Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Summers as a Ranch Brat


The Overnight bag

Every summer, Dad and an assortment of his children would head out on the 'Cattle Show' circuit.
We hit every major fairground in Alberta.
It was . . . fun.
On the Road
We would truck the chosen animals to the fairgrounds.
Secure our spot in the barns.
Prepare the site. (Fluffing up straw figured largely here.)
Lead in the animals and tie them.
Then set up our tack box and assorted matching equipment and chairs, tables, etc.
Trying to make the entire area as tidy and un-barn-like as possible.
We were ready.
For the next two days, we hauled feed in little rubber tubs.
Buckets of water.
Hay.
And hauled out anything remotely smelly or dirty.
We would wash and brush and blow dry and trim.
Periodically, we would untie one of the animals, lead him or her into a ring and parade around.
Then stand them up and keep them in one place while the judge walked around them.
Poking and prodding.
Frowning seriously.
Before he moved on to the next animal.
Then we paraded around again while he watched.
And we watched him.
Everyone praying that our animal would be the one he slapped.
In a cattle show, slapping is good.
It allowed us to participate in the Parade of Champions.
This was our summer.
Cattle show to cattle show.
The reward.
Feeding, cleaning and trading news with the exhibitors all around us.
Showing cattle.
Taking occasional side trips to the fairway for foot-long hot dogs and corn-on-the-cob.
With the kids who were also exhibiting with their dads.
Life was perfect.

5 comments:

  1. Wow..look at all those ribbons. Did you say hot dogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Foot-long hot dogs!!! There are a lot of memories in those ribbons. And that's just a fraction of them!

      Delete
  2. Our memories of childhood can be so deep and wonderful, they are usually of times we spent with people and how they made us feel. Nice blog Diane :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Launna! I love remembering my growing up years. They seem so peaceful now . . .

      Delete
  3. Like I mentioned in another posting of yours, all that showing didn't appeal to me. I liked staying home doing the chores. I could always see through the politics and showing was where the politics ran rampant. But there are still funny stories that originate from those barns like the one about the rock band member...

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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