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11/9/2005

Cattlemen's Day

This past weekend The Cowboy traveled to Eureka, Kansas, to participate in the Cattlemens Day festivities. The celebration has carried on the ranching heritage of Greenwood County for almost 80 years. One of the local projects centers around restoring the old Greenwood Hotel which had been the cattlemens headquarters during the heyday of the business when cattle were shipped to the terminal stockyards in Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago and other big cattle towns. The old Greenwood stands empty but offers the potential to once again be a central part of Eureka with a concerted effort.  
 
The Cowboy was paired up with one of the legends of the local cattle and horse industry, Ladd Lewis. Ladd was raised in the horse and mule business and like many Cowboys says he doesnt remember the time before he rode horses. He just grew up that way. When a horse needed to be rode his dad would point the way home and tell Ladd to get him there. No matter that the horse had never had a saddle on his back in his life. The job needed to be done and Ladd did it.  
 
By the late 1940s tractors were turning the horse and mule business upside down. Ladd left the business to pursue a rodeo career. He rodeoed with the likes of the Roberts boys from Strong City and a young fellow by the name of Casey Tibbs. In the meantime, his father went into the cattle business.  
 
Between the two of us enough stories were told to fill a book. I imagine Ladd could fill two or three volumes all by himself! We had a great time and quite a few old timers in the audience added to the stories. The whole thing was recorded, so I hope to include some of it in the January/February issue of the Kansas Cowboy.  
 
The Cattlemens Banquet and Ball was well attended with over 300 people crowding the hall. Again, the local folks do a great job of creating almost a family-like atmosphere that ties everyone in the cattle business together. 4-Hers serve the meal and everyone grows up with Cattlemens Day being a central part of their identity. Everyone has several Cattlemens Day stories to tell from their own past.  
 
I was right at home with the good people of Greenwood County and those who love the Cowboy life. My hat is off to them. These are folks who know what Never Sell Yer Saddle truly means. 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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