Getter Done Gals


Friday, August 6, 2010


by Julie Carter

He was only about 3 feet tall - boots, hat and all. He stood looking through the rails of the arena fence as his daddy and three other cowboys rode into the arena, pulling their hats down tight and shaking out their ropes.
His little brother played in the dirt on the ground behind him, driving a toy truck and trailer through freshly built "roads" headed toward a tiny stick corral. His interest in the arena was intense, but only for short periods of time. He had "work" to do.
It was ranch rodeo time, in the infancy of the sport as a competition. That was 20 years ago.
Today, both those little cowboys are grown up.
The older one rides into that same arena with his britches tucked in the tops of his boots, a trendy shape to his straw hat and a cocky grin on face.
The other, sitting solid in the saddle on a horse that isn't as calm as he is, wears a look of serious competitive intent.
A cousin rides in next to him, followed by a friend that rounds out the team of four.
The game is on. The young guns have arrived and before the day is over, they will have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with.
Ranch rodeo is a family sport as much as any has ever been. As it evolved through the years, the youngsters of the early days fell eagerly into the footsteps of their fathers, holding out for the day they too could participate.
Father and son, father and daughter, husband and wife, cousins, brother-in-laws, father-in-laws and any other assorted family connection possible, team up, enter up and in the spirit of competition, spend a day roping, riding and hoping to claim a little of the prizes at the end of the day.
Youth ranch rodeo hit the scene some years back, serving to fine tune the young buckaroos into competition-ready young adults.
A cowboy with a baby on the saddle in front of him during the warm-up or after the rodeo is a common sight. Before long, that same baby is the toddler at the arena fence shouting "Go Dad," with all his might.
The family dynamics at any event make it a kinfolk reunion as much as a rodeo competition. There will be several family patriarchs and matriarchs watching the events and being greatly entertained as they observe different branches of the family compete against each other, young and old.
There isn't much left out here in the West that keeps families connected like they were 50 years ago.
The few remaining big family ranches maintain a connection through the work they do, but this venue for ranch family playtime has added a new dimension.
Whether the "kids", taking in all ages from 9-60, arrive from the ranch, from a titled job, a college campus or anywhere in between, it all comes together in the competition.
Watching brothers rope and load a steer into a trailer with the same banter and sibling "encouragement" going on as would happen in the middle of a four-section pasture, takes "reality" entertainment to a new level.
And that little cowboy I saw last week standing on the fence rail hollering encouragement to his dad?
He'll be a third generation ranch rodeo cowboy and with any luck, his old dad might be given a spot on the team.
Julie has been watching ranch rodeo for two decades and still loves the next one just as much as the first one. Reach her for comment at


By Julie Carter
Word recently came that the Husband Sitter had left town and Ineta was back in the spotlight as the fulltime recipient of her spouses attention. The demands were wearing her patience thin.

"What's a husband sitter?" you ask.
What would normally seem to be an awkward situation when Ineta's ex-husband and her current husband, Daryl, re-instituted their long-standing friendship. In reality, it was a convenient brotherhood on many levels.
Ineta's definition of a husband sitter is: Constant companion to validate every comment, complaint, and action of the husband. Who better to do that than an ex-spouse of the current wife?
Daryl and the Husband Sitter were team ropers. Daryl had a flourishing but time-consuming business to run, so he needed help to keep his considerable collection of rope horses ridden and tuned as well as seeking a steady practice partner. Putting the Husband Sitter on the payroll to do that job made perfect sense, as least to Daryl, and certainly to the Sitter, who preferred that to any structured, "real" job. You recall that I mentioned that he's a teamroper.
Only someone with Ineta's sense of humor could look at the situation, laugh at it and actually enjoy the fact that Daryl had a friend to go play with, leaving her some freedom to do other things.
After all, as she pointed out, the Husband Sitters job description including being available at all times to keep the husband company.
The Husband Sitter was in charge of all the "honey-do chores" the husband couldn't or wouldn't do and no errand was too menial for him to accomplish.
He tuned and trained the rope horses; saw to it that they were fed, vetted, shod and ready to haul.
He frequently chauffeured Daryl's rig and horses to ropings that were days and statelines away, meeting Daryl at a nearby airport when his private plane landed.
Other times, he was steady company for Daryl on all the long road trips.
Evening television was a bonding sport for Daryl and his Sitter. They liked to watch the same cop shows, Westerns and hours of RFD TV. Like two kids at a matinee movie, they'd sit and laugh or discuss the programs as they aired.
The Sitter also provided for a ready and willing breakfast, lunch and dinner partner. He was available to be a constant drinking companion and conversations about the "old days" could be repeated frequently without a note of "I've already heard that."
In deference to a testosterone related malady that causes exaggeration and expansion of the feats related in the "old stories," the Sitters job required that he never doubted the facts as presented. He also knew there would be only one storyteller and it wasn't him.
The benefits for Daryl were many. He had a built-in "Wife Complaint Department."
Since the Husband Sitter was on the payroll, he automatically always agreed and usually limited his comments to, "I know what you mean."
When the drinking partnership was in play, the Sitter could be known, to Daryl's delight, to add a few observations of his own.
Details of the broken partnership are sketchy, but Daryl seems to be content not to have to complain about his former Sitter, which sounded much like his complaints about his wife. A pattern may be emerging.
Much to Ineta's relief, already a new Husband Sitter is in place and this time, one that has not shared any "family" history.
The concept of a Husband Sitter isn't really as unusual as it may sound. Tell the story a few times and you'll almost always get a return story of equal or better value.
Human nature is entertaining when we step back and let ourselves look at ourselves.
Julie can be reached for comment at . For those interested, Walmart will soon offer a "husband sitter" section located next to household goods


Into the wild blue yonder.
By Julie Carter
Someone found it necessary to make and share a list of the advantages of living past the age of 50, or 60 and climbing to 70.

I tend to believe that every day above ground is a good day, but there are other perks to hanging on to life in the second half of your century of living. I'm also an optimist.
1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you. I find that to be absolutely true. I have never been kidnapped nor even threatened with abduction. In fact, the only reference to it that was ever made in my lifetime was by my dad. His comment was something about having pity for the kidnappers. Age doesn't seem to be the real factor in this one.
2. In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first. See No.1 for references.
3. No one expects you to run, anywhere. Speed takes on a more relative definition with each passing decade.
4. People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?" I have yet to be able to answer, "yes" to this query because I have a teenager in the house.
5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac. Instead, one has to learn the polite art of not monopolizing the conversation with long, detailed renditions of aches, pains and remedies.
6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way. However, I keep testing that theory daily.
7. Things you buy now won't wear out. The Maytag man never considered that he might never see you again when he promised that the new washing machine he just delivered would last you 25 years.
8. You can eat supper at 4 p.m. or breakfast at noon. This holds true if you are unemployed, single and living alone.
9. You can live without sex but not without your glasses. Enough said, except to note, well ... never mind.
10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans. That may have changed with the recent political black cloud that came over people's plans for retirement. There is no edgy humor here.
11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge. In fact, you no longer think of them at all. That may indicate more habit than age.
12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
Bulkier sweaters, "big" shirts, and jackets allow breathing. Oxygen is so much better for your health than holding your breath.
13. You sing along with elevator music and the designated "oldies" radio station is your "home station" while driving anywhere. There is comfort in knowing the words to the songs if you don't dwell on the fact that they were on 45s when they were first popular.
14. Your eyes won't get much worse. Refer to No. 9 and buy reader glasses in bulk at Sam's or Costco.
15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off. The medical industry keeps inventing more tests to run on us to make sure that happens.
16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service. While that's not actually saying much, it's true. The "weather knee" is a valuable indicator and every old timer has a good story to go with it.
17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. It takes several friends to keep a good rumor going.
18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size, if I could just remember what to do with what I have.
19. You notice that you are drawn more and more to things written in big print and you have learned the keystrokes on the computer keyboard to make the font on websites bigger.
20. You can't remember where you saw this list before and why you thought it was funny at the time.
Enjoy today, whatever the age. Tomorrow is not promised. Now, where are my glasses?
Julie can be reached for comment at