When SGSpouse and I started becoming serious avocational archaeologists we spent a lot of time tracking down remote sites around Arizona. Often we found ourselves mapping artifact scatters and ruins on public lands that "spilled over" onto ranches. We would typically try to find out who owned the private land, then approach the ranchers and ask permission to go onto their land to document the archaeology features and artifacts. We learned that it helped to have some common topics of conversation with the ranchers if we wanted to be granted permission.Even on public land, we were often in open range land with lots of cattle. SGSpouse, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, was scared to death of cattle. She wouldn't even get out of the truck to open gates if cattle was too close.The solution to both problems was to become cattle owners so we started acquiring Texas longhorns. That gave us a number of topics to discuss with ranchers and also led SGSpouse to become quite comfortable around cattle.So we joined the Texas Longhorn Breeder Association and started to breed and show cattle. We had a friend in the Association who brought his cattle to Phoenix and while taking them home on the freeway through the city had the gate to his trailer come open and all 8 longhorns got out and started running down the highway. As luck would have it, there had been a rodeo in town that day and a group of bulldoggers (steer wrestlers) traveling just behind him on the highway. The bulldoggers jumped into action and helped to roundup the longhorns and get them all back in the trailer. The local news coverage of the event that night was very entertaining.
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