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March 18, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Muse or Dunderhead? Cattle with footballs

All rights reserved. no permissions granted. Copyrighted

It’s show time, Baby. (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo auction. Sheep and Goat committee) ©

Saddle up, you Muses and Dunderheads. Run, ride, or hide: Cattle is to Football as Auction Proceeds is to      ?

Running with animals, not scissors, around the local football stadium complex. (Four legs so much sturdier than two when running towards a goal.)

The Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show’s Jr Market Auction is over.

All the kids who spent a whole year raising their livestock projects are cutting out with more self-confidence and some money in their pockets.

Grand Champions earn top dollar.

This year’s Grand Champion Lamb sold for $260,000.00 (World record) with the Grand Champion Steer earning $400,000.00. (2002 World record price was $600,000.01).

Companies, consortiums, and groups like the “Champagne Cowgirls” buy these animals.

It’s all about helping kids and educational scholarships. So they pony up.

.Cowboys in a saloon.Movie lobby card. 1921."Deuce of Spades".(Unknown illustrator/Beinecke.lib.Yale/USPD.

Texting a bid? What are you gonna do with a prize-winning flop-eared bunny? Oh, Easter basket.(1921Yale/USPD/

The higher the auction prices, the better for all. 

Years ago, the Rodeo realized the big prize winners were sucking up all the auction money and many kids who showed great animals got little as a result.

They started offering a guaranteed earning limit for Grand Champions, category prize winners, and all “place” winners. Any money above the designated limit earned by any animal at auction goes into a community fund pool.

Once all the guarantees’ costs are covered, any extra money is divided up as bonuses to the kid exhibitors. (Read more here)

Example. Grand Champion Steer will earn between $75,000.00 to $85,000.00 (last figure includes bonus) depending on total animal sales. A lower “placed” steer will earn between $2,250.00 – $15,000.00 (including bonus) depending on all animal auctions’ totals.

This was done when it became obvious some families had more money to purchase better quality animals to start with (increasing their chances to win), and could provide premium care as the animals were raised.

A kid lucky enough to raise a big money animal gets plenty:

  • Bragging rights.
  • Big chunk of money for college
  • And the good feeling of supporting their community by helping other kids get money for their education, too. (And yes, the Rodeo does keep up with the kids and their money.)
1899 theatrical poster./Julia Maralowe:Strobridge Lithograph Co./USPD:

What? Just let me get my boots. No, hat. Hat hair is so out of style at football games. (1899 Marlowe/USPD/

Now, this is all thinking on the hoof, but what if…

If that “assist others and create a fund to help” concept stuck in that facility and other stadium users did the same?

Like football teams.

The local football team is shuffling players. Adding ones with mind-boggling contracts.

Even players with a history of injuries or not much of a record are signing for more than three million (plus bonuses) for a two-year contract. (And this is a low dollar number compared to others.)

Football players are sensible, right?

They went to college…some at least.

They are always involved with communities and charities. Especially charities with their names on them.

So football players would easily see the benefits.

The NFL could kick off a rodeo-like program of Player Guarantees with any additional money a franchise is willing to pay for a certain player above that ceiling going into a “Special Do Good Community Pool”.

The “Special Do Good Community Pool” could fund worthy community organizations like Habitat for Humanity, or homeless shelters like Star of Hope, or even Meals on Wheels.

Or even better, the NFL, teams, and players could keep the money all among themselves. (Wait! We can convince them that wouldn’t be selfish. Keep reading.)

Vintage football player.1907. Lib.of Congress:USPD.

It’s only a game or is it? Intriguing title there.
(1907. LoC/USPD/

Establish a fund that would unselfishly benefit all players. (And possibly the rest of us, too.)

  • How about a NFL community pool funding brain injury research and concussion treatment? (Just image what a couple of million dollars coming in yearly could do for that.)
  • Or build a facility offering anger management treatment. (Allowing funds to be used for legal defense in cases of domestic violence or child abuse would not be appropriate. But that just may be me.)
  • Maybe also offer expert instruction in driver’s education or legal gun ownership/safety/use. (So many players seemed to have missed learning about those. They must have been busy studying school work. Understandable. There is just so much time available.)
  • Possibly fund frequent mandatory instructional retreats for players about making budgets (and living on them), options for wise investments, planning for life after football, or learning to live with injuries.
Two football teams face off. Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans./Jan1,2012/Ed Schipul.Flickr/

These guys got rodeo. (Formerly Houston’s “Luv ya blue” Oilers/Titans vs Houston Texans/Schipul/

Football is all about teamwork.

There is no “I” in team.

Believing that, the players will charge the line to sign on for such a beneficial initiative.

Giving up a bit of their incredible incomes to help their own, just like the young rodeo exhibitors. Admirable.

 All for one and one for all!

I might pay to see that rodeo.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

All rights reserved. Copyrighted. No permissions granted. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Lamb and Goat committee)

“They do too like you. Now don’t be shy. Show them that winning smile.” (Another cute couple at the Lamb and Goat auction of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo)©





  1. shoreacres / Mar 18 2015 12:37 pm

    Now, this is some creative thinking. To be frank, I suspect the players would be more in favor of your proposal than the owners. There are a lot of players who already are involved in charity functions, etc, and their involvement seems to be rooted in real conviction. Granted, there are owners who are fine individuals, but the owners-as-a-group might be a hard nut to crack.

    In any event. kudos to the kids (both two and four-legged) and fingers crossed for the footballers.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 18 2015 1:04 pm

      No way the owners or NFL would be approve..then there’s the player’s agents. All about the money. (and now the owners and NFL want more tax payer money to “update” Reliant/or what-ever-they-call-it these days) Considering the number and severity of injuries players and their families must be concerned that the “gladiators” are taking big risks for their owners who seem to show little concern except for winning. Just been watching all the player “purchases” for the Texans…guess fans’ tickets will be going up every year to support it all.
      (A side note: rain…again…) Thanks for riding over with a comment


  2. easyweimaraner / Mar 18 2015 12:53 pm

    Me too :o) I was at such a show once (many moons ago) with a duck I raised. Sadly my prize was seized by my gampy… a gift basket with booze and cigars :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 18 2015 1:10 pm

      The best part of the rodeo is wandering through all the kid raised livestock. Some of the cattle seem to love their curls and giant hair dryer blowouts. Who knew there were so many types of bunnies and guineas? Bet those animals think they the gift baskets are for them, too. Thanks for sending a comment waddling this way


  3. Paul / Mar 18 2015 1:33 pm

    Careful Phil – you could be called un- American for your thoughts. Ha! Especially in Texas – bastion of the Republicans. You do realize that taking the winnings of the top few exhibitors and spreading it to the lower exhibitors to maintain interest and healthy new exhibitor sign ups – is socialism? After all the top guys won and rightfully own their winnings, didn’t they? If the others want to win, they should try harder. Surprise, it doesn’t work that way! The winners won because they had the money and/or organization/skills available to start from an advanced position – they did not win on their efforts solely. And so is capitalism – exactly – to keep it healthy wealth should be shared because it is not fair from the get go. Things like mandatory profit sharing in companies and/or free health care. Things like that level the playing field and bring out the best in as many as possible. Mandatory sharing maximizes productivity (by actualizing resources that would otherwise remain dormant).

    As a Canadian this is clear to me when looking in at the US – reams of untapped resources due to the unfair distribution of wealth. And even after sharing is done – much like the Rodeo – the winners sill gain more and have incentive to continue. This oversight of wealth distribution that you are naturally encouraging Phil – is exactly the type of oversight that is needed for capitalism and democracies in general to keep them healthy and sustainable.

    Be careful my little mouse, if the establishment cottons onto the fact that your suggestions smack of socialism, you could be blackballed and accused of treason. Tsk, tsk. Making systems the most productive and bringing out the best in people is considered anti-American you know, because it reduces the wealth of the powerful and already wealthy.

    I hope your suggestions bear fruit and we welcome thoughtful Americans here in Canada. ha! Just kidding.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 18 2015 3:14 pm

      HA! I knew you’d take the bait.
      Did you know that the rodeo works very hard to keep tickets affordable for families ($12-18.00) if you buy direct from the rodeo not scalpers? The show is run by a huge unpaid army volunteers even though it’s grown so large and last 3 weeks. They raise money for local schools as well as scholarships. It used to be the calf scramble calves were given to the kids who managed to grab them (and they would take them home to raise and bring them back for the next year’s show. Then there were so many kids left out without calves, so FFA and 4H kids bought calves.
      My sister-in-law used to raise show special calves for sale to FFA and 4H. Shortly it became real obvious those with money or families in the farming industry had an edge. They moved quickly to level the playing field as much as possible. These calves also have to go through local livestock shows before getting invited to enter this big one.
      Actually the Rodeo itself buys all the animals once judging is done. Kids know going in what their calf will be purchased for – just like a shoe store: pretty shoes cost more. Prize winner cost more. (the price schedule is in that link). The Rodeo itself offers the animals at auction to buyers who know the money goes directly for education/scholarships/reading programs for local elementary schools. Profit from a product the Rodeo owns. Rodeo, not existing for profit, does return bonus money to kids once their cost of animal purchases is covered.
      Rodeo guys realized a while back that everyone wanted the bragging rights of saying they bought a grand champion animal – so people started pooling their money in groups – as a result there wasn’t much left for the other winners in ribbon winners and all livestock types/breed categories (list of all the winning “places” given also in that link…lots of winners). People wanted that picture with the grand champion steer/animal in their office – it’s a bit community spirit thing here.
      They try to be fair to the kids. Hard lesson to learn is that there are winners and losers. A good lesson is that people try to be fair. And unlike football players, kids learn to take their share for their hard work (a set amount they already know coming in – and it’s not a miserly sum….and there’s all sorts of perks that come with winning including colleges noticing). Winning means something still. Big incentive for kids and for life.
      The football players seem to not be winning more and more in life. (This, post and response was all satire, right…need to clarify that for some new readers. Hardy laughs here…ok a few giggles…)
      The NFL and wealthy owners are demanding more and more wins at any cost. Most players are easily tossed aside and replaced. Recently, it was revealed “dirty tricks” plays were being encouraged. The refs don’t see it all. So much pressure to win. Maybe the league should have to have money set aside for taking care of their players who make all that money for the owners/league? Seems fair…there’s a lot of profit for owners and NFL – especially since local tax payers/cities fund the stadiums/much of the “side events” going on around the game? And the ticket prices, really?
      Time the NFL/owners started paying their own bills – and those of their players who earn the league all that money. (Hmmm taking care of obligations to employees is not exactly free healthcare as they pay their own way…Taking responsibility for yourself/own behaviors and not expecting other to do it… that socialism? toss that ball over there and we’ll check the goal…giggles)
      All the fun is taken out of football. Parents start training kids to be football stars at age 5.
      The universities have become minor league training camps.(If they really cared about players, the NFL would insist all their players graduate from a real university of college with a real degree – and then go to a year of NFL minor league training. Give these guys time to mature and gain appropriate playing skills and learn to handle the fame of NFL player?)
      It’s a game. Fun. But so often not anymore.
      Yep, these suggestions could be a game changer…(Now shall we talk of my salary level when being hired to administrate the program and manage the Twitter/media PR…I’m thinking it’s hazardous occupation so 4 million for 2 year contract(with bonus percentage of NFL ticket sales)….and I work on computer from my new home in Banff, right?)
      Cheers Paul – You scored some points – thanks for playing along!


      • Paul / Mar 18 2015 7:50 pm

        Bwahahaha! **Bows to your deviousness**. Banff would welcome one of your foresight as one of its citizens, Phil. I notice that to make it fair, the rodeo took ownership of the animals and then redistributed the wealth in a fair manner – that is outright socialism m’lady.

        That aside, my experience with Texans (at least those involved in farming and agriculture) is that they are dedicated to the land and family. I would expect no less of such a group than for them to be fair as they live by sharing (resources, efforts, markets, etc). As twisted as this may seem, the very values of those upon whom the country was built, are the values that are now considered treasonous – mandatory sharing and helping. This may very well be accepted at the rodeo level Phil, because of the nature of the those who are running and funding it.

        That said, transferring those principles to professional sports or the mainstream is another matter. I wish you the best of luck, may the force be with you. Ha! Banff would still welcome you – we are like the Marines – always looking for a few good people (cats, dogs and lizards too 😀 )


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 19 2015 12:03 am

          Banff isn’t far from rodeos (and the skiing is great with hiking in summer)
          Voluntary sharing out of the goodness of your heart is one thing being forced is another. Just to clarify, the kids voluntarily sold at market value (established ahead well of time) and took their bows with their money. The Rodeo purchases animals at an agreed upon market price, pays the kids, then resells the product…that is capitalism, I guess.
          They pay all their bills. Then look at what’s left. They have the option of giving kids a bonus or putting it into the larger scholarship pool. Free choice. Kids not expecting or promised anything. That’s charity, I think. No matter what it’s called, seems the auction bids may have gone down for the steers, but the other livestock are having larger bids. So it’s a good thing.
          I think you are right about those who farm and ranch. These tend to help their neighbors in need – someday the reverse might be needed. People west of the Mississippi tend to be different about helping but not enabling those bothering to put forth any efforts. If you didn’t work, you didn’t survive in days not so long ago. A great deal of that attitude still exists in many places…probably for the better.
          Maybe someday kindness, compassion, and consideration – as well as wanting to do the best job possible just because that’s just the thing to do and it makes you feel good – maybe humans will grow into that – until then, there’s rodeo….
          Not sure where the “treasonous” is…it’s pretty free to think as you want here – and there, too.(giggles) What fun comes from all the philosophical conflicts (should people be told what to do and mandated, or allowed free will by people and hope they will step up and take responsibility – iffy as humans are flawed and so many selfish/unmotivated yet demanding…probably gets into religious roots/backgrounds? Did you know there are/have been more variations and types of churches/religions in the US than any other country. Guess that figures. People will argue about anything) – Life would be dull and drab if we all were alike..and someone would make a power grab…people being flawed. Of course challenging the NFL to take care of their own might come close? Gotta poke that odd ant bed..they make it so easy.
          Hey – there’s a cross continent train from Banff east, right? I could visit! (Heard it’s a pretty trip – only been on Silverton’s narrow gauge train…RC would be enchanted – and the dogs could just run along side…
          Keep an eye on things up there. Got to get the dogs in training before attempting the trip…a rollie leash out the window could be a problem….Thanks for getting into the chute and riding along – You made it to the bell!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean / Mar 18 2015 1:38 pm

    I like your NFL ideas. Could only improve the sport for the players who are becoming more and more pawned each year. Might make the owners scared at first, but in the long run could only help the image of the sport, and subsequently the bottom line. I put you in charge of making this happen!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 18 2015 2:22 pm

      The NFL and the owners seem to be viewing their players more and more like throw away objects. (and local taxpayes/residents who fund the stadiums and pay for they owners can make more money and pay players more, so they have to charge more for tickets and demand more…vicious cycle?) It’s become a short dangerous occupation (so players demand money in case of injuries).
      But many occupations are dangerous – like pizza delivery here…so will the pay escalation race spread to other businesses? Horrors! I can’t afford a football ticket – if pizza prices go up more…well, there is the weight loss angle. Hmmm. Thanks for punting a comment this way


  5. Kate Crimmins / Mar 18 2015 1:41 pm

    Love your idea. Saw in the news that two more rookie players have quit because of concussions. Obviously life and family were more important to them. What does one do with $40 million? I’d build some cat rescue houses (for real cats) but even that would go through it all. Some athletes do share but may just squander. Allen Iverson (basketball) comes to mind. Very talented but kind of dumb.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 18 2015 2:27 pm

      Being a football player has huge risks, but it’s a choice – other jobs are also dangerous and actually contribute something positive to society ( besides entertainment, laughs, reasons to party…although those are worth a lot…). Seriously, it just seems like the football industry should be funding rehab and medical treatment for their own…and they could afford to do so. Many players do really become part of the community and do good work…then there’s the out of control ones. Holding back some of their money might actually be a kindness. Thanks for running down this field

      Liked by 1 person

  6. marthaschaefer / Mar 18 2015 4:10 pm

    Interesting concept that could/should be applied to many other areas of life/sport/business. Good one Phil!

    I raised 4-H sheep as a child. If you were really lucky you got a blue ribbon and a trophy!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 18 2015 4:31 pm

      Business/companies used feel responsibility for their employee and take care of them as valuable resources.Organizations should all pay their own bills for issues they cause? Sounds reasonable.
      For kids, sometimes simple is plenty good enough even at the smaller shows. (I think all these kid exhibitors first have to win at the local livestock shows across the state to get an invitation to show at this big one.) It’s quite a party – not a bad way for exhibit kids to spend a spring break.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. PiedType / Mar 19 2015 1:24 am

    Being a city girl, I had no idea about the money being spread around among the young exhibitors. Great idea. Also love your NFL idea. Many players already do a lot in their communities, which I applaud. But the league and owners, especially, need to do something to educate those players in the ways you suggest. They are, quite literally, invested in those players. They need to take care of them both on and off the field. Not to mention the increasingly tarnished public image that needs repair.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 19 2015 2:53 pm

      As you say, they invest in players and should bear some responsibility for their employees – especially since they are hiring younger and younger ones. It might mean less entertaining news headlines, but we could really all live with that.
      The rodeo started back in the 50’s to keep western traditions alive, to encourage better livestock, and encourage/reward young farmers and ranchers. Competitions grew to include art, fine wines, and miniature cattle lead by some serious little 4-6 yr olds (now they are really cute – must find some pix) A grand 3 week party run totally by volunteers. Even the rain won’t stop the fun. Thanks for herding over a comment


  8. EllaDee / Mar 20 2015 8:22 pm

    This comes to mind…
    “… Keep movin’, movin’, movin’
    Though they’re disapprovin’
    Keep them dogies movin’
    Don’t try to understand ’em
    Just rope, and throw, and brand ’em
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide.
    My heart’s calculatin’…”

    Back in the day in Australia, and similarly I guess in the US, even “elite” football players had jobs often by arrangement with the teams/clubs. It kept things real, to an extent… there’s always some risk whenever people are put on a pedestal. But sport became business and about people-entities who are making even more money from these sports and athletes, who need to respond effectively to a duty of care, rather than being concerned only with the impact on their reputation-profit. Make the money that so evidently abounds work equitably for all short and long term rather than conveniently commodifying the product and particpants.
    Big Food. Big Pharma. Big Sport. Too much Big 😦


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 20 2015 8:45 pm

      Nothing like that ole “Rawhide” theme song.(It does get a lot of play this time of year)
      You are right about the “Too much Big”. Our Olympic hopefuls work flexible part-time in places like Lowe’s/Walmart. They desperately need the money for travel and training and to live…yet these professional football players have contracts worth millions….perhaps the NFL/NBA/baseball/hockey/soccer leagues/businesses should chip in money for the US Olympic athletes – sports guys helping sports guys representing the nation? Now that’s a big idea…probably too big to fly though.
      Thanks for herding some big ideas to this field.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kourtney Heintz / Mar 24 2015 6:19 pm

    Sounds like a really cool auction system that benefits all the people who work so hard to provide livestock. It’s an interesting idea to apply it to the NFL.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 24 2015 9:58 pm

      Rodeo auctions are win-win. Kids earn and learn.The NFL high dollar contracts are mind boggling. Players do risk, but it is their choice to do so. Just seems like the “company”/NFL organization could use some of their own profit to benefit their own instead of requiring others to do so.
      (Loved your book promo write up – must check for that cover.) Thanks for tossing in a comment


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