There was a time when the sight of riders on horseback driving cattle was such a common thing in Texas that folks didn’t pay much attention to it. Not anymore. These days, cattle are moved using giant eighteen-wheelers, and cowboys don’t fit much into that equation. But when we first met Weldon Wilson in 2017, he and nine other cowboys from all parts of Texas were planning a full-day cattle drive, moving his herd of pure Texas Longhorns from one pasture to another a few miles away.
Weldon Wilson had a steadfast attachment to the past, especially to his past. He could have moved those animals in an hour or two using a few pickups and trailers, but that process wouldn’t have honored his daddy or granddaddy who did it just the way he planned to do it.
But there was one big difference between the old days and these days. Weldon and his cowboys would have to drive their herd across a 75 miles-per-hour major U.S. highway that sat smack-dab in the middle of the only route that would get them to where they were going.
We didn’t know what to expect and, frankly, we were a little afraid of how this was going to go. But Weldon and his boys were determined to git ’er done, so we followed along.
We were sad to learn that Weldon died this year at the age of 77, and the plans for his semiannual cattle drive remain unknown. We were lucky to have shared this experience with him when we could, and his story will forever top our favorite memories from the show’s fifty years.