I had a bull once; well, I had A LOT of bulls, but this one was special. He was the best bull I ever raised; a grandson of Panhandler 741 and an own son of Julian 7546G: and he was magnificent. Long as a freight train, smooth as a Ferrari, with a hind end like a $40 dollar mule, as my father-in-law used to say. Fertile, and pre-potent, he threw heavy, muscular sons and feminine, hardy daughters. Panhandler was such a striking individual that people would stop on the road through our place to photograph him- and in an area where cattle outnumber people by a ratio of 30 to 1, that is saying something. People who have never been around stock much may not believe this, but those who have been will understand— Panhandler was chock full of pride. He was a BULL and certainly knew it; so did the other bulls that had to deal with him. Panhandler was a bit frightening in terms of size as well; one year after breeding season, when all the bulls are slimmed down from chasing cows across the prairie, for fun I penned him and took him to town in a stock truck just to see how much he weighed. In his working clothes and all tired out from breeding, he tipped the scales at 3200 pounds.
Panhandler was an emperor stuck in a two bit duchy, and he knew it. Not helping matters was the fact that some people were scared of him when they had to work him in a corral; they could not help it, with his size. I could handle him due to the fact that I raised him, and he still could remember when I was bigger and stronger than he was- as long as I did not take any chances, he was quiet and workable. Until…
Every year it is wise to test your bulls for fertility, to make sure they are still healthy and can breed cows; otherwise you have a sterile bull- not only failing to breed, but one that will chase other fertile bulls away. This one year, I decided to make a short trip to town and trusted a neighbor to help test the bulls. I returned after all was done to turn the bulls back into their pasture, and Panhandler tried to kill me. He was NOT joking around, there was blood in his eye (bulls eyes get bloodshot when they are upset), and he was on the fight. I escaped, but knew then it was time; I had kept him a few years longer than normal due to his quality, but I would rather live with smaller calves than die with big ones. I culled him. Later on I discovered that my neighbor was so frightened of Panhandler, he tried to move him around in the pens with a pitchfork; that is what changed a monarch into a monster.
Panhandler was a bull for the ages- the archetype of what a bull is supposed to be- but he developed into a liability when his power and demeanor were channeled to violence due to an unfortunate incident. His very talents rendered in the end his undoing as a result of circumstance. His was not a lifetime appointment; yet there are some in this world with such status that need to be assessed as this bull was; for the benefit of those who might be destroyed by such a one as this.


About john spizziri

I am a retired rancher who sold his ranch after 30 years of cowboying, and now spend my days teaching high school in rural montana. I have a lovely wife of 35 years, and ffour grown children who have scattered to the four wings of the world. My family is all active members of the Catholic Church, and We are all Faithful, Evangelising followers of the Magesterium. My love for Our Lord and His Church has evolved into these feeble attempts at spreading the Good News. The rest of my life involves grandchildren, students, and when the time permits, mour horses. View all posts by john spizziri

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