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The Natural Horseman – Legends Never Die

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By Steve Stevens 

If you have been lucky enough in your life, you have met a true legend, a human who has transcended life and myth. Sometimes that is an artist, a sports figure, a first responder or just a neighbor whom everybody around town knows for a lifetime of goodwill. My dear friend Sonny Jim was one of those legends. He passed a few years back in a gunfight helping a man in need. He would have celebrated his 76th birthday recently, so I have been thinking about him a lot lately.

Steve Stevens with Sonny in El Morrow, New Mexico in 1991. (Photo courtesy Steve Stevens)

Sonny lived ten lifetimes: he was a basketball player, musician, and one of the all time great rodeo cowboys. If you walk down the streets of Gallup, New Mexico, and have a conversation with someone about Sonny, the stories they tell are straight out of a movie.

A guy once told me at the Indian rodeo finals that when Sonny won the world in the steer wrestling championship, that he had a cast all the way up his leg with blood squirting out, and that it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen. If I remember correctly, I think Sonny just had a knee brace on. But Sonny did things people had never seen before.

He was proud of his Native American heritage. I can’t tell you how many times I saw Sonny give his last dollar to someone in need. If anybody ever wanted to learn how to ride horses or rodeo, his door was always open. And that was to anyone. If you wanted to learn, there wasn’t a man in the world who enjoyed teaching more than Sonny. I saw him do things that most normal humans couldn’t do in toughness, kindness and spirituality.

Sonny’s greatest gift was that if he saw that you tried hard at anything, he believed in you and would support and inspire your dreams.

He truly was a legend. The other day, I wanted to honor him so I made sure to put a first ride on a little filly we have in training on his birthday. Sonny loved starting horses and working with them probably more than anyone I had ever been around. So although it wasn’t as wild as he might have liked, I started the mare the way I used to start colts with him, which was with another colt being in the pen with us. It is really a great technique because it puts your colt’s mind on the other horse and if you can get the other horse to move out, yours will follow easily.

I say legends never die because every step I take on a horse, Sonny’s spirit is with me.

I was proud to start this little filly in his honor. Miss you old friend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Angel’s First Ride. (Photo courtesy of Steven Stevens)

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Jesses Jewelz

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By Jesse Kader

Comfy and keep it western. That’s the name of the game this month. It’s hot and who wants clingy clothing? This jumpsuit is perfectly comfortable and relaxed without forfeiting the fashion. Dress it up or keep it casual. See this and more at www.jessesjewelz.com.

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Noble Research Institute Expands New Program Offering Farmers and Ranchers the Essentials of Regenerative Ranch Management 

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The educational program has been expanded to three new locations, empowering ranchers and farmers to monitor and improve the health of their land, livestock and livelihood through regenerative principles.

ARDMORE, OK–September 12, 2023 – Noble Research Institute announced the expansion of Essentials of Regenerative Ranching, a new educational program designed to help ranchers enhance and restore the land, making it more resilient and reaching livestock grazing goals through regenerative management. Essentials of Regenerative Ranching provides producers with practical tools, hands-on experience and guidance to make data-driven decisions to decrease costs and improve profit.

The Essentials of Regenerative Ranching course has been expanded to three new locations in Texas and Oklahoma. Registration is open now at www.noble.org/essentials. Seating is limited, so early registration is recommended.

Texas A&M

College Station, Texas

October 17 – 18

O.D. Butler, Jr. Animal Science Complex

Noble Research Institute

Ardmore, Oklahoma

October 31 – November 1

Pavilion Center

Texas A&M

Kingsville, Texas

November 7-8

Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center

“Program participants gain working knowledge and experience of monitoring and improving the health of their soil, grazing livestock more strategically and making informed financial decisions,” said Hugh Aljoe, Noble Research Institute’s director of ranches, outreach and partnerships. “We use a mix of classroom and field work to send producers home with the tools they need to begin making changes on their ranch.”

Farmers and ranchers navigate uncertainty from weather, fluctuating market prices and escalating costs of inputs. Many producers are seeking new tools that offer greater control and reduce their operational uncertainty. Through this course, ranchers and farmers will calculate their financial situations, determine initial stocking rates, carrying capacity and grazing goals.

“The course is well-suited for ranchers of all experience levels and all types and sizes of operations,” Aljoe added. “No matter your situation, this program will transform the way you think about your ranch.”

The Essentials of Regenerative Ranching program allows producers to overcome obstacles, become more informed problem-solvers and increase the productivity of their grazing lands.  By participating in this program, ranchers join a community of like-minded producers who are shaping the future of ranching and leaving a lasting impact on their land and families. “If I had known what I learned in this course when I started my regenerative journey, I could have avoided some key mistakes,” said Tana McCarter, a rancher, and Essentials attendee. “I left with the tools I needed to monitor my soil health and financial progress. I’ll now have the right data to make informed decisions on how to meet my regenerative goals.”

Noble Research Institute is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to guiding farmers and ranchers in applying regenerative principles that yield healthier soil, more productive grazing land, and business success.

At Noble, researchers, facilitators and ranch staff work together to share with farmers and ranchers the skills and tools to regenerate the land in a profitable manner. Noble is focused on the regenerative management of the nation’s grazing acres, which directly impacts pasture and range environments, wildlife, pecan production, and livestock production. Regenerative management recognizes that each decision made on the ranch impacts the interactions of the soil, plants, water, animals, economics and people. Noble’s 14,000 acres of working ranch lands provide a living laboratory on which to demonstrate and practice regenerative principles and ideas to deliver value to farmers and ranchers across the U.S.

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Jesses Jewelz

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By Jesse Kader

Comfy and keep it western. That’s the name of the game this month. It’s hot and who wants clingy clothing? This jumpsuit is perfectly comfortable and relaxed without forfeiting the fashion. Dress it up or keep it casual. See this and more at www. jessesjewelz.com.

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