A Cowboy’s Faith: Time for all things

buchmanheadWhat could be better than a cowboy dismounting his horse and heading into the great beyond?

That’s the way it was about noon when John Ballweg was riding one of a handful of his daily mounts.

While exact details are uncertain, it’s said the 93-year-old renowned cowboy announced:  “I just got bucked off, but I landed on my feet.”

Yet, there were issues at hand. An ambulance took Ballweg to the hospital, where he succumbed the next morning.

While we really only talked to the cowboy a couple of times, John Ballweg had long been our hero from a distance.

Although we don’t go to the American Royal very often, John Ballweg was there every time, of course, on horseback moving, sorting, settling cattle.

That was his job, his lifelong desired profession for which he was worldwide renowned to be “The Best.”

Maturity was obvious, but more noteworthy, distinct rhythmic naturalness with which John rode his horse.

An inspiration to all who knew him for far beyond abilities with horses. Congenial to everyone, the cowboy said it like he believed and lived.

Col. Dave Webb, funeral eulogist, and our friend, too, insisted: “John Ballweg is one of those very few people in life we are treasured to know, who became a legend in his own time.

“The lessons, the advice, the knowledge John provided will and should be handed down by us to future generations. That is our responsibility.”

Thus, the “John-isms” merit repeating:

“Anytime you can get along with a horse and do something enjoyable … well you know, you just gotta like it.”

“You just got to ride.”

“You just ‘gotta’ drive ’em.”

“Do something. Just do something.”

“If what you’re doing doesn’t work, stop doing it, and try something else.”

Eye to eye to a steer one time, with cowboys and spectators lining the fence, John Ballweg looked at the steer: “Pardon me for bothering you, but I’ll do the driving you SOB.”

As said at the time of world champion cowboy Jim Shoulders’ passing, reminds us of Ecclesiastes 3:1: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the heavens; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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