Saturday, January 23, 2016

We Do Have An Official Texas State Bison Herd!

Charles Goodnight moved to Texas in 1846, became a cowboy in 1856, and served with the local militia fighting Comanche Raiders. In 1857, he joined the Texas Rangers. In 1870, Goodnight married Mary Ann (Molly) Dyer, a teacher from Weatherford. Charles founded the Panhandle Stockman’s Association, and he and Mary worked hard to preserve their herd of American Bison on their JR Ranch. As a matter of interest, at the age of 91, by then a widower, Charles married Connie Goodnight (no relation); Connie became Connie Goodnight Goodnight. Lonesome Dove movie character Woodrow F. Call was based on Charles Goodnight’s life. According to the March 2011 article in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine on the Caprock Canyons State Park bison herd (American Bison), in 1994 the state was considering taking over the last remnants of Charles Goodnight’s wild bison herd. The problem was the JR Ranch did not know where the herd was located. A plane was used to scout for them and spotted them, but the herd thundered off. In 1996, the ranch donated the herd to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Since that time the 79 member herd has been moved to the state park and is undergoing dramatic changes. A breeding project has been undertaken to introduce more genetic diversity to the herd and ensure its survival. The bison now have 700 park acres to roam. As time and money allows, the territory will be expanded to cover more of the Caprock Canyons State Park, a territory that once belonged to the JA Ranch. This may be the last genetically pure bison herd in the U.S. The American Bison is only distantly related to the American Buffalo.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Let’s Play Washers! The Perfect Home or Beach Game!!

Washer tournaments are becoming more popular at festivals across the state! In fact, the January 15-16 YAGA’s Annual Chili Quest & Beer Fest in Galveston features not only over 100 craft beers, but also a Washer Tournament – washers and beer go together!! So let’s learn how to play! To set up your own washer course at home or at the beach, paint four washers (2 3/8 inch in diameter) one color; paint four more another color. Remove the contents, paper and ends from two 10 ounce Rotel tomato cans. Clean the cans. Pace off 20-21 feet and poke a screwdriver to mark each end of the washer course. Clean a two foot area round the screwdrivers and gently slop the space down to the center. Bury the cup with the lip at ground level. When standing at each cup you should be able to see the opposite cup. Play with two teams of one, or two teams of two. When playing with four people, place the two best players from each team at the same cup, and their partners at the opposite cup. Fight over which team throws first. Thereafter, the winning thrower’s team throws first. There is a special throwing technique but I can’t explain it in writing. See South Padre Island beach images below.

Beginning Throw - R Arm Will Go Back From Here

Follow Through - Open Fingers and Let Washer Go

For scoring purposes, I will assume the washers are red and green. You will need a measuring device that is accurate to the millimeter! The eight washers are thrown. A red washer is closest to the cup or in the cup. Score only those red washers that are closer to the cup than the closest of the green washers. Score 3 points for each washer in the cup. Score 2 points for lippers (washers touching the edge of the cup). Score one point for each of the other qualifying red washers. If a red washer is in the cup and a green washer lands on top of it, green wins and receives 3 points for the green washer AND 3 points for the red washer. 

Scoring is Serious Business!