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It’s the Pitts: Without A Net

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The government and insurance companies often issue lists of the most dangerous jobs in America based on deaths per thousand. I have a sharp and dangerous ax to grind with such lists because a job can still be extremely dangerous, without killing you. 

Logging is usually the most dangerous job in America, and I have no objection with this assessment. I take no offense with the inclusion of roofers, iron workers and underground miners. It’s when they get around to agriculture I start to dispute their placings. 

Most lists lump ranching and farming together in one category, which usually falls around number 10 on the lists of the most dangerous jobs. But, I see absolutely no reason why delivery truck driving should be considered more dangerous than bull riding. 

So, to put right this great injustice, I have made my own list of the 10 most dangerous jobs.

10. Farrier

Baseball catchers have the most dangerous job in baseball and are often considered for inclusion in the dangerous job category, but not so the lowly farrier. 

The catcher gets to wear all sorts of protective equipment, including a cup, but when a horseshoer catches a high, hard and fast one in the groin, he is totally defenseless. 

This is why most elderly horseshoers are jumpy, grumpy and walk hunched over.

9. Large animal vet

These folks live life on the edge. There are just too many ways a vet can be injured, from catching anthrax or rabies to getting hit in a vehicular accident because he or she nodded off at the wheel from a lack of sleep. 

Too many knives, scalpels and needles are involved to say this occupation is less dangerous than airplane pilots and trash collectors.

8. Cowboys

Carpenters are always listed amongst the top 10 most dangerous jobs but not cowboys.

I’d bet cowboys are missing more digits than hammer jockeys are. Cowboys dicker with death every day, from trying to stay out of the wire to riding knot-headed horses that can bury a person in a variety ways. 

And, there’s usually no emergency room or med stop for 100 miles.

7. Slaughterhouse worker

Working in a slaughterhouse is like sleepwalking into an airplane propeller. There are booby traps everywhere, and the sharp knives are slippery from blood, water and assorted entrails. 

Being a truck driver is NOT more dangerous than working in a slaughterhouse.

6. Auction market owner

For those questioning my judgement here, they’ve probably never sorted mad cows or been run over by one-ton bulls in a sorting alley. 

If a person survives that wreck, there’s always the strain associated with a big buyer going broke and leaving one with a seven-figure bad check.

5. Bulldogger

Death sits in the saddle every time a bulldogger lowers himself down from a speeding horse on to a rack of horns belonging to a four-footed bovine track star. 

And keep in mind, every time they lean over to “take the bull by the horns,” they are working without a net.

4. Bull rider

When bull riding begins, the ambulance goes on full alert for a “load and go” or a “scoop and scoot.” 

I’m really glad bull riders started wearing Kevlar vests and catcher’s masks, but they still face the possibility of going on the “long sleep” every time they willingly fasten themselves to a one-ton, man-killing machine.

3. Rodeo clown

I went back and forth on which job is more dangerous, riding a bull or playing tag with one. Let’s call it a tie. Talk about a moth that falls in love with a flame. 

I fail to see the attraction here.

2. Hole blocker

This person, almost always your wife, is the person who jumps up and down frantically waving her hands to stop cattle from escaping through a hole or gap in a fence or corral. 

She plays the ultimate game of chicken with an outraged herd of oncoming bovines. 

On average, I’d say she wins about half the time.

1. Cattle feeder

There’s no one more courageous and no occupation as dangerous as being an independent cattle feeder.

If they don’t get run over by a banker, gored by regulators or driven to drink by greedy packers, they’ll probably end up stroking out at 50 from all the stress.

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