There’s a fad occurring in the western world that I’d like to encourage. Ranch people are naming their kids rodeo-inspired words. I’m not talking about names like Freckles, Ote, Tibbs Ty, Tuff, Trevor, Tomkins, Luke, Lane, Beaver, Monty, Mahan, Shoulders, Charmayne, Ace, Jake or Walt. Although all of these are excellent names. (My personal favorite is Shoulders. With a name like Shoulders the kid is already half way to winning the world in steer wrestling.)
What I’m referring to is the use of nouns for names. What inspired this column was a Christmas card I got from my good friend Jimmy who named his daughter Dally. From her photo I can tell she’s as beautiful as her name. It’s got a good ring to it, don’t you think? And if Dally decides to become a rodeo star, and she’s already on her way, can’t you see what an advantage it will be at the pay window? There won’t be a rope, saddle, boot, or hat company that won’t be offering Dally big bucks to promote their products.
I’ve met a couple youngsters recently with the first name “Cinch” and I can see the dollar signs roll like the wheels on a slot machine in the eyes of their parents. This is great strategic thinking and I can see Cinch Jeans throwing dollars at their namesakes in the future. Of course, this would also hold true for any kids name Levi. But you have to pick the right company, after all, my name is Lee and I’ve never had the jeans company of the same name offer me a multimillion dollar endorsement deal. Or even a free pair of pants, for that matter.
I’ve also heard of kids being named Buck, Rope, Riggin and Sorrel. Isn’t Sorrel a pretty name for a gal? I personally know a Bronc and a Bull, although I’ve yet to meet a Bodacious. I think Bull is the perfect name for a bouncy twelve pound baby boy who looks like he’d already improve the offensive line for Cleveland when he learns to walk. Especially if he has CRL’s. (Charging rhino legs.) But while Bull is a good name for a boy, under no circumstances should a young girl be named Cow. Years ago I worked for a livestock publication who had a Patty on the staff and she chose Cow Patty as her byline, thinking it was clever. I never saw her name on another story.
While I like the name Rope, or even Wope which was the nickname of the great rodeo star Dean Oliver, I absolutely adore the name Reata. I think it’s the prettiest name I’ve heard recently and it doesn’t seem to have held Buck Brannaman’s daughter back any as Reata Brannaman was the youngest professor at Montana State in their history. She may have been the youngest person in her class but Reata, being the daughter of the one and only Horse Whisperer, certainly has a doctorate in Horse. I also like the names Calgary and Cheyenne, but not Pendleton. That sounds too hoity-toity.
For the life of me I’ve never understood why an Angus breeder didn’t name their child Angus if it was a boy, or Aberdeen if it was a girl. I love the name Angus and Galloway is also an acceptable name, although Belted Galloway is not. My accountant is named Galloway and I certainly hope he wasn’t belted when he did my taxes. Breed names like Dexter, Devon, Brangus, Brahma and even Charolais might be good names if you happen to breed those kind of cattle, but I don’t care for Pinzgauer or Waygu as first names.
We must be careful with this trend that we don’t go too far and start naming our kids after diseases and other cattle related nouns. For example, while Bruce is a good name I really don’t care for Brucellosis as a first name. Corpus Luteum isn’t good either and neither are names like Warbles, Rump, Burdizzo, Coccidiosis, Freemartin, Afterbirth, Bangs, Butt, Grub, Lepto, Creep, Dewlap, LumpJaw, Ringworm or Rhinotracheitis.
Believe me, I have deep personal knowledge of how something as simple as a name can make or break you. If my name was anything other than Leland Pitts I’d already be as rich and famous as Alice Addertongue, which was Benjamin Franklin’s pen name.