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Children's book penned by Cuero rancher spins amusing tale on four wheels

By by aprill brandon/abrandon@vicad.com
Oct. 4, 2010 at 5:04 a.m.
Updated Oct. 6, 2010 at 5:06 a.m.

Stayton Weldon

EXCERPTFrom "Whitey on the Ranch" by Stayton Weldon -

"The cattle on my ranch are in pretty good shape. The rest of Somewhat Brilliant's (notice the downgrade of gray matter) ranch is a "Wannabe." There are "wannabe" fences, "wannabe" corrals, "wannabe" barns, "wannabe" watering holes; the horses are fine (I could tell some stories about the horses, but someday they might tell their own story). When I saw the cattle trailer, I knew immediately that it "wannabe" laid to eternal rest.

When we first started traveling through the ranch, Somewhat Brilliant carried a little pair of clippers in my purses. If a little twig of any kind might pose a danger to my beauty, he would get out and cut it off. This went on for the first 20,000 miles, and then we went to bigger clippers to cut only the attacking limbs. At 30,000, we went with the big machete and cut only limbs that might break my windshield. At 40,000 miles, we moved on to the chainsaw so as to blaze new trails through the ranch. At 50,000 miles, the chainsaw broke, and I, with my big bumper in front, was used to explore places on the ranch that snakes had to crawl out of backwards."

It's not easy being a rancher. It's even more difficult being a rancher's truck. Oh, the stories they could tell....

Well, thanks to long-time Cuero rancher Stayton Weldon, at least one truck did get to tell his story. After years of making up stories to tell his grandchildren, Weldon finally wrote down those stories, which was turned into the children's book, "Whitey on the Ranch." Told from the truck's point of view, who was nicknamed Whitey (which "should immediately have shown me the intelligence and mind-set of my owner," as Whitey puts it), the book is based on Weldon's real-life experiences with his truck over the years.

"I was always telling stories, and people kept telling me I needed to write them down. Well, one day I was riding around in my truck with nothing to do, and so I started taking notes," he said. "Originally, I was just compiling them for my grandchildren, but people kept encouraging me to publish them."

Published by AuthorHouse earlier this year, the book is currently available at Northside Ranch Pet & Garden Center in Victoria, and the DeWitt County Co-op and Ful-O-Pep Feeds in Cuero.

A fourth-generation rancher on both sides of his family, Weldon said ranching runs deep in his blood. Although he received an elementary education degree from Texas A&I University, by 1982, he was ranching full time, and since then, has worked toward preserving the rancher's way of life as the regional director for R-Calf USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for the U.S. cattle producer, according to a news release.

And as for Whitey, well, the he's still chugging along on Weldon's ranch as well.

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