We were at the county fair where the sheep had done their duty for the mutton busting contest, which featured the preschoolers riding sheep with helmets and determination.
The rides were timed and the kids stuck like a burr until the buzzer sounded.
Soon all the sheep were milling in the arena. It was time to get them back to the corral.
The cowboys with their uniforms of Stetson hats and starched shirts headed their horses toward the flock.
The horses pressed against the edges of the flock but sheep aren’t easily herded.
They scattered, leaving the cowboys with nothing to herd.
After several minutes of scattering, the cowboys reined their horses and mulled.
What to do with these sheep?
The sheep gathered to the far end of the arena, ready for round 2. They could scatter all day. Those horses were no match for mutton bustin’ sheep.
But then George came to the rescue.
George knew sheep. He pulled a white 5-gallon bucket from the bed of his pickup and headed for the arena.
He stood at the gate and raised the bucket, pounding his hand against it.
Then they honed in on the sound. And together they surged forward to George and his bucket.
With George thumping the bucket, the sheep followed him into the corral and got ready for round 2 of mutton busting’.
Cowboys had no chance against tradition.
Those sheep knew a feed bucket when they saw one.