Quite a while back, I read the story of the last cattle drive on a Flint Hills, Kansas range. It made me sad that this little link to the past has been severed.
I don't want to whine that we're loosing our heritage; there are plenty of people around doing that. You know, our heritage is actually the story of people making the best of circumstances that are less than the best. Just my observation from a foxhole on the frontlines of the battle between then and now!
Last Cattle Drive
This is true. I’m sure it is. The story was reported
widely on the internet. So, the facts were not distorted.
They did it how they did it when they did it long ago.
Cowboys in the saddle, 300 head of cattle
trod the Kansas Flint Hills nice and slow.
They did it like they did it when they did it in the past.
But those cowboys in the saddle, knew that for these cattle,
this end of summer round up was the last.
The last trip from the summer range but not to winter ground;
They’re headed for the trailers that are Oklahoma bound.
It costs too much to graze the herd in Kansas now-a-days
so the owners of this Flint Hills ranch had to find new ways
to fatten up their cattle. The answer was quite clear.
Just load ‘em up and truck ‘em to a feed lot south of here.
The image of that cattle drive was really quite iconic
and some who know the history point out just how ironic
that cattle once were driven north to graze the Kansas plain.
Now, literally, they’re driven back to graze from where they came.
Jeff Hildebrandt © June 22, 2012