If you know a cowboy, you then know doing stupid things, dangerous stunts and “hold my beer, watch this” events are the norm, not the exception. An informal poll revealed a never-ending stream of stories ranging from “when I was a kid…” to “last night my buddy and I …”

These two cowboys live off the grid, caring for cattle on a remote ranch where world news reaches them almost never and current events in this volatile world have absolutely no effect on the day-to-day operations. It’s winter so in between feeding cows and breaking ice on drinkers and ponds, these two make a little extra jingle for their pockets by hunting varmints for their pelts.

It had been a slow night and they were headed back to the house about midnight and out in the middle of nowhere they saw a set of vehicle headlights they were sure had no business being there. The rationale was that there should be no other hunters out there but they knew an occasional poacher could show up. There was always a little fun in chasing them down.

The pickup they were in had just had a “makeover” with a new flatbed on the back, so wasn’t recognizable by anyone that ordinarily could have. They drove up on the invader and realized it was the game warden, who promptly turned on his “cop” lights indicating he wanted them to stop. He thought he’d caught some poachers.

The story goes, one cowboy was just plain ornery and the other one denied egging him on, but the driver floored the fuel pedal and blew past the warden leaving him in a cloud of diesel smoke. The warden had to turn his truck around before he could pursue them and the chase was on. About a mile down the road the cowboys pulled over and turned on their lights so their pursuer wouldn’t run into them in the dark.

As the warden pulled up, one of the cowboys jumped out and threw his hands behind his head. He faced the flatbed, leaning over in the “I’m busted” position. As he did, he began loudly singing, “Bad boys, bad boys what you gonna do when they come for you.”

The warden knew he’d been had. Recognizing his prey as the cowboys that lived there, he gave them a cussword-filled greeting and suggested they needed to be working days and sleeping nights instead of messing with the law in the dark hours. His good sense of humor kept the boys from getting put in jail, or worse yet, shot as fugitives. It never occurred to those cowboys how badly this could have ended.

The cowboy electrician

The young ranch couple got a new-to-them used clothes dryer. Turned out the plug on the cord was not going to match the more modern receptacle in the wall. The cowboy had visions of his beer money going out the window to buy a new cord for the dryer.

Necessity is the mother of invention or sometimes the incentive for bad ideas. So, with a hacksaw and horseshoe rasp in hand he commenced to making that pesky L-shaped prong into a straight one. It took a couple beers and some smoothing out with the finish side of his rasp, but he proudly figured he’d one-upped the hardware man.

“It must not have been square when I plugged it in. Made a sound a lot like 7018 welding rod,” he said. A loud pop and the lights went out. He tuned on it a little more with his rasp, got the breaker reset and plugged it in again. This time it worked.

The electric stove in that same house had an oven that didn’t work. The ranch owner kept promising to get it fixed, but it hadn’t happened yet. Thanksgiving was looming and while drinking a little of the beer he bought with the money he saved by fixing the dryer, he experienced a repeat of beer-induced brilliance. Simultaneously his wife reminded him of the minor setbacks with the dryer and suggested he leave it alone instead of tempting fate and burning the house down.

Typical of the species, telling him he can’t was a “watch me Alice” moment. Sure enough, he made all the necessary wiring, plugged it in and killed all the lights yet again. Repeated tries saw some more light flashing but ultimately the oven was working somewhat. “Sure did cook those biscuits quick, but we did have biscuits,” he declared.

He even had some thoughts that he might have missed his career calling and somewhere there was an opening for a cowboy electrician. It was mentioned that “opening” might possibly be a grave.

Julie, with enough similar storyline fodder for a series, can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com.