On my way, I was praying the Rosary for her and I figure it was about then that she died. The funeral was beautiful, as she lived a holy life and left a lasting legacy. What was interesting, was on my way back to Montana, for no good reason at all, the idea of this truck was burning in my heart. The next day I had to make a run out by her so I stopped, hopped the fence, and checked her out. After a few phone calls I figured out that she belonged to Fred Bell in Jefferson City, and with little convincing, he agreed to sell her to me for $800. My life was about to change forever. Thanks Grandma.

She really only needed minor repairs: fix a broken leaf spring, complete fuel system over haul, and rebuilt every brake cylinder on her.

I put the greatest detail into the flatbed and stock racks. This bed was handcrafted in Manhattan MT by Fisher Body Shop. I was in awe at the quality of their work. Working on it took me back to another time, when life was simple and people took pride in their work. We sandblasted the oak stock racks and they came out looking ready for another 50 years.

The mission from the get-go that year was to get her all up and running, drive her the 375 miles back home on the 4th of July and trail some cows with the family, then haul a horse back to the house. Mission accomplished. 

Her work was far from over. While still in Montana I drove her everywhere and hauled just about everything. The 216 straight six never gave me a lick of trouble. Once I entered seminary, she became especially useful when I was home and needed a truck to bust around in. The Coors cooler came from an old family friend. I often put my welder on her and turned every pipeliner's head when we went to town.

In the spring of 2015 I had the inspiration to drive her back to seminary in Denver. That ended up becoming one of the funnest road trips in my life. That's also when I learned that it was more peaceful to be the one getting passed than the one doing all the passing. 

Once school got out that year, we grazed the long pasture home.

That loop around the perimeter of Wyoming culminated on the Upper Nowood Road for a cousin's wedding during one of the wettest springs in memory. I couldn't think of a better way to top off a road trip than sliding sideways through some of the most beautiful country known to man.

We had so much fun that we just continued the journey up to Montana for the summer where I was ordained a transitional deacon.

That summer we put on 10,000 miles together. 

A major change for all of us came in the winter of 2015. I was pretty far up in my head that Christmas break because of my desire to be a priest in Wyoming but my felt obligation to Montana. When I can't figure life out, I turn to the shop. My ol girl suffered the blunt of this time of confusion. I guess it was better than sitting in the bar, but from this day forward our relationship would never be the same. 

We did the best job we could to return her to showroom state, but her rusty patina told her story. It's what gave her character. 

My loyal side kick was there to make sure no corners were cut.

We painted her with the original Juniper Green that she came with. I do love that color.

In the end, I was pleased with the paint job. But as for me and my 53, life was changed forever. Because of her sacrifice I was able to figure out my Wyoming/Montana struggles. While it's good to be home, I still miss my rusty green eyed girl.

It's now time to be on to the next one. Today I handed the title of this 1953 work of art to Big Iron auction sales. I truly believe that there is someone out there that she wants to bring as much joy to as she did me. If that person is you, log on to
and check her out.

God can bring good out of all things. Painting my old truck left me with a lot of regret, but over the years the Lord has totally redeemed that experience. Today my heart is filled with gratitude to God for the many miles we spent in this truck. I also smile when I think of Grandma S. She's always made sure I stayed a kid. Wonder what's in store for us next. Thanks for everything Grandma. I love you.

Under the Fig Tree

Transparency leads to infused contemplation.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Surf Wyoming 2021

WARNING: Neither Fr. Bryce or Kurt are responsible for putting cool ideas into the minds of those who are wild at heart.

Friday marked our annual Surf Wyoming adventure. This year's destination, Mirror Lake in the Big Horns.

You can't just call on any buddy for a mission like this. Ol' Kurt was the right man for the job.

In a nut shell, we saddle the horses and pack our paddle board into mountain lakes and conquer them. I figured there was no better way for Kurt to learn to ride a horse than with a 40 pound pack on his back. Chief and him did well. I can think of three major episodes where lesser cowboys would have turned back and walked home. Well done ol' son. You make me proud.

Once arrived we hobbled the horses and went to work.

Pumping up this 11' bad boy is no easy chore.

A short prayer to your guardian angel before mounting doesn't hurt.

Fortunately I'm an experienced mountain surfer. 

And we're off.

Looking good partner. You earned your hat today. Wear it with pride.

Nothing like a cold Coors Light to celebrate victory. 

My surfer inspiration Bear Woznick says that the most radical thing you can do in life is abandon yourself to the wild adventure of God's will. I would have to agree. Following God's will for us is anything but boring. It's an adventure. Sure it takes courage. But more than anything it takes faith. Faith that He has our best interest in mind and wants to help us become fully the men and women He has created us to be.

Monday, August 9, 2021


Today there is not so much a crisis of faith, but a crisis of reason. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Pray for us.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Heavy Ranchin

With the cows getting fat and the grass getting thin, it was time to pull the girls off the Raney Ranch. Working yearlings is no easy task, so I called my boys Greg and Zeke and brought in a couple of hands from EWTN.

Wyoming Catholic Cowboy Posse: Fr. Mitch Pacwa S.J., Zeke Zebroski, Ray King, FB, & Greg Hampson.

It's best to let your horse choose you. Chief walked straight up to Fr. Mitch. They couldn't have made a better pair.

Greg brought up ol' Skid for Ray. They always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Knowing Fr. Mitch is a historian I wanted to show him this wall with ancient hieroglyphics dating back to 1975 A.D. I couldn't tell if he was impressed or not.

After the site seeing was over we went looking for cows. The terrain was far from friendly, steep hills with trees and rim rocks skirting every ridge top.

It took a bit, but Fr. Mitch was the first to see black. Getting them off the mountain and into the corral was another story.

Alls well that ends well. Special thanks to John and Sue Raney. Without their generosity, none of this would be possible. Sue, you bring a calming presence to the ranching world. John, what can I say... you have no quit.

We pulled the whole herd off of Raney's, taking four home and these three girls up to Ortner's. Ray and Fr. Mitch got to do the honors.

I like a challenge, but pulling seven heifers out of 50 yearlings on hot day in the mountains definitely tested my perseverance. Without a doubt, it couldn't have been done without our band of brothers. Each one brought their own set of skills, and each one complimented what the other was lacking. But the one thing shared by all was our Catholic faith. God's grace accomplished this mission, but it would have been wasted if we didn't do our part and saddle up. All things are possible with God. Thanks boys.

Bridle Repair

About the only memory I have a getting yelled at as a kid was for tying a horse up hard. To this day I know I shouldn't, but I still do....