Headstall Support: The Future of Cattle Ranching

My border collie Doc modeling the new headstall.

Doc was really grumpy about modeling the new headstall.


I just about shook the poor man’s hand straight off his arm. That’s how grateful I was for his support and encouragement. Nothing says “Thanks for being awesome” quite like 18 handshakes, right? The poor man being Larry Olberding, Jr. (Twitter), current president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.

Last night was the first time I’d attended the Whitman County Cattlemen’s banquet and auction. Events like these provide great opportunities to talk with and learn from those who have been raising cattle for decades.

Larry and I first ran into each other through our advocacy efforts online. We talked some via the cyber waves, and then we met normal-person style at the Klickitat County Cattlemen’s banquet a year ago.

We hadn’t run into each other since so you can imagine my surprise when Larry came up and talked to me last night. But not half as surprised as when he bid on a headstall at the auction and donated it to me in support of my cattle advocacy efforts here in the Pacific Northwest.

I might have blushed. And then I might have smiled and shook his hand 18 times. If you see Larry favoring his right hand the next time you see him, it’s my fault.

Now then. This certainly isn’t about me. It’s not even necessarily about Larry or his generosity, though it was definitely a fine example of that.

It’s about the bigger picture. As a young person who is passionate about cattle ranching and has mile-wide dreams for her future in this business, having the support and encouragement of those who have been ranching for awhile is huge. Bigger than huge.

What is going to happen to the future of cattle ranching? If young people aren’t supported – regardless of whether they choose not to seek out those opportunities or because support is never offered – then it is a future without much light.

Support comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it comes in the shape of a headstall.

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