Bodie Means, 68, is embedded in the cattle-rearing ways of West Texas. “I’ve been here all my life,” said Means. He spends his day sorting cattle and team roping calves with a group of four or five locals. This afternoon he’s working with Marcelo Urias and Chuy Navarrete. “When we get off work [is] when we kind of turn loose,” said Means.
Means, like a lot of rural people in the country’s drylands, always has one issue in mind: drought. He knows when the rain needs to fall: “Our rain generally comes in — maybe some in June, then July. July to September is our rain season,” Means said.
This year, it didn’t rain like he wanted. “It didn’t rain in a lot of country in Texas, like a lot of country,” Means said. All of the Southwest was in some form of drought this past rainy season, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Central and West Texas were in exceptional drought, and in the Big Bend region rainfall was six to eight inches less than normal from June to August. Prolonged dry periods can have a devastating effect on the herd, and thus, the livelihood of many residents.