The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Sale Barn

Gene O'
This venerable old gentleman is Gene O'Brien, and I've known him for 20 years, give or take. Haven't seen him for at least 10. Gene is the reason 7-time world champion team roper, Clay O'Brien-Cooper has a hyphenated last name. Gene is Clay's step-dad, and Clay did it out or respect. We used to rope together before a horse fell on him 10 years ago while working as an outrider on the race track. Gene's 80 now.

When he was still ropin', Gene was a director with the United States Team Roping Championships, and had the enviable job of assigning handicap numbers to people like me, who never roped as good as the number Gene gave me. He assigned himself a 2, and I don't care if he was 70 at the time, he always roped that good, and that number was a license to steal, which he did all the time. I reminded him of that when I saw him today, and he reminded me of what he told me last time I roped against him, lost, and complained about my number; "you'll just have to rope better, Amelia." It wasn't like he needed the money. He retired as a wrangler in the movie business and gets a pension from the race track as well. All that money he took out of team roping was just for fun I guess. And because he could.

Goats, ever popular at the sale
Where did I run into this vision of cowboy-dom from my not-too-distant past? At the Chino auction barn, (where else?) where I had gone to sell some sheep. I heard they were bringing astronmical prices, and boy did I hear right! I sold 5 ewes and 1 ram for $1,040, but wasn't really happy to be going before I ran into Gene, and before I got the check in that order.

The preview
After off-loading the sheep, and getting my paperwork, I parked the truck and trailer around back and passed Gene's truck on the way to the sale barn. I knew it was his by the old dented, primer-rusty horse trailer he's been pulling forever, and by the sign on the truck that said Gene O'Brien Livestock.

I was at the USTRC finals one year when Gene won a roping, a bunch of money, and a fancy new gooseneck stock trailer. He sold it before the ink dried on the title. When I asked him why, he said it wouldn't hold up bouncing across the pasture back on his ranch. Made sense...take the money while it's new and fancy.

My day was definitely looking up. I stood in the doorway of the tiny barn scanning the risers for that familiar, old face, and there he was just 2 steps up. I was looking near the top, but he's 80 after all.

Peacocks in the ring
We talked over old times, we laughed, told some lies and remembered funny stories. I met a few of his friends, and then I told him he had to buy me lunch. To my surprise, he said OK. Gene's cheap! Then we were warned that the food place at the auction is notoriously slow and expensive, so I hailed a guy selling plastic grocery bags full of peanuts. He took $3 off Gene for a $5 bag and said "don't tell nobody." Time doesn't change everything.

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