At age “39-plenty,” this Midland, Texas, woman serves as an ambassador for the ranching industry and traditional cowboy ways.
The official ambassador for the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico, Tommye Connor—aka “Mama T”—fills that role unofficially for many other such gatherings, as well. She encourages young and old alike to connect with the Western way of life she knows so well.
Only a handful of ranches in the West send out a wagon anymore. Most places aren’t big enough to justify the experience. Finding cowboys willing to sleep in a teepee for six weeks isn’t easy, either. But for the Spanish Ranch in Elko County, Nevada, sending out the spring wagon is a way of life.
I caught up with Ira Wines, buckaroo boss at the Spanish Ranch, in early May of 2006, just 10 days before his spring works began.