The term is used a lot in today’s society. So much so, that one could even say its usage is, well…overkill.  I have read about many examples of “overkill” and have even participated in a few through the years.
I once observed a farmer hook his 180 HP tractor onto a five-foot brush cutter to mow out some waterways. It worked so good that he proceeded to clear some underbrush in the edge of a wooded area.  Feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof, he began to eye about an acre of six-inch saplings that really needed to be cleared out. If the brush cutter had been built strong enough to cut large trees, he could have cleared the entire woods of mature trees. It wasn’t, but he had plenty of power.
And, of course, everyone knows about the battle of the Alamo.  General Santa Anna laid siege on the tiny Texas Mission with a force of 5,000 soldiers.  The 150 Americans inside the walls never stood a chance, but they held out for over a week until finally running out of ammunition and eventually fought the Mexican Army in hand-to-hand combat using their rifles as clubs. That was definitely overkill.
Then there was the time my wife was faced with going up against a half-dozen of the most skilled lawyers in the area over a minor dispute. The lawyers were doomed before ever uttering a word in one of best examples of overkill I’ve ever witnessed.
But the most recent example came last week here on the farm. In retrospect, it is my fault for building up the reputation of the red bull so much that the cowboys didn’t want to take any chances.  I had warned them about his temperament as the meanest bull I’d  ever owned and embellished his running ability to the point that I’m sure they equated his speed to that of “Big Brown,” the recent Kentucky Derby winner.  So, when the appointed day arrived for his capture, the following caravan showed up:  Six cowboys, seven horses (I can only assume they thought they might need a substitute horse to fill in for one that would be maimed or, at least, exhausted), two catch-dogs, five pick-up trucks, four goose-neck stock trailers and six spectators that the neighbor and I had sold tickets to representing this early-morning event as the “Best of the Rest Bull Roping, Wild Animal Capture and Cowboy Poetry Convention.”
Anticipation heightened as the cowboys unloaded their horses, saddled up, and limbered up the horses in the early morning foggy mist.  The only ones that were obviously nervous, besides me and the neighbor land owner, were the catch-dogs that couldn’t understand why they were being kept in the trailer.  Chad had said he wanted to make one attempt through the herd of cattle before “releasing the hounds.”
Slow and easy was the theme as four of the cowboys eased into the herd from the west side while the other two rode up the creek bank from the east.  The entire herd started south when the red bull and one white cow split off from the group and loped back east.  
In the blink of an eye they all disappeared behind a grove of trees. I heard one bawl from the bull and heard Chad holler for me to bring his truck and trailer.  Arriving a couple minutes later I saw the wild, red bull stretched out on the ground with two ropes around  his neck, one on a rear leg, and a fourth loop on one of the beast’s front legs. Within mere minutes, the bull was safely loaded into the trailer and on the way to an escape-proof holding pen to await his auction this week.
The whole ordeal took two weeks to plan and assemble the crew. The capture took less than ten minutes—one of the best examples of overkill I’ve ever witnessed.
Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry about his books, or to arrange speaking engagements, go to www.ozarksfn.com and click on 'Contact Us.'


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