Even after a long, steady gaze, the scenery in Southeastern Colorado doesn’t have much to offer. Compared to the majestic mountain peaks found farther west and north, this area of the state appears to be a whole lot of nothing, with flat, dry and rugged expanses stretching for hundreds of lonely miles.
Only a handful of ranches in the West send out a wagon anymore. Most places aren’t big enough to justify the experience. Finding cowboys willing to sleep in a teepee for six weeks isn’t easy, either. But for the Spanish Ranch in Elko County, Nevada, sending out the spring wagon is a way of life.
I caught up with Ira Wines, buckaroo boss at the Spanish Ranch, in early May of 2006, just 10 days before his spring works began.
As the first performance clones become adults, the equine industry will soon see if the genetic twins can truly live up to their originals. And while the cloning procedure has raised some eyebrows among industry veterans, owners are lining up for the chance to preserve their horses’ genetic influence.
The black foal nursing at the Paint mare’s side doesn’t look like a four-legged outlaw, the equine equivalent of Billy the Kid. He doesn’t look like he has the potential to transform into an explosion of horseflesh that can slam the most experienced rodeo cowboy into the dirt.
But his genes say he does.