Happy belated Halloween.

The crew and I went to listen to some live music the Saturday evening before, but evidently our Halloween spirit was lagging. None of us bothered to find a costume. Maybe I should say that I took off the ballcap and threw on some shoes that weren’t covered in muck – a costume in its own right. I usually surprise an individual or two when that happens.

I was told by multiple people that I should dress up as Captain Marvel this year. I’ve never seen the movie, but have been told I’m a doppelganger for the character. It might have been a great idea, until I ventured online to see what was available for costume options. Then it was a “heck no” I don’t think I could have sucked enough stuff in for that length of time, and I would have been way too paranoid about leaning over and things splitting out.

The band was great, but I’m getting way too old to stay out past a certain time, especially when I told the neighbor I would help process feedlot cattle Sunday afternoon (a bitter cold, miserable afternoon at that).

Halloween morning rolled around and I found myself on my way home from Colorado. I had a full day of appointments in northern Colorado, and then picked up the Boss Man’s longhorns.

If you don’t recall the story, the Boss Man received a longhorn steer for his 50th birthday, and 007 passed away this year at the age of 19. We had taken the massive horns to Jeff Hartwig at Dalton to do the taxidermy work, and then passed them on to Tad Knowles in Colorado to do some custom leather work on them, including the Boss Man’s brand.

They look absolutely amazing. Even local law enforcement approved. (I had my cruise set a “little” above the recommended signage on my way home.

Back to Halloween. I remembered when I was about an hour from the Home Place that it was Halloween, and the crew and I were going to move calves to fresh pasture when I got home. So, I may have just stopped at my house on the way in and grabbed the famed unicorn onesie that was in my closet, threw it on with a pair of snow boots.

I headed out to grab my ATV and start on the calves before the crew showed up. Needless to say, there were plenty of comments, especially considering I had to rope and doctor two calves in the said onesie. But what’s the fun of ranching if you can’t have a good laugh every once in a while?

I’m heading to Lincoln the end of this week to talk about advocacy to the Nebraska Youth Beef Leaders (NYBLS), I’m excited to share some of the thoughts I’ve acquired over the years on being in a rollercoaster industry that can be so frustrating yet so rewarding at the same time. I speak to the high schoolers on Friday evening and then have agreed to spend some of Saturday with them as they visit local grocery stores in Lincoln and interact with consumers.

I was talking to an acquaintance this week, and they were questioning me taking the time off “work” to go do this. This is how I explain it: When opportunities come up to share or interact with others, especially the younger generations, why would you not? Sure, you may just get “paid” in lodging, fuel, and food, but what you are actually getting “paid” for is one of those high schoolers saying thanks, or telling you they learned something.

I wish more relatable people took the time to share their stories and experiences when I was that age. Usually what I got was 60-plus year old men that ran their operations just the same as it had been for generations. There is nothing wrong with that, but at that time that was not what motivated me, and it’s still not today.

I heard a scary news report this week, about how our testing scores once again dropped in the U.S. As a society, it’s hard to question if we aren’t getting dumber. Don’t believe me? Try to do simple math without pulling out your cell phone calculator.

Of course, what do I know? I was the one in a unicorn onesie roping calves.

Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Neb. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at jaclyn@flyingdiamondgenetics.com

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