Sunday, June 30, 2024

Gillette - The Best a Man can Get

When you ride your last one, make sure he's the best one. Jump while he's moving. Tip your hat boys, and walk away. Thanks Gillette. It's been a beautiful ride. 

(Click the gear to bump up the pixs)


Jesus came to heal us as much as He did to save us. 

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Catholic Cowboy

When Bishop Steven assigned me to Buffalo, he asked that I not run any cattle in order to focus on being a pastor. Though that's tough news, I respect where he's coming from and I heed his advice. Like I've always  said, I'm Catholic before I'm cowboy. 

There's been a lot of good memories in this trailer, too many to count. 

I've spent the past months doling out last year’s meat to share holders. We have fed a lot of people out of this freezer. 

69 notches on my scabbard. 

We've split a lot of cows with this sawsall. Made some tasty T-bones too.

Kind of a humbling sight. I guess everybody needs a beak once in awhile. Rest well, guys. 

On to the next one. 

Cutting meat put Fr. Bryce on the map. Not that this was ever my intention. But any attention that I've gotten throughout the Church and in the media has all stemmed from here. My attitude is one of gratitude. When the Lord asks us to let something go, the tendency is to cry about the loss. Instead, I choose to focus on the gift it was. By doing so, I'm able to thank God for the blessing this operation has been in my life and the life of the Church. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Why? Ask Job. What I do know is that God has big plans for all of us. All we have to do is trust Jesus and follow Him into the unknown. I hope to cut meat again. How and when, God only knows. What I do know is that I'm Buffalo bound. What awaits me there... guess we'll find out. Let's ranch.

Green Grass

The time has finally come to move the horses to green grass. They’ve been seven months on feed. That’s longer than usual. But we needed to keep them at Colleen’s place, with the round pen, until we found a good stopping point for Red.

So we loaded them up and took them to Mike Fulton’s place for a few weeks. Whenever you put a horse in a new pasture, like Red, it’s a good idea to walk the perimeter with them so they know the boundaries. Then if trouble arises, they are less likely to blow through the fence and get hurt. 

I’m not a fan of horses on the other side of the fence from each other. But if that’s the way it is, it’s a good idea to introduce them and and see if there’s bad blood right away. This guy is a gelding so he isn’t as much of a threat. If it was a mare, I wouldn’t go in there. Chief will jump the fence in a heartbeat.

Showing them the water is also a good idea. 

Happy campers. 

I don’t plan to take the horses to Buffalo right away. So they’ll camp out here for a few weeks till we get a lay of the land over there. I'm confident it will work to bring them over in due time. Until then, enjoy the green grass, kids. 

Friday, June 28, 2024

Paul and I

The greatest gift I have received in my time in Gillette is my friendship with Paul Casey. Good man and good hand. Words can't explain what I've learned from him. So I'll explain it in pictures and song. Here's to you pal. You're one in a million. 

(Hit the gear and bump up the pixs) 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Used Pipe

If there's one thing a guy can never have too much of, it's old oilfield pipe. I'm setting pretty good on 4 1/2", but my brother Luke was looking for some. Good thing for him that I have a trained eye that can spot unused used pipe a mile away.

In my journeys south on Hwy 59 I noticed an oilfield company pulled out of a lot leaving behind some drill stem. This is gnarly stuff, but works well for gate uprights. 

So I tracked down my buddy John Flocchini who owns the lot to see what they were going to do with it. He said they had no plans with it and we were welcome to it if we wanted to horse it around. So I called Luke and he came over with his Kenworth and we got to work. 

On average, the joints are 30' long and I figure they weigh about 500lbs each. So we backed White Horse up to each joint at a time and chained them to the lift arms. 

Pretty important to double check each hook before you get to lifting to high. On this set up, you want to make sure you also have the same length of links on each side. 

Then just lift them up. 

And back up to the truck. 

And set them down and unhook. Worked good for all 27 joints. 10 sticks we had to stack on top of the bottom row. 

Looks good. 

Good load. We're pretty thankful for John and his generosity. And he's just glad to see them get put to use. A win win. Like I say, you can never have too much pipe siting around. Luke'll get some good use out of these joints and I may just think up a project or two as well. On to the next one. 


Remain faithful. 

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Touchdown Sunday

For the past couple of months I have been focused on landing the plane of my time in Campbell and Crook Counties. It's been going good and this weekend was our official touchdown in the missions. 

We started by celebrating a Saturday evening Mass at St. Matthew's in Hulet in addition to our regular 7:30am Mass. 

We had a good turnout of the faithful. 

Followed by a little picnic. Fun time. 

For a sending off, they gave me a new hoodie. Indeed, the world needs more cowboys, and so does the Church!

Next stop was St. Patricks in Moorcroft. 

Again, a good contingent of the faithful. 

After which, we had a pot luck. Lungren Brothers provided the brisket and Don Kinstetter smoked it. 

No one went away hungry. 

Cool cake in honor of our Blessed Mother... can't beat it. 

After a small break to recoup in the afternoon, we headed down to Blessed Sacrament in Wright. 

Beautiful People of God. 

After Mass, Johnny cooked us up some Buffalo Burgers. 

Which we all enjoyed. 

For a farewell they all signed the back of a sheepskin. Cool. 

I've been thankful for these past few months to really process some of the fruit of my five years of ministry in the northeast corner of Wyoming. So much to be grateful for. But beyond all the good external signs of God's grace at work, I'm most thankful for the relationships I have formed. The beauty of these friendships is that they don't end when either party is missing. Good relationships transcend time and space. This is what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. The entire Church remains in Communion with each other, even if we are absent or present, dead or alive. I'll miss the good folks along my mission circuit. But your memory in my heart will be forever present. 


Keeps a guy humble. 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Saddled Up

The time we've all been waiting for has arrived! Red is saddled and ready to ride. We definitely took our time, but it has all payed off. A guy's main objective is always to get in the saddle. But there is so much work to be done before you get to that point. If you do your ground work well, swinging in the saddle is a walk in the park. 

Giddy up. 

For the first saddling it is good to choose light and simple rigging. I like this saddle because it has a Cheyenne Roll on the back of the cantle that you can grab on to if things get western. 

Like everything, we first introduced the blanket to him. 

Once he saw that it wasn't a bobcat, we rubbed all over him. 

Even walked him over it to show that it doesn't have to be scary. 

This was the first object we put on his back. Walking him around with it was important, but it's best not to just line out. Breaking him in the hind quarters gets his mind on something other than what's on his back. 

Then you can line out and let him get a feel of it moving around. Doing it this way is taking the chance that it could fall off. Not that we want it to, but if it does it becomes a teaching experience that it's not something to be afraid of. 

Next is the saddle. Again, let him sniff and taste it. 

We like to put ourselves between the scary object and the horse. Builds trust. 

Eventually you just have to bite the bullet and set it on him. Make sure he is standing still and is pretty indifferent to the saddle or anything on his back. Red was great. Other horses may take more time and effort. 

Petting him is key as well as shaking the saddle around. Throughout this whole process we have resisted the urge to be soft with him. Of course, be respectful. But there is no need to walk around quiet and shy like. We need a ranch horse not a puppy. 

Bending him is always a return to something that is familiar. It also gives him a chance to see what's going on. 

It is important to make cinching up a pleasant experience. We've all been around horses that dance when you tighten the cinch. I own one of them. A little pressure and a pet goes a long ways. There is also no need to go real tight right a way. Just enough to keep the saddle in place will do. 

Again, walk him around to get a feel for it. 

Nice work, Pops. Looks like it was meant to be there. This was definitely enough for one day. Letting a horse rest on what all he has just leaned is super important. 

Next time we saddled him we took it a step further. After a good warm up, we walked him to the fence and started to put pressure in the stirrups. Though the normal mounting side is on his left, everything we do we do from both sides. 

Then it was time to sit in the saddle. It does take a leap of faith to swing that first leg around. But a guy has a pretty good idea when the horse is ready or not. After up and down on each side and bending over and petting him good on the opposing side, swinging in was simple. 
I also didn't take the reins at this time. For about two more sessions, Paul would drive Red around the pen with his whip. I was basically cargo. At this point we didn't want to give him mixed signals. Paul was the one in control. If things got western, I was prepared to reach down low on the lead rope and pull the e-brake. This is why bending him every time is very important. It becomes so natural for him to give his head back to your thigh, that even in a bucking spell he would bend back to you. When it comes to working horses, I am all about safety first. 

You just can't do enough sacking out. Tapping a blue tarp all around him on a windy day is about as scary of an object as one can come up with. If you do it in a controlled environment, he becomes desensitized to it. Then when something comes flying up out of nowhere at your girlfriend's round up, you won't get dumped for not being cowboy enough. 

After wearing the darn thing and walking around the pen, you've pretty much done all you can do. 

Breaking a horse to stand and not pull back while being tied up is a super important step. Paul's got a good system. He takes a half of a snaffle bit and runs a long lead rope through it. This gives the rope tension, but allows it to slide through when a horse really gets to pulling. 

We want to sack him out and get him used to standing there no matter what the circumstances. But before we could do that we wanted to intentional spook him. 

We've all seen a horse loose his mind when tied up. It can actually be a very terrifying experience for all involved, especially the horse. With Paul's set up and a long lead rope, we let Red blow up and pull back all he wanted. 

Once he new he could get away, he simply calmed down. However, if we would have had him tired hard, he would never have quit pulling until he broke the halter. That's teaching him a bad habit at best. It's actually best to never tie a colt up hard. He needs to learn, through experience, what to do when tied up and trouble arises. 

In the meantime, we do our best to teach him to move forward to release the pressure, verses keep pulling back until something breaks. Sacking out in this safe space is a beautiful way to desensitize him to crazy things while being tied up. 

Here's our first full ride on his own. As is evident, all the work of bending, sending, sensitizing and desensitizing, that we have done leading up to this point has paid off. Not only is he a gentle horse, but all the commands we did on the ground are now translated into the saddle. 


Mission accomplished. Special thanks to my good buddy Paul Casey. I have basically been given the equivalency of one-on-one clinics from Buck Brannaman. Who's a better horse trainer, doesn't matter. What I do know, is Paul's way works. We not only get the results we are looking for, but we also come to understand the horse in the process. There's now a relationship between Red and rider. 

There is still plenty of work to be done. We now have a started horse. From here we can do more on the job training, while continuing to revert back to the tactics that we have already implored. Red is cool, and he'll make my brother a good horse. Before I send him back though, I better put on a few miles in the saddle. Let's ride!

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