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Ups and downs

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Hay prices: Up. Lamb prices: Up. Horse prices: Always up. Smoky skies: Up. Record prices at county fair livestock auctions: Up. People visiting our state this summer: Up.  

Grass and reservoir levels: Down. Water levels in the southwestern U.S.: Scary down. Calf prices: Up a bit. Fuel: Up. Angst in a drought year: Up. Zucchini production: Up. Coronavirus: Oh I hope not. 

This August was full of ups and downs when we could all use a little steadiness. The month has consisted of the Wyoming State Fair, sports practice and second cutting, as well as a couple of lazy weekends.  

September is almost here and the fall run began early. Folks out of grass have been loading lambs and moving up their calf shipping dates. I hope September will bring cooler days and some moisture – it’s not too late to put a little green out there. 

August always brings many motorcyclists to our region, and helps the cash flow. The big draw is the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held this year from Aug. 6-15.  The attendance was up almost 14 percent over 2020, bringing in 525,000 visitors this year.  

Many bikers may attend Sturgis for a day or two, and then ride around to the less crowded venues. A popular destination is of course Devil’s Tower, and the small hamlet of Hulett, which swells for their “Ham and Jam” party. Riders will make it to Buffalo, and some trickle down to Kaycee. I even spotted a sign for a pig roast at Spotted Horse welcoming “rally goers.”  

I never made it to the Sturgis Rally, not even to watch. My preferred mode of transportation comes with four wheels or legs. Bob got close to Sturgis one time…  

One year many moons ago, Bob was going to haul a semi-load of cull ewes to the Newell, S.D. sheep sale. He was going to need a “G” form – a document needed to go out of state with livestock. In those days, we would go downtown to Rome Taylor’s gas station, as Rome’s was an essential slice of the commerce in Kaycee.  

When Bob walked in and announced he was heading to South Dakota right in the middle of rally week, the boys decided to have some fun. 

“Boy, don’t let those bikers in downtown Sturgis get you in a circle, you could lose your life, or at best, your testicles,” they said.  

They proceeded to regale Bob with many tales of what could happen in downtown Sturgis, and what could be seen.  

“Those gals wear chaps and that’s all,” they said. I believe it’s deteriorated since then. 

Bob was a little “shakin’ in his boots” when he headed out. He asked me to make a motel reservation for the night, and I was also a little naïve about this trip, not realizing motel rooms would be in short supply.  

I was finally able to get a room in Newell, and told the person at the desk my husband would be arriving late. The only room they had left was at the very end of the motel.  

Bob’s first indication he’d hit close to the action was when he got off the interstate exit at Spearfish, S.D. It was a steady stream of bikers, and it took him almost 30 minutes to turn north in his big rig.  

He made it to the stockyards in Newell, unloaded the trailer and now it was time to find his room for the night. It was dark by the time he found the motel, parked and got his key.   

Bike after bike were parked out in front of the rooms. Bob’s room was down at the end of a dim hallway in the basement. He walked down the hallway with trepidation and slept with one eye open all night. 

The next morning he went to get coffee at the motel office, and the coffee room was full of doctors, lawyers and other professionals – motorcycle riders in their 40s and 50s. Bob stayed far from the inner circle and survived the trip intact. 

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