Each fall as I pack up and head to...

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 3, 2008

Each fall as I pack up and head to California for the fall sale season, I always get lots of comments about feeling sorry for me having to be in California. What those people don’t know is that the California they are thinking of is not the real California. The real California is not the wacked out city by the bay with panhandlers and where every night is Halloween.

The real California is not the phony glitzy drugged-up Los Angeles area where crime seems to be the norm with highspeed car chases broadcast on cable TV. It’s not the downtown streets of Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno or San Jose where there is such a jumble of languages that you think you are in a different country. What is the real California? Let me tell you what I think the real California is. The real California is a land so fertile that it will grow nearly anything you want to put in the ground.

It is the San Joaquin Valley. It is the Salinas Valley. It is the beautiful Napa and Sonoma valleys. It is the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is the north coast’s redwood forests. It is the wide open, and often dry, Carissa Plains. It is the awesome Big Sur country. It is snowcapped Mount Shasta. And in all of these places, it’s the ranches and farms, the vineyards, the hay fields, the strawberry fields, the garlic fields, the rice fields, the almond groves, and all of the countless other agricultural products that this great state produces. This is the California that I get the opportunity to see and appreciate.

The real California that I get to be involved with includes the livestock and agricultural people, and events such as the Red Bluff Bull Sale, Rick Machado’s Horse Sale, the Famoso Bull Sale, the special sales at auction markets such as Shasta Livestock, Cattlemen’s Livestock Market, Western Stockman’s Market, Turlock Livestock Auction and all of the other markets where the free market system plays out each week with genuine real people on the seats visiting about everyday occurrences, the market, the weather and their families. The real California is the many purebred cattle and horse sales that I get to attend where you rub shoulders with everyday cowboys and some of the state’s most successful businessmen, all with a common interest, livestock.

The real California is the Oakdale 10 Steer Team Roping and the Oakdale Rodeo, the West’s first outdoor rodeo. It is the Salinas Rodeo. It is the California State Fair Junior Sale where young people sell the steers, hogs, chickens and other livestock they have cared for and in many cases, developed a strong attachment to. It is a Santa Maria-style barbeque. It’s lunch on the patio at Brad’s in Pismo Beach. It’s the Bishop Mule Days and it’s every little town up and down the state where real life takes place every day and hard satisfying work is the order of the day. The real California is not much different from any other rural area of our country. It is the hard-working men and women that raise and work the cattle, that put long hours in the fields on a tractor, that often live from operating loan to operating loan because they love the lifestyle, the independence, and the satisfaction of doing a job well. That’s the real California. So the next time you come to California, look for my California and enjoy. — JERRY YORK