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The Makin’ of a Dally-Man

Destiny’s Diary
May 1, 2024
God’s Time, Not Mine
May 16, 2024

Cowboys all know that there are a couple of ways to handle the loose end of your rope when it comes to lassoing a bovine critter. In fact there is a fair amount of controversy and, sometimes, a heap of teasing and jabbing between the devotees of the two common versions.

One way is tied-off (tying off your lariat to the horn before you throw out a loop) so the steer or cow is stopped fast and your hands are freer. The other is to keep your rope coils loose and hanging in your left hand so that you can dally tight (take some quick, rope-turns around your saddle horn) to stop the roped critter.

There are true and valid pros and cons to each method and, typically, the cowboys I’ve known are passionately committed to their chosen style of roping although some will adjust their method depending on the terrain and other circumstances.

The Makin' of a Dally Man

Brewster weren't new to cowboyin'
He'd cut his teeth a'horseback
He was a purebred ol' cowboy 
Seems he was born with the knack

When it came to ropin' skills
Brew was a shore 'nuff top hand
He could easy-throw a long loop
Or short-toss an ol' Houlihan

He was something of a wonder
It was rare, if ever, he missed
Brew was well known in the valley
For the skilled action of his wrist

'Course there's two ways of loop tossin'
But taught by his dad and some others
Where Brew came from tyin'-off was
Preferred given their own druthers

Brew used a sixty foot soft lay
Hadn’t much use for them shorter
He found it helped him snag
Either calves or an ol’ snorter

Brew and his pards were doctorin'
Brewster'd head-roped him a big steer
When things got twisted and tangled
A wreck was shore 'nuff comin' near

That angry bovine critter
Tossed his hips to the rope
Brew was of course tied off
And dangerously down-slope

When that rope snapped taught
Brew's pony was jerked sideways
Seein' the wreck a comin' on
From that riled-up sack out crossways

Brew dismounted in a blaze
Rollin on the ground to the east
And comin up on a knee
His six-gun out to stop the beast

He fired a shot past his bay
As she tipped over to the west
He hit that steer between the eyes
That monster was not much impressed

The shot slowed him but only some
Blood was splashing into his eyes
Giving Brew time to move on in
Firin' close enough for its demise

His bay got back on her feet
After Brewster cut that rope free
He’d dang near lost his loyal friend
Tyin' off to that saddle tree

He cut loose that ropin' noose
Pullin' it clean off of his horn
Never again would he tie off
He'd learned a lesson that morn

Sometimes he'll throw away his rope
Thankin God he wasn't tyin'
When a wreck's a comin on
Livin' til tomorrow stead'a dyin

If Brew ever gets in trouble
A fixin’ to be bovine prey
He can just let loose seein’ as
He became a dally-man that day

by Rik Goodell

© 2024 All rights reserved

This painting was the direct inspiration for this poem

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