Someday, I think I will write a book called “Dating in the Boonies,” a how-to on finding that special someone when you live out in the middle of nowhere.

This wouldn’t be your typical dating self-help book. This one would include chapters such as “The art form of not cussing each other out when working cattle” and “How to sit next to each other in a restaurant when stinking like cow manure.” I’m sure it could be a New York Times bestseller. Then we could follow it up with the sequel, “How to be Ranchy.”

I had a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago that went on an outing. I got ahold of her the next day to ask how it went, and she started laughing. I asked what happened, and she gave me a couple stories that, if I was in the vicinity of this individual and saw his actions, I might have taken a hot shot to him, or at least thrown a bull ring in his nose and tied him to a fence post.

The next morning, he texted her, and said she wasn’t “ranchy” enough for him. Yep, you heard that correctly — my classy boot-and-jean-loving friend, who owns more of her own cattle now than the majority of the female population, wasn’t “ranchy” enough. Evidently, she needed to go on another outing with this individual where she could wear spurs, have chew spit dribbling down her chin, and use a piggin’ string to hold up her pants in place of a belt.

The running joke since that debacle is that we need to work on being more “ranchy” on our operations. We decided to start with our new image when the Business Partner and I needed to pick up bulls up at the North Place. I had got up early to run to Western Sires to fill a semen tank and then made the circle around to start setting panels up to pasture load the renegades. I unloaded the ATVs — because what’s more “ranchy” than rounding up big bad bulls on four-wheelers — then headed up to the pasture.

My goal was to sort off the four older bulls from one group, take them through the panels and gate into the next pasture, then straight load those four and the four young bulls in that pasture.

Well, the old bulls had different ideas. Each one I brought to the trailer went through the panels and left, to jump on the trailer, instead of going through the panels and right, through the gate. While I appreciated the effort, it left me with two yearlings and two two-year-olds to jump on from the other direction.

By that time, the partner had showed up, and we went to collect the four young ‘uns. All was going well, until some punk on the front of the aluminum trailer decided to make so much racket that the young ‘uns thought it was Area 51 and were going to run away from the extraterrestrials as fast as their short, stubby legs would take them.

Fortunately for us, it was hot, and they were lazy. Well, all but one two-year old who had decided by this point the females that he left around a half mile at the other end of the pasture were a lot more interesting than the silver transportation vessel.

We could not stop him. He had his head in my ATV a couple of different times, and even with my best Flint Rasmussen moves, he was determined to keep heading north. We didn’t have a lot of backup options as the corrals were a long road trek or a river crossing away in the opposite directions, so he had one option and that was to get on the trailer.

I finally told the Partner, “I’m over this”, grabbed my rope off the front of the ATV, and zoomed up to him and threw a great loop around his neck. He found out after two trips to the ground that I was serious. Got back up from the second time and walked just like a puppy dog down to the trailer and loaded right up.

Well, there wasn’t a pony, we weren’t wearing boots or spurs, and neither of us were dribbling chew spit, but I turned to my Partner as we shut the trailer gate and said, “Is that ranchy enough for you?”

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

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