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A roarin’ good float

Grilling float

The Four-Legged Holy Terror naps on the parade route promoting beef and bison at Alliance Heritage Days.

Jaclyn Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. Send comments to her at

Thanks for all the input on the parade for the Alliance Heritage Days. We racked our brains trying to come up with an idea for the theme “Roarin’ into 2022.” The theme itself was a little bit of a challenge, as it included a lion mascot. Considering the only lion we have in the Sandhills are the mountain lions that roam through every once in a while, we really didn’t know what direction to head.

The intern and I headed over to the local bison feedyard to brainstorm Monday night. After throwing a lot of different ideas into the pot – some good, some bad, and some just absolutely horrible – we finally decided with a “roarin’ up the grill” theme. With a couple quick clicks on Amazon, we had a dog lion mane ordered and on the way for the Four-Legged Holy Terror to sub in as the float’s lion mascot.

Friday evening, everything was loaded into a stock trailer, and on Saturday morning the intern and I headed into Alliance with that and a flatbed trailer to start float prepping. We had a full backyard grilling scene going on, complete with a griddle, patio table and chairs, umbrella, kiddie pool with floaties, flowerpots with American flags, tiki torches, fake grass, and a speaker blaring a “chilling and grilling” playlist.

The crew from Strategy helped man the griddle with the intern. We grilled up bison and beef sliders that we handed out on the parade route along with “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” and “I Love Beef” stickers, bison stickers and of course bags upon bags of candy.

The Boss Man and Boss Man’s Wife even got in on the excitement as they drove the float the long parade route. I will not mention how much convincing it took for the Boss Man to drive, but we all know the game and worked on wearing him down starting around two weeks prior.

The Four-Legged Holy Terror was the star of the float in her lion mane. With her tan coloring and extremely long tail, the entire parade route was full of children and adults pointing her out. She was on her best behavior and would meander around the float looking out over her domain, then go stand in the pool for a bit to cool off, and back to taking a nap.

Parades are hard work: the planning, the attention to detail, and not to mention walking or jogging a hot parade route trying not to miss any little kid with freebies. I don’t think we would have changed a thing.

The best part was that we even won an award. The Strategy kids were thrilled, and I will admit I was thrilled, too. We are already making plans for next year’s float that will be even bigger and better and continue the pro-beef and bison messaging.

Back on the ranch, I finally got the pivots swathed and hay hauled off them. I tolerated gophers before but after swathing through gopher mound after gopher mound, I despise the little jerks now.

The heat has been brutal. Hillsides are starting to burn up with the high temps, the wind and the lack of moisture. There doesn’t look like much relief in sight.

I’ve got the AI cows set up to AI Saturday morning. Directly after, I’m heading out to Nevada with a heifer delivery and to attend the NCBA summer conference in Reno. The rest of the bulls will be going to pasture this week. I’m sure with the 90-100 degree temps, everything will go smoothly and trouble free.

With the stress that this summer is bringing with input costs, inflation and drought for many, I do want to mention that National Suicide Prevention has launched a new three-digit number to call: 988. Text messages can also be sent to the 988 number, and for Veterans that call, they can press 1 and reach the Veteran Crisis Line. Counselors are available around the clock to help.

In 2021 the previous call line received 3.6 million calls, chats and texts, and the number is expected to double. You are not alone. There are so many people that are struggling right now, and decisions are becoming harder and harder to make. Like always, if I can help in any way please reach out.

Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at This column represents the views of one person and are not necessarily the opinion of the Midwest Messenger.   

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Jaclyn Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. Send comments to her at

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