Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dirty Old Sale Barns

I think this blog has let all of you (that want to) learn a little more about me. It´s helped to bring ME back to myself also, which needs to happen to all of us sometimes.

The first weekend of October I was able to stay a little longer and stop by Giddings Livestock for a little while. For those of you that don´t know...that´s the cattle auction that my Uncle is part-owner of. Let me give you all a little background.

Giddings Livestock facilities
Here´s a pic of Giddings Livestock - Sale every Monday.
My Uncle Mele used to haul cattle to several different sale barns in the area and we (me, my sister, and brother) would ride with him every so often.

I´m not exactly sure when, but I would say around the late ´90s, my Uncle started auctioning for Lee County Stockyards in Giddings. There was a girl there that worked in the back...BJ Els. That girl may be pint-sized, but she is tough as kinda have to be to work back there. I mean...that girl stays dirty. She´s a barrel racer, her Daddy´s a welder, well....she just works harder than most men, has done things most men haven´t done and I just took a likin´ to her. So....I started working in the back...when I was in like 6th or 7th grade. I was a HUGE tomboy back then...HUGE! I was literally her shadow back there. I learned a lot....especially how to work...not sit still. So for several summers and any Monday that I didn´t have school...I went and worked at the sale barn.

My first job was working one of the shoot gates (there were 3) that got the cattle into the ring. Then...I eventually worked up to the tub (after BJ left). This is a big chute. It is a round pen-type thing that has different petition gates that moves different pens of cattle into the shoot. This is where you moved cattle into the chutes...right before they went into the ring. I´m not exactly sure when, but I started bringing the cattle up from the alley to put into the pens, that go into the tub, that then go into the shoot. I also helped get bulls and cows and goats and all kinds of livestock into the ring (some were put into the ring separately). I also helped get the baby calves paired up with their mommas before they went into the ring. The momma cows are penned separate from the babies, so they don´t get hurt (moving between the other big cows) and then they are later paired up when they go into the ring. I would literally come home covered in cow crap from head to toe...and then be ready to go back to work the next week.

Here´s a shot of the holding pens at Giddings Livestock from the catwalk.

More Pics and Cows...

Yet another....
Somewhere....probably around my Sophomore year of high school I started worrying about boys a little bit and what people thought of a girl working in the back...punching cattle. Most people think that´s men´s work and attractive can a dirty stinky girl be? So I started helping in the office. Mainly entering information into the computer like tag number, buyer, seller, etc. I did that for awhile. Then I got a job working for Citizens National Bank and quit working at the barn for awhile.
Then the two local sale barns Lee County Stockyards and Giddings Livestock merged. They moved the sale to the new facilities at Giddings Livestock. The place I worked at the time La Finca (cool little home interior store with a Mexican type theme - owned my a SUPER COOL lady that inspired me to be a DREAMER) was not open on Mondays, so I started working in the kitchen and waiting tables. Then our family worked the restaurant for awhile (5S Cafe) - until my Daddy had to have a liver transplant and I went off to college.

I found some old pictures (and really wish I could of found some of me at my dirtiest) that I thought I´d share. It was a big, influential part of my life. I NEED to get better at taking pictures of all of this stuff for my blog!´s kinda hard thinking about pictures when you have a 2-year old trying to stick her hand in the ring to "pet" the cows, but I need to get on top of this :).

Chance, Mom, Me, and Mandy at the Cafe.
Me and Mayra
Pops, Uncle Fritzie, Craig, and Leonard (my Father-in-Law)
Me and my Mother-In-Law, Lois working at the Cafe.
Mayra (long-time friend) and Mandy (little sister)...A couple of the cooks.
I guess that was a kinda long way to get to my main point, but I have been involved in sale barns FOREVER...and all different areas. I´ve met some really AWESOME, HARD-WORKING, REAL people along the way. Cattle Buyers, Sellers, Work hands of all sorts (young high school kids, older fellas that have been cowboy´n all their lives, alley hands that could care less about those damn cows and are just tryin´ to make some $$, etc.), got-it-together women workin´ in the office and callin´ pens, older fellas just stoppin´ in for coffee and watchin´ their cattle sell... Really....all kinds.

Some of thoe "Got-It-Together" Women and Marty (past part-owner).
More "Got It Together Women" :).
So I got to stop by and see some of my old friends. You don´t realize it, but these people are like family. Here are some examples: Mr. Bill Jones (from Lott, Texas) and Craig Archer (from the San Marcos area) are 2 cattle buyers that I recall knowin´ me when I was punching cattle in the back. Glenn (Cuero area) has managed the alley hands for as long as I can remember...Mr. Albrecht (Giddings-area native) - that has been drinkin´ coffee and watchin´ cows sell since I can remember, of course Uncle Mele and Mr. Rick Sodek. I mean...there were so many. In that same breath...there are so many that have passed on - that I wish I could´ve seen. They were characters that you just can´t forget and God Bless their souls.
I don´t know what it is about those Dirty Old Salebarns.... It just felt right for me to walk in there and be there. It´s kinda funny b/c...even though I grew up around them, it is always a little intimidating to walk into a room (predominantly full of men). Not only that, but it had been YEARS since some of these people have seen me. I walked in with Pops and we went and sat in the bleachers with little Kylee. It didn´t do much good trying to sneak in,considering that Uncle Mele called us out on the mike as soon as we sat down and everyone turned to look at us :). Before you knew it I was sittin´ down with the cattle buyers right in front of the ring and they were even playing with Kylee (who was tryin´ her derndest to get right up to the sale ring). It was kinda like we picked up right where we left off.

Look at all those people!
Anyways...I think the sale barn is where I learned to LOVE PEOPLE...all kinds of people and appreciate them.

As far as auctioning at one will take me a little while to get familiar with the market and maybe get enough speed to keep those cattle buyers happy.

It is memories like this that make me realize how truly blessed I have been in my life. There aren´t too many people that have the opportunities that I´ve had. I guess I´ve come a long way from punchin´ cows and cow crap. So...a marriage, a sweet little baby girl, an Associate and Bachelors Degree, an(almost) 5-year TV Ad Sales Career, and several years later, I have decided to get my Auctioneer License. Is it a bad thing that I kinda wouldn´t mind bein´ covered in cow crap again?

1 comment:

  1. Oh my this is one of my favorite of your posts. I felt like I was there, I can imagine the people. Its funny how when you talked about certain people I related those to the people at my local sale barn. Thanks for sharing this post!