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Cowboys ride to the aid of one of their own

Edwin Adams was shoveling sawdust into his horse stalls when he slipped and fell off the tailgate of his pickup last year.

He knew immediately he had seriously broken his leg when he saw bone sticking through the skin.

The Myakka City 51-year-old has been laid up ever since, except for the 14 surgeries he has endured to repair his damaged leg, the most recent last Wednesday.

With one of their own out of work, and medical bills mounting, the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association decided to get involved and throw a benefit for Adams.

Jason McKendree, vice president of the association and cattle manager for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, said beforehand he would be happy if 50 people showed up at the benefit, dubbed the Ranch Rodeo and Benefit Barbecue. If there were 50 people, paying $10 each to eat some cowboy grub and watch the rodeo, well, that would be a few bucks more than the hard-pressed Adams family had before.

Jason is a realist, given to understatement. Instead of 50, there may have been 500 at the Winding Trails Ranch and Arena on Saturday, some 22 miles east of Interstate 75, almost over into the next county.

At least, that’s how Cattlemen’s Association President Cully Rowell counted heads.

“Looks like they’re eatin’ up those secret-recipe beans,” Cully told me.

Jamie Adams, Edwin’s daughter, and a student at Braden River High School, said the family is hopeful her dad will be able to begin physical therapy in a few months and get back to normal.

Edwin Adams grew up at Parrish’s Harrison Ranch, the son of a rancher, before it became a master-planned community.

That lifestyle has been adopted by Jamie, who barrel races, shows steers at the fair, and will be the Cattlemen’s Association sweetheart for 2009-2010. Eventually, she would like to be certified for equine dentistry.

“I think it’s great that when someone is hurting, that we stand up together and become a family,” Jamie said of the Cattlemen’s Association.

The recuperating Edwin Adams was there, too, Saturday, his bum leg braced up on the metal tube fence that kept spectators safe from the roping, sorting, and steer stopping and “undecorating.”

He said he was honored when he learned the association was throwing a rodeo and barbecue to help him.

“That’s what the cattlemen are all about,” he said.

Cully Rowell told me that the association is about the cattle business, but that it’s also about helping people.

I was happy to spend part of my Saturday with these real cowboys. And also relieved to learn that when they “undecorate” a cow, they weren’t removing a horn, or some other unmentionable part. No sir, it was only a length of red ribbon that’s removed from the animal’s tail after it’s been roped.

James A. Jones Jr., East editor, can be contacted at 708-7916.