"I don't look like I know much about disco dancing, but I'm really quite good at it."
Jared inspects the famous Ficklin physique.
Being broke, Jared sticks to utilitarian goods.
Jared auditions for the Texas Ranch House.
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A self-described skateboarding, rock 'n' roll-playing computer geek, Jared is a descendant of Texan Benjamin Ficklin, a charismatic prankster who co-founded the Pony Express in 1860. Like his forebear, Jared is adventurous and a non-conformist at heart who is equally at home playing punk rock on his guitar with his twin brother on stage in Austin as he is creating Flash designs for the Web. Jared saw the TEXAS RANCH HOUSE experience as something that could turn him into a real Texan who would have made Ben Ficklin proud.
"We met the ranch family and basically they don't look like they know much about ranching. But, then again, I don't look like I know much about disco dancing, but I'm really quite good at it."
The cowboy is an essential member of the ranch operation but considered a day laborer. Since the end of the Civil War, young men all over the country have been unemployed and are therefore willing to take on unglamorous, hard work. A cowhand is free to get up and go when he pleases. He is the consummate individual.
Jared works from dawn till dusk, seven days a week unless otherwise directed. On many ranches, cowboys were allowed only two days off: Christmas and the Fourth of July. His duties may differ each day, but generally include cow work and repairs to buildings, wagons, saddles, and other tack gear. Cowhands often spend the entire day in the saddle, but are also expected to help with ranch maintenance and other work. Jared may be asked to look after the larger animals, such as goats and pigs.
While working the open range, Jared is required to go on "cowhunts." Once he and his fellow cowboys find cattle, they must herd them back to a home range or an area where they can be tallied and either branded or tail-bobbed and in some cases castrated. Jared and the cowboys must also patrol the boundaries of the ranch for rustlers and other dangers. On the trail, days are longer, and at night the cowboys must take turns "night herding" -- watching over the cattle in two-hour shifts. Jared will also be assigned to a specific position on the herd as he drives it during the day. When cattle are well strung out they walk much better and are more readily handled.
A cowboy's horse is his best friend, and the welfare of his "remuda" -- the three horses that a cowboy rotates riding so as not to overuse any -- comes before his own personal comfort. He must watch that their backs and feet don't get sore or injured and keep an eye out for sores and bites. He should be able to correct and control his horse, but abusiveness will never be tolerated.
All ranch hands live in the bunkhouse. They are expected to keep their bunk area clean, airing out their mat and rolling it neatly, and keeping their personal possessions in order and out of the way of others. Respect for superiors and women is the hallmark of a well-mannered cowboy. Mr. Cooke expects and demands that the cowboys show deference and courtesy to himself and to his family.
Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and Wall to Wall Television.
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