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The sun is not yet up when Boots O’Neal starts his workday. As the 89-year-old cowboy readies his mount in the predawn quiet, he stuffs his hands into well-worn leather gloves. His dark chaps are decorated with fringe, a slight sheen on the right hip where his nylon rope has polished the leather over the years. He pulls down his silverbelly hat and grunts his way onto the saddle, planting his tall-topped boots in the stirrups. The horse he’s riding today is a dark sorrel named Cool. Together they wait, as the cowboy saying goes, just “cryin’ for daylight.”This morning’s chore: Boots and three of his Stetsoned coworkers must round up some two dozen bulls scattered across a vast grazing pasture, drive them to a…

The post The Bronc-busting, Cow-punching, Death-defying Legend of Boots O’Neal appeared first on Texas Monthly.

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