Kai Buckert


January 17, 1959 -
Role: Foreman

Kai was born just outside of Victoria and grew up on a small ranch that his father farmed on the side. His paternal great grandparents came to South Texas from Germany. Orion Linney, foreman at the O'Connor-Tatton Salt Creek Ranch, was his great uncle. Kai wanted to be a cowhand from a young age, riding early and going to livestock auctions at seven or eight years old. “Being a cowboy is special. It gives you a good feeling inside when people know what you do. You have to love it – with the terrible hours, the low pay, the hard work you have to do; but as long as you love it, it’s like you make a million bucks a day.” Kai started working for Tom O'Connor, Jr., in the early 1980s learning under Mr. Tom, Earl Ward, Frank "Pancho" Perez and Alejandro de la Garza. Kai became foreman of the O'Connor Wexford Ranches in 1993 and continues to this day.

Introduction to Kai Buckert

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Kai Buckert
Kai - Now's the best smelling season when everything is bloomin' and you can ride through bottom and it smells so good. And then in the wintertime ride through the bottom when all the onions are bloomin' and it smells so good. Pretty sight whenever you see a big buck running across the prairie, that's fun to see. Or a covey of quail, field lark, seeing him set up on a post singing that pretty, and hearing hawk when he's out hunting. Just about everything is sounds pretty. All of birds. A rattlesnake even is spooky but still it's fun to hear him when he's mad and he's sitting there rattlin'. I think it's pretty fun. Whenever you working cattle and you can hardly hear yourself think and then all of a sudden for two or three seconds everything is quiet. I don't know if everybody's getting a breath at the same time or what but you could hear a pin drop and then it starts back up everybody's talking. And then like last week when we were sleeping out in the camp house all night long he could hear one or two cows talking looking for their babies. And then you could hear the calves talking on the other end of the trap. Whenever you're pushing cows together and somebody is on a young horse that young horse will always start talking to the old ones and you always try to get him to shut up before any of the horses start talking. The one thing that I've never heard or seen but would like to is drivin' a bunch of steers cause they're so quiet. Nobody's talking. They don't have any calves they're not talking to anyone else and every once in awhile you hear one talk but the rest of the time it's quiet. And as Mr. Tom said it's weird after you you're used to driving cattle and everybody's always talking and you drive steers and you hear a pin drop. I was talking to Mark Barnes, they got, I believe, eleven hundred steer in a couple of months ago and they were driving 'em up at the Garcitas. And he said it was like that was quiet as could be. And you really notice, it feels like somethin' eerie or somethin' but nobody talking.

Documents

“Being a cowboy is special. It gives you a good feeling inside when people know what you do. You have to love it — with the terrible hours, the low pay, the hard work you have to do. But as long as you love it, it’s like you make a million bucks a day.”

Cryin' For Daylight: Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend