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Farm Boys Need Haircuts Too by CountryBoy

Hi there. My name is Jacob. This story starts a couple of days before the beef show at the county fair. My buddy, Trevor and I were clipping down our cows for show day and it was proving to be quite a task. For those if you that don’t know, the clippers we use for clipping cattle are a large set of Ostar clippers with a big motor that has a huge fan on it to cool the motor. The clippers’ large motor and sharp blades quickly and effectively shear the cow hides down to an even 1/8 of an inch. This way, the judge can see the musculature of the animal and judge it based on that instead of a big poofy coat. The side effect of the large fan is that the hairs getting sheared off the the animal are blown all over the person doing the clipping. This is a huge nuisance. Now, for those of you that have not shown cattle before or been around a fair, let me pause this story to give y’all the rundown.

County fairs are often held in the middle of August which is typically the hottest part of the summer. While farm kids are often used to being in the heat, the fair still stretches even the strongest of us. Fair days are long with loads of work that needs to be done from sun up to sun down. Before we can bring the cattle to the fair, we have to work with them and get them so they will work with us in the show ring. At the fair, we need to prepare the stalls with bedding, dividers, fans, and a bunch of other equipment. This process often takes hours and is a lot of hard work. Once we get the cattle to the fair, they have to be washed and dried multiple times to get their coats cleaned and ready to clip. Needless to say, there is a lot of work to be done at the fair.

Besides work, county fairs are often a great source of fun too. It is basically a rite of passage to watch a demolition derby or bull ridin’ (or participate if you think you are really tough and up to the challenge. Us farm kids have at least tried to ride a bull at home once and want to see if we can don the chaps and cowboy hat, and stick on the back of a mean ornery cus of a bull for the 8 seconds).

While there is a lot of work to do and a lot of fun to be had, the fair is overall dusty and hot. Any self-respecting farm kid that cares at all for his toes is going to wear a pair of steel toed boots (either cowboy or work). I mean, think about it: we are working with almost 2,000 pound animals with a bit of attitude. It is only a matter of time before your feet get stepped on by a stray hoof and you have to be prepared. With the boots comes a good pair of jeans. You need something that will hold together (and still be comfortable if you get it in your head to ride a bull) and still look kinda nice. You also need a good button up western shirt to keep the dust and sun off. The thicker the better. You don’t want to get skin cancer being out in the sun all day, do you? To top it all off, most farm kids wear a baseball cap. Some will wear a cowboy hat if they are feeling extra tough but the baseball cap is the most functional.

Now, back to clipping the cows for show day. (Well, technically they are steers which is a castrated male. This is the most common beef at the fair.) Anyways, it was under my baseball cap that my wavy brown hair was driving me crazy. Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have any hippy hair. I try to get into the barbershop every 5 months or so and get it trimmed so it touches my collar and I can push it under my hat out if my eyes. But, I try to let it grow in the winter since it seems to help keep me warm with my Carhartt jacket, overalls, and hat. And, this summer had been super busy and for some reason I was not able to get In to the barbershop at all. All that to say, my hair was getting long. Between that and my jeans, long sleeve shirt, and cowboy boots, I was either going to burn up or melt into a puddle of sweat. Beads of sweat were rolling down my forehead and off my nose every couple of seconds. The tiny hairs from the clippers were getting into my shirt and sticking to any part of my body that was covered in sweat...which was all of it. I looked over to see my buddy Trevor was in a similar predicament. His face was beet red and sweat was soaking into his plaid button up shirt. We were toast. I looked down at my steer with his sleek black coat clipped down to the 1/8 inch (Heck, I was getting to be a pretty good cattle fitter if I do say so myself. That steer was looking sharp.) and was a bit jealous. Here I was with his bristly hair stuck to me like a tar-and-feathered chicken and my long head of hair to boot standing next to that cool clipped steer. I looked down at the clippers whirring in my hand and an idea popped into my head: it was time for a haircut.

I switched my clippers off and yelled over to Trevor. My buddy switched his clippers off so we could talk. He turned to look at me and it hit me just how soggy and hot he looked. Man, he was beat down. I said, "how’s about time we get a haircut? I’m getting pretty shaggy and you look like you could use one too." His curly blonde hair was sticking out of his Hooey hat in all directions. Honestly, I don’t know how he got that hat to stay on his head his hair was so poofy. Trevor yelled back, "that sounds great to me. Let’s hop into my truck and head to the barbershop." I replied, "how’s about we do it right here. I’m so overheated, I’m not even sure I could make it to your truck." Jacob got a glint in his eye and looked down at his clippers in his hand. He hooped and yelled, "hell ya’! But, only one stipulation: I go first!" "Deal," I yelled back. I was so ready to get this mess off my head but he called it fair and square. I pulled my clippers around the back of the clipping shoot as Trevor flipped over a 5-gallon bucket and sat on it. He pulled his hat off as I walked over to him and yelled, "let’s get this show on the road!"

I flipped the switch in my clippers and they roared to life. I then sprayed some oil into the blades and yelled, "ready?!" He nodded his head and his curls bobbed around. I took the clippers to the top of his head and his long locks sliced off of his scalp like butter, slid off his shoulders, and landed by his square toed cowboy boots. He yelled and felt the strip I had just carved out of his dusty, sweaty mop and grinned from ear to ear. I kept mowing of his curls until all that was left on his head was 1/8 of an inch of blonde fuzz. The only proof that he had ever had hair was being ground into the dust under my boots. Trevor felt his head and said, "Dang, that is not short enough." So he went over to the show box and grabbed the finishing clippers we use to get the cows clipped down real short in their ears and anywhere a quieter set of clippers is more handy. He pulled the 1/8 in guard off of them and handed them to me. I plugged them in and clipped Trevors 1/8 inch of hair off of his head. When I was done, he reached up to inspect my work and hollered, "heck ya! I’m free!"

He threw his Hooey baseball cap back oh his head (which was a bit loose) as I pulled my Tractor Supply baseball cap off and sat down on the 5-gallon bucket. He wasted no time on flicking the big clippers on and getting started on my head. As soon as the first chunk of my hair fell off and was caught in the wind of the whirring fan, I couldn’t help but laugh and yell, "hell ya!" I was finally getting this mop chopped down to size! In a matter of minutes, the blades had done their job and I was just as hairless as my steer. But, my buddy wasn’t done and we both knew it. He grabbed the little clippers and proceeded to shave me down. Just like Trevor, the only proof of my healthy head of hair was being stomped into the dirt by a big of’ pair of cowboy boots. He finished me up and we headed back to our steers to finish our clip jobs before the show.

I can’t tell you how nice it was to be free of that mop of hair. We were both so much cooler and happier to do our jobs. At the show, I couldn’t stop smiling as I paraded my steer around the ring thinking about our matching haircuts. My steer ended up getting second place after Trevors.

We were so happy and full of the the world that that evening after the show, we both decided to give the bucking bulls a shot. We threw on our chaps and headed over to the arena. The guys there were the tough leatherneck cowboys that drank and chewed and cussed somethin’ fierce. But, when we showed up, you could see them eyeing our haircuts (short hair...especially shaved heads...is pretty rare for cowboys since they don’t really give a rip what they look like). But, they let us ride and we showed them what was up. I got the first place belt buckle and Trevor ended up getting second. I was so proud of that danged buckle. But, after the bull ridin’, all of those tough cowboys decided they needed a haircut like mine and Trevors. They asked if we knew anyone that could give them one. We just smiled and invited them back to our 5-gallon bucket.

That night, we ended up shearing 15 more heads. It was getting to be quite the operation with all of those cowboys. Jacob and I were glad to oblige though and sent the men off on their merry way with a pep in their step and some loose fitting cowboy hats.

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