I am familiar with most cowboy lingo and know what the terms mean or describe. Terms like wrangler, the guy who takes care of the horse herd. Jigger Boss, second in command, reports to the cow boss.
Buckaroo, a corruption of the Spanish word Vaquero and a synonym for cowboy,
I recently ran across a new one –– super puncher. A friend of mine sent me a video by a guy named Dale Brisby, and in it he describes a super puncher. Being unfamiliar with the term I decided to watch the video. Dale has written a book called “You Ain’t No Cowboy” and claims he is the go-to guy for all things cowboy.
According to Dale, there is more to being a super puncher than meets the eye. The hierarchy of it all is that there are your basic beginner cowboys and above that are hands and buckaroos.
Next up are top hands. Off that there are fingers such as packers and ranch managers. Next are punchers and at the very top are super punchers.
You can be a cowboy without being a super puncher, but you can’t be a super puncher without being a cowboy, got it? To be a super puncher there is a strict regime that must be adhered to.
Stove pipe boots, pants tucked in and a top button on your shirt. Gotta have it. Have three knives on your person at all times and your demeanor is critical. You must talk punchy at all times.
When someone asks what have you been up to, your response should be something like punchin’ doggies, ridin’ circles, brandin’ mavericks, chasin’ skinny cows or something like that and say it real punchy. Answer like you are annoyed and with a certain amount of disrespect.
It is critical to take a picture of your horse saddled at 5 a.m, time stamped and posted on social media so everyone knows you are a super puncher ready for action. When someone asks you what time it is, you put your phone away, pull out your pocket watch and tell them “cowpunchin’ time” or something sarcastic like that.
Always have a horn knot tied in your rope even if you don’t tie on because this shows you fear no danger. Danger is your middle name.
You should have all the necessary tools, fencing pliers hanging off your saddle gives the impression you are prepared. Let me be clear; you do not ever fence; you have too much invested in leather to ever do that.
If fencing is required, you hand the tool to someone else. If any of this reminds you of someone, it’s not coincidental. A super puncher never gets off his horse, even if you lose your hat.
Ride over to the hat and hang off the side of your horse to pick it up. Do not dismount under any circumstances.
At all times, you should be entered in a ranch saddle bronc event somewhere so you can talk about it. Pay attention Riley Warnock, you do not have to actually get on one, you can turn out, but when someone asks you what you are doing, you can talk about the next rodeo in which you are entered.
Watch Lonesome Dove regularly so you can talk like Woodrow and Gus, old son. You might have “Tombstone” down but “Lonesome Dove” is the Bible.
There is a lot more to it, and for aspiring super punchers, I recommend watching the video on YouTube. I had no idea the intricacies that are involved. Remember, image is everything, substance is minor.
Note: In lieu of tucking your pants into your boots, you can fold a two inch cuff into your wranglers like Brady Black and Jason Stewart do. I do it on new wranglers till they shrink up. For Brady this has been a real chic magnet.
Barrie Qualle is a Wallowa County-based cowboy and author.