April 1, 2019

The past couple of months have been filled with lots of bull for me. No brag, just fact! I recently helped a man who I know that is about as close to being a real cowboy as anyone I have ever met. His name is Jim Murff who has lived most of his life around the Mountain Home, Texas area.

My cowboy friend, Murff is 75 and wanted to share some of his lifelong and unique memories in a book for his family and friends. I happened to catch him on the phone at a moment when he was down, wondering if his story would ever be printed. Never seeing Murff so low in the 30 years I have known him, I offered to help him get his book printed. Over many months I helped him organize his thoughts, and we got the book printed! For me, it was a vital mission completed!

Upon completion of the book, Murff was very anxious to meet with me at my ranch. I felt he was up to something. Murff knows I love to collect most old things and he’s always got his eyes open for me on his Texas back road trips. He pulled up at my ranch gate in his Dooley pickup with his 30-foot gooseneck aluminum trailer. I was glad to see him as I wondered why he brought his trailer. He must have seen the expression on my face, and he told me “there’s something I want to give you.” I peeked into the trailer saw a beautiful young, black and brown spotted Texas Longhorn bull with some of the flattest horns I have seen in a long time. I was speechless and most thankful for this gift that will probably outlive both of us! We unloaded the bull in my cattle working pens as I found out that the two-year-old bull was pretty rank. He snorted at me, slung snot, put his head down pawed the ground and acted as if he would charge at me. At that moment, I decided the perfect name for my newest goofy friend had to be “Murff.”

As I was getting over the shock of my new bull, the two-legged Murff said, “Don’t go anywhere, I got something else for ya.” He then began pulling boxes of “treasures” out of the truck cab he had found that he thought would catch my fancy, which they did. Once again, I thanked my friend for the many gifts and feeling guilty that my good-hearted gesture of helping him compelled him to feel he needed to give me something. Murff then handed me an envelope and said look inside it and read it. For a moment I wondered if it was a bill for the bull or delivery! Not knowing what to expect, I pulled out the envelope and found an official-looking document from the American Bucking Bull, Inc. Being familiar with horse and cattle registration papers, it then became really clear to me what I was looking at was the paperwork for another new bull! I was shocked to see that Murff gave me a rodeo bucking bull, along with the bull we had just unloaded! The bull’s registered name is “JAKE,” and the document stated Present Owner: Jerry King! Murff then shared with me that the bull is a two-year bucking bull who will be in his first competitive event in April, and all that I had to do was show up. I stood there amazed wondering how in the world did Murff figure out how to give me something that I didn’t have or would have never thought about getting! I was floored, and I look forward to being present at “JAKE’s” first official event. May he win the event’s grand prize of $140,000! He better buck or he will become hamburger meat pretty quick and become part of the North Texas Food Bank’s pantry.

I shared this story with one of my best friends who is an old Texas farm boy, Layne Birdwell. I told Layne that I feel like I’m a real rancher with a rodeo bucking bull, my cattle, wild game animals and the hours I have spent sitting on my tractor. With his West Texas drawl, Layne said: “Jerry you’ve been a rancher for a long time.” Having Layne share with me those words, who has deep roots in Texas was quite the honor. Layne’s words and my dealing with Murff cause me to think about some of my earliest memories with my relatives in South Texas and at my very own ranch and the lessons learned.

In a Texas candidness and dialect, I have taught my kids how to turn bulls into steers and have something left over to eat. Over the years I have learned to know the difference between a pure bull, partial bull and reality. As a good father, I taught my son and daughter to know the difference between shit and Shinola, as I keep a tin can of Shinola on the bar at my ranch to help educate our guest. No one will ever be able to say that my kids don’t know the difference between shit and Shinola! In crusty Texas language, sometimes people have attempted to “piss in my face and convince me it was raining” and that isn’t bull either. And for the past 30 years, to serve as constant reminders, I have kept a large chunk of fool’s gold, a paperweight of bullshit molded into an acrylic disk along with another paperweight my wife made for me 32 years ago that she needle-pointed the words “Trust Me.” These visual reminders have helped me countless times me over the years.

I guess the moral to this B.S. story (B.S- bull story) is that one should always be thankful for our many blessings big or small, gentle or rank and that is no bull.

It’s said that Will Rogers told the following story:

“After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.”

Here is some information on the book that the two-legged Murff wrote, and I had published. Note that I have no financial interest in the financial performance of the book; it was just my kind gesture from the heart to help a friend.

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.