My first task each morning was to saddle old J. Q. Dunny, the night horse, and rustle horses. In the winter time it was still dark, and I never could have found them alone, but old J. Q. knew exactly where they were. I just let him have the reins and he went straight to them. I brought them to the corral, cut out the ones we were going to use that day and turned the others loose. After breakfast, we were ready to hit the trail. If there was nothing urgent, Joe and I often rode together. If there were different jobs needing to be done at the same time, we lit out in different directions.
M13 - J. Q. Dunny, the night horse 1939
M14 - Rustled horses ready for the cut
"Riding the range" wasn't just sitting in the saddle all day. We repaired fences, checked windmills and dirt tanks, took care of mavericks and watched for wormy calves. The wormy calves were a result of work done at the roundup. The calves often got worms in their heads after being dehorned. This was caused by blowflies laying eggs in the wound before it was completely healed. We always carried worm dope in our saddle pouches. We could spot a wormy calf at quite a distance by the way he held his head. We roped the wormy calves and put ether in the wounds to draw out the worms. We cleaned the wounds and coated them with pine-tar fly repellent. Sometimes the calves would have huge holes in their heads caused by the screw worms.
M15 - The Roundup
Roundup time meant rounding cattle for miles in every direction, then they were held in a circle while each was roped, flanked, branded, castrated if a bull, dehorned, vaccinated and earmarked. The ear clippings were saved for tallying the number of calves with the Matador brand on them.
We always stopped our regular chores to help with the roundup when the wagon outfit came through to work the Red Lake cattle. The wagon outfit included the chuckwagon, the hoodlum wagon, the cook, the hoodlum boy, the horse wrangler, the wagon boss and ten to fifteen cowboys. The chuckwagon pulled a two-wheeled wooden cart which carried he big iron cookstove. A few years before my time, there as no cookstove. The cooking was done right out in the open. The cook dug a pit about five feet long for an open fire. He drove a stob at each end and hung a rack over the it to hold his big black pots. The cook's job at that time was not always a pleasant one. In rain, snow, sleet or sandstorms he had to keep that fire going and cook for those hungry cowboys. That wood range inside a warm, dry tent was really a big improvement over that open fire cooking. The cook was boss of the chuckwagon and tent area. He didn't put up with any foolishness.
M16 - Cook's tent and fly
The fly was a canvas roof over the chuckwagon to make it cooler and protect the worktable from bad weather.
While cattle were being rounded for each roundup site, the cook and hoodlum boy were busy setting up camp and getting ready to feed those hungry cowboys. The cook drove the four mules that pulled the chuckwagon. The chuckwagon carried the cowboys' bedrolls which doubled as their suitcases and their sleeping accommodations. Rolled up in each bedroll was the cowboy's extra clothing which wasn't much and a few personal items. The chuckwagon also carried the big tent and fly. The two wheeled cart trailed behind carrying the big black cookstove. Water cans were tied behind the cart. The hoodlum boy and his wagon followed carrying water barrels, some of the bedrolls and other supplies.
M17 - The Matador chuckwagon 1940
The chuckwagon rolls through the mesquite pasture to the next roundup site.
The door of the chuckwagon had swinging legs that let down to make a table for the cook to work on at meal time. Tin plates, knives, forks and cups were carried in the chuckbox. There were also bins in the chuckbox for staples such as sugar, flour, spices, salt, etc. The water barrel made of cedar staves and steel bands was nearby.
M18 - The Matador chuckwagon
After the breakup of the Matador was completed in 1951, the Matador chuckwagon as seen above was donated to the world famous National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is now housed in that facility where it should be sheltered and preserved permanently for present and future generations to enjoy.
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