Episode 045 - Ever Wonder What It’s Like To Manage a Famous Long Horn Herd for 25 Years?

Join Kristin Jaworski , the Director and Trail Boss of the Fort Worth Herd for 25 years, who shares her journey and insights into managing the world's only twice-daily cattle drive in the heart of Fort Worth; The Fort Worth Stockyards. Discover the strategic techniques encouraged by Dr. Temple Grandin and the challenges of handling Texas Longhorn steers while preserving Western heritage. Gain a new perspective on this iconic tradition and the dedication it takes to keep the tradition alive.

Listen Here:

Podcast Transcript

Taylor McAdams: Hi, everybody, and welcome back to the Kick Your Boots Up podcast. We're so excited you're here for another week. And this week is really special. We're celebrating 25 years of the Fort Worth herd. And who better to talk about that than the Queen herself, in my eyes, Kristin Jaworski. She's the Trail Boss of the Fort Worth herd, Director, Trail Boss, and she wears many hats, the mom of the group, whatever you want to say, that's what she does. Kristin, thank you so much for being here.  

Kristin Jaworski: Well, thank you for inviting us. We are so excited to share the story along with Justin Boots. So thank you so much.

Taylor McAdams: Of course. And speaking of that, there's so much to talk about in terms of what the Fort Worth herd is, for those of you out there that aren't familiar with it. Stay tuned. You're going to learn a lot about this iconic and historic for cattle drive that happens twice daily in the Fort Worth Stockyards. But before we talk about that, we've got to get to know Kristin herself as a person. So I've got to introduce her properly. I feel like, in my eyes, I'm in awe right now of all the things that this woman is capable of doing. And even seeing her behind the scenes. She's in meetings. She's telling everyone what to do. She's running the show all of it. So not only is she the director and the Trail Boss, but actually, in 2002, she became the first woman ever to be the Trail Boss for the Fort Worth heard, which is so inspirational to me personally, and I know a lot of girls out there relate to that. That's just so so cool. But interestingly enough, you got your mat, your bachelor's degree in marketing, and your master's in management and leadership from Tarleton State University. And so tell us a little bit about that. What was your experience like there? Did you move there move to Texas for college? Tell us about that. 

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah, absolutely. What a great way to move to Texas and instantly enroll at Tarleton State University. I will tell you that was a wonderful welcome. Not being from Texas. I learned real quickly. Texas has a lot of heart and a lot of roots in there that were willing to share. And so when I moved here, in about 97, I immediately enrolled at Tarleton State University and got to really know more about the North Texas area. And

Taylor McAdams: I can tell you're really passionate about about Tarleton, too. I know for me: I'm from Oklahoma, and I bleed orange Oklahoma State. But I can tell that you really bleed purple. 

Kristin Jaworski: Well, I almost wore purple today. But I thought, you know, I'm very proud of that but this show isn't about Tarleton. But I just want to make sure that you know everybody knows how supportive they are, and how what a wide range of experiences you truly get. 

Taylor McAdams: Yeah, and for you specifically, not only have they kind of taken that taking you under their wing, but you've gotten to do opportunities with them, along with the Fort Worth Herd. So, for instance, I think you rode in the grand entry at Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo a while back-

Kristin Jaworski: Yes, I did just recently with with the president of Tarleton and the dean here in Fort Worth, and of course, our first mayor to graduate from Tarleton, Mayor Mike Moncrief. So it's pretty special.

Taylor McAdams: Wow. That is what an iconic opportunity just to be in the saddle or I guess you rode horseback? 

Kristin Jaworski: Oh, yeah. 

Taylor McAdams: Okay. Yeah. So to be in the saddle alongside them. That's really, really cool. But kind of talking more about you and how you got to Texas, your, your roots, per se. How did you grow up? Tell us about your background there? Yeah, of

Kristin Jaworski: course. Absolutely. So I'm from Arizona, originally, and I grew up at a young age at the Grand Canyon and just fell in love with tourism, there was just nothing better than to see these buses of visitors unload and just take in the United States in the Grand Canyon. And no, and also a Western way of lifestyle. So we always introduce them to that. And I just loved it. And of course, growing up as a kid, I think every little girls dream is to be a veterinarian or have something to do with horses, right? We all have the My Little Ponies. And so I truly thought that was going to be my path and my career. I'm way too emotionally connected to the horses to be able to do that. And I value our veterinarians in the industry so very much. So quickly, I learned I have a different path that I need to pursue. And so, you know, fast forward through different leadership opportunities, whether that be through FFA and four h as a kid, you know, I just really loved agriculture, had horses and mules my entire life, but nothing really on a large scale. So when I moved here to Texas and started studying at Tarleton marketing, marketing was definitely something that interested me. And of course, back then, we didn't have all of these beautiful technology avail all this beautiful technology available to us. And so it's really progressed an awful lot.

Taylor McAdams: It really has. Yeah, go ahead. No, no. Yeah. And so. So with that, though, I mean, your experience moving here, and well, the one question I have is, I've never been to the Grand Canyon. So what was the Grand Canyon really like? Oh, just try to put it into words if that's even possible. 

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah,of course, you know, and so because I grew up in Arizona, I had the most fabulous field trips, you know, sixth grade, our field trip was truly hiking the Grand Canyon. So where else are you going to have that type of opportunity? And of course, they have the wonderful mule rides down into the canyon that is an incredible excursion. And so I think I probably took that for granted that I got those type of experience says at a young age, it truly is fascinating. I highly encourage everybody to at least put it on your bucket list and see, you know what this country truly has to offer. 

Taylor McAdams: You know what, Tyler, my husband, if you're listening, that's what we need to do for our anniversary. We've been talking about it. What are we going to do? The Grand Canyon actually does sound fun, it would be a lot of fun. I mean, as close to the Grand Canyon as you can get, the Fort Worth Stockyards is you're basically where you live. Now. I'll say that that's where you live, because you're there most of the time, I can attest. What's what's it like for you then being the woman being in charge being you know, you have you have so much to do you have to wrangle the Cowboys the drovers that are taking care of the livestock and stuff. But then also your first priority is the livestock you're constantly making sure they have enough hay water, feed all of it. Tell us about your day to day life and what you get to do.

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah, of course, you know, it really did start when I graduated from Tarleton, and what you know, trying to figure out what my true career would be. And when I heard about the Fort Worth heard program here in Fort Worth, Texas, I certainly had a lot to learn. And they were preserving western heritage and really showcasing the American cowboy to visitors from all over the world. And it was fascinating. And so I did apply for that job, I honestly was just overwhelmed that I was selected throughout that interview process for that position. And that responsibility. I owe it all to great mentors, and the people that were truly my management team, they taught me so much I was young, I was responsible for this, you know, attraction that generated more publicity than you could ever imagine. And so stepping into that role, my livestock background, you know, I always had a horse had cattle on a very small scale. But our purpose at the Fort Worth herd was to generate publicity to be a public relations tool to interact with visitors and education. And so I quickly learned I needed more experience managing a team. So that's what brought me back to get my Master's in management and leadership. Because all of those responsibilities were so diverse. And it just, no two days are ever, like,

Taylor McAdams: ever, I can attest to that, too. When you mix livestock and you mix people, there's truly a you know, everything that will go wrong can or everything that can go wrong will right and everything does eventually. And so there's probably been times that you've had, like it's 11, let's say 1115 It's time for the almost time for the cattle driving. Let's say a lot of go breaks or something happens and you kind of have to be on your toes or same same they're in a family emergency happens in the drover can't make it what do you do in situations like that just adapt overcome? How do you do? How do you manage all that? 

Kristin Jaworski: That's a great question. Because anytime and you know anybody that's ever dealt with a horse or cattle or livestock in general, no one knows that you can't predict what's going to happen. They may behave and unruly manners, they you know, instantly, you know, a horse has has a concern that you have to be addressed. But the show must go on. So it's no different than what you're doing here is you've got a deadline you've got to show up to produce and we produce that twice daily cattle drive every single day of the year at 1130 and four o'clock. And it can be a little bit of a fire drill at times you've got to, you know, reconfigure schedules or horses or tack. And, you know, luckily, we can always hold it a few minutes and make sure that safety is the most important thing to be addressed,

Taylor McAdams: of course, and I have so many questions along those lines. Because if you've ever experienced the cattle drive, you do have naturally questions even anytime we have guests come to Fort Worth, we take them there as a tourist opportunity and attraction. And they ask questions that I would have not even thought to think of just being immune to it, you know. So I we will talk about that a little bit when we get more into the herd itself. But for you specifically, I'm so in awe of that, like just your ability to do that. But I've got to ask, did you ever have to fill in for a drover? Did you ever have to herd the cattle down the dress hat

Kristin Jaworski: changes often. And so especially for you know, the first 10 years or so of my employment, not only to earn the trust of the team, but also to know what the expectation was that I was putting on us as a unit. You just really have to immerse yourself in that day to day responsibility. So you know, I've got period correct clothing, a different hat, different pair of boots, and my horse and saddle is always ready, because I am able to fill in should we need to. And in the early days, I did that quite often. And that was really what gave me the best insight to how do you drive Texas Longhorn steers through the middle of the 13th largest city. And so those skills I didn't have, you know, that was something that I had to learn. I had to learn and troubleshoot and really, you know, take my experiences, how can we make tomorrow better? And that's really been what's kept me going all of these years,

Taylor McAdams: and it's 22 years, I think is how long you've been the Trail Boss. So before that, tell us about what you did, because I'm sure you had to kind of earn your keep around there to get where you are. Tell us about how you worked your way up to trouble.

Kristin Jaworski: Absolutely. And I'll never forget those first few years. Were you Um, if if anybody stepped into a new job that's been with a team has been established, they're gonna test you. And so there were several allies that I had. And I learned real quickly, you know, to trust to trust the system to trust the processes, and recognize that the city of Fort Worth had done such an amazing job putting that together, that I could I could do more listening and less talking, and really take that in and learn where my strengths were, where my weaknesses were. And that evolved, you know, the more I became experienced in the Trail Boss role, because, you know, you mentioned all the responsibilities to robots takes an awful lot of explaining most people look at me, like, I have no idea what that is. But that's really cool. It is such a unique title. You know, it's not one that you can google how to be a Trail Boss, you're going to learn about how they were a Trail Boss in the late 1800s, a little different than today, but very similar responsibilities. So you know, whether it's personnel, livestock programming, safety facility, purchasing budget, all of that is incorporated, just like it is in any other business.

Taylor McAdams: That is so incredible, especially going back to the days when the Fort Worth stockyards was the Fort Worth stockyards where they would sell, buy and sell cattle. And in the trading days there that what a cool tie that you've you've evolved the position, of course, over time, but still having the ability to Yeah, buy and sell the long warrants, you know, get them up in the shape that they need to be in and put the times there. So that's really cool. And one thing I've got asked you too, is knowing that there's women like me, or even girls that are younger, looking up to you, how does that feel to have kind of that spotlight on you? And like, I want to say you're the queen type of way, you know, the queen of the stockyards?

Kristin Jaworski: You know, thank you for that question. Because it is important that we, as a team are so diversified. And we truly represent the you know, the men and women and the it those individuals that really created that history. And so there were women, you know, there were the Mexican McKerrow, the black cowboy. And so it's important for us to be able to relate to our audience, I try not to put too much focus on gender, because you know, I don't have an expectation of myself being any different than if you know, the the, the Cowboys the drovers that are in that role that are male. But it is always fascinating, you know, I do hear that an awful lot. Oh my gosh, the you know, the boss's a woman. And I, I've always just really not focused on that and thought of myself as one of the team members. And that certainly helps. Because I don't ever want to be treated differently, 

Taylor McAdams: of course, and I think you do a really good job at that. I will commend you there too, because even just watching at the job before I had this job, I got to actually watch you behind the scenes do a lot of stuff. There was luncheons that we would attend with the Fort Worth Stockyards Association and stuff like that. And the way you carry yourself and conduct yourself around everyone, it doesn't go unnoticed, because you truly do just pick up the weight, you know if if plates needed, restocked at the lunch, and you just hopped right in there, you know, and that goes to show your character and your upbringing. So before we do move on to the herd, I want to know your upbringing. What was it like growing up? Did you grow up on a ranch?

Kristin Jaworski: Sure, no, thank you for that. And thank you for the compliments on some things, I would have never expected you to say those type of things. I think it just comes natural. And where does that come from? You know, is what you're asking. So I grew up with small family, you know, I've got one sibling and my mom and dad really instilled work ethic in me at a young age. And I truly admired that, you know, my dad just could do anything that he put in front of him. And I wish I had taken a little bit more advantage of that. Because young, you know, you're not paying that much to try, right. But you know, he really taught me that if you fail or something doesn't go right, you got to get back in there. And it's the old saying of you get bucked off, you gotta get back on and and that did happen, you know, it happens to all of us happens now. And you've really got a push through challenges. And so something that I really think it was instilled in me by my family and my grandparents was take on a challenge. And that can actually motivate you. And it can motivate you to find solutions to find better ways and better practices. But at the end of the day, it's all about who you surround yourself with. You know, I truly believe that. And of course, all of our parents said you are who you run with, right? Yeah. And I you know, even in this career, or prior to it was about always looking for mentors and people that knew more than I did in every type of industry. And you can always learn from someone just like I'm learning from you today. 

Taylor McAdams: Yes, of course, and I'm learning a lot as well. So this is so good. And speaking of that, we've got to take a break to do some more learning. But whenever we come back, we'll learn more about the Fort Worth heard and everything that that has to share. And so we'll see you real soon.

Narrator: Step into the legendary style of a king of country with the George Strait collection from Justin boots. fan for a king, these boots boast an advanced cushioning system, in our case crafted with the finest exotic leathers, embodying Georgia's iconic comfort and stage-worthy presence. Make sure to check out the George Strait collection from Justin Boots standard of the West since 1879. Find yours today at Justin boots.com.

Taylor McAdams: Hey, everybody, welcome back. I'm so glad you're here. We're going to continue talking about the Fort Worth herd with Kristin. And one thing that you guys need to know about the herd specifically is that they have a twice daily cattle drive, but it's the world's only twice daily cattle drive at 11:30am and 4pm. And we were just talking off camera. It sounds like a lot of people have heard more about the cattle drive from being tourists in the stockyards than the locals. Of course, the locals know all about it and love it and appreciate it. But the perspective is for everyone out there listening, the ones that haven't seen it or only get to see it from time to time, you get a new perspective on it all. So tell us about the cattle drive. Tell us about everything that you guys do preparation wise, I know this was something I'm throwing at you really quick. I know you can handle it. If the cattle drive doesn't start until 1130. Obviously you don't show up at 1130. You ready to go. So tell us about all the prep work getting the cattle drive to what it is today.

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, thinking back to our history here in Texas, just after the Civil War, the cattle drives were it was a brief period of time, you know, a decade at the most so late 1800s. Then fast forward to modern day times. And Fort Worth really wanted to commemorate that time in history when Longhorns came through Fort Worth and made such a huge economic impact on our history, right? Yeah. So in on June 12 of 1999. To celebrate Fort Worth 100 and 50th year anniversary, the herd was born. And everyday since then, at 1130 and four o'clock, we have driven those Texas Longhorn steers Right Down East Exchange Avenue, every day of the year exports a couple of exceptions for weather and a couple of holidays, for over 8 million people a year now. So you're right, the visitation those folks come from all over the world. You know, it doesn't matter where you're from, doesn't matter what language you speak, how old you are, what your background is. It's fascinating, and for me to have been there all 22 years, and I love it every single day. So it is my favorite thing to talk about. So I'd love to share that story with you all.

Taylor McAdams: Yeah, I'm so glad you did too, because that's a very good point 8 million people's a lot of people and so you're considered famous at this point. You don't even know it just because of the amount of foot traffic. Right. Yeah.

Kristin Jaworski: And you mentioned you know, you I think we do forget how many people we truly are reaching, yes, and what our goal and our purposes, our purpose is to bring people to Fort Worth, and they experienced the cattle drive, they get to truly visit the stockyards but then also see all of our other districts in the city, there's so much that Fort Worth has to offer. So we are truly ambassadors. So to your question of what happens from you know, early in the morning to 1130. You know, the team the drovers always say it takes us seven and a half hours of labor to produce a 30 minute show. And I think a lot of people can relate to that, that is

Taylor McAdams: relatable, especially in media podcasts world, you get it,

Kristin Jaworski: There's only so much that's aired, and the rest of it is behind the scenes. So ours is no different. You know, we're feeding horses, we're cleaning stalls, we're grooming we're exercising, we're you know, we're we're actually are cleaning the pins, and people don't realize that I'm about to do it, someone's got to do it. And we are next to you know, a lot of different attractions. And being in the middle of the city like that you've got to really maintain your facility. It's very, or, excuse me, it's it's unorthodox environment, because you've got cattle and horses next to Billy Bob's Texas and Cowtown, Coliseum and h three restaurant and rooskies barbecue and all these different venues and you want to be respectful of that. And it's just really truly a good match.

Taylor McAdams: It is and I feel like you guys do a really good job. Because now that I think about it, I don't even stop to think that you're in the middle of a city. That's a very good point. You guys keep everything pristine and clean. And of course, the iconic wooden fences that are of course maintained and upcat. They're not the original wood, some of it might be but the fences, they're talking about the pins and everything because I don't think a lot of people realize the cattle actually stay there. Correct. They stay there overnight.

Kristin Jaworski: That's right. They are truly the only Longhorns are actually the only cattle left in the stockyards that reside there on a permanent basis. So that's pretty special. So even if you don't make it by at 1130 or four o'clock, you can still see those majestic steers. They're just incredible. And so you know, you mentioned fences. So the part of that behind the scenes, at any given moment you're repairing fences, you're you know, changing the tire on the tractor, or you're doing things that you typically would do in a ranch environment. But because it's in the middle of the city, all of that becomes an experience. You're right. So you have an audience, you have an audience, so you might be on Tik Tok or YouTube or you're entertaining a group from South Carolina as you're doing that work. And that's what really makes it unique. because, you know, it's it's really special to people to see how much work it truly takes for them to walk down the street twice a day.

Taylor McAdams: No, you're so right. And I'm glad you touched on that too, because that's a big part of it. And another big part of it too is the fact that people are able to walk right up to them as close as they can get, you know, to see the Longhorn and I think a big misconception is everyone thinks the bigger the horns, the meaner the cow, or bull or steer, or whoever, whatever it is. But I don't think that's true at all. I don't think that's the case with the Longhorns because they truly are like their big dogs, their pets almost well. So what's that, like just having the tourists come up and see them and interact? 

Kristin Jaworski: And, of course, of course, so you mentioned that they're, they're very calm, they're very docile, yes, a breed especially we're driving all steers. So we don't have the motherly protective instinct that you would see in a cow in a pasture. And so all of that is strategically done. Even when you watch the cattle drive, where those horses and those drovers are positioned is very strategic, because the cattle move away from pressure. Just like every you know, every bovine has a fly zone. So do they, there's just a little different because we're dealing with 10, and a half foot horn spans tip to tip. So their bubble is significantly bigger than what you would expect. And but they're not pets, they're not tame. So that is very hard to communicate that they are livestock. You know, we're not taking them home and putting them in our bed. Yeah, they truly live in a corral. And we handle them as such, because we always want to maintain, you know, safety, not only for the livestock, but the personnel as well as our visitors. So everything is done for a reason.

Taylor McAdams: And speaking of that, Kristin, you touched on a really good point that I'm genuinely curious about, please answer this lifelong question that I've had. Whenever the head the lead, drover is headed down the exchange Avenue and he's walking in a zigzag pattern, what is that doing?

Kristin Jaworski: You are so observant, I might just take you with me and push you to work out.

Taylor McAdams: I'm ready.

Kristin Jaworski: Think about cattle and horses and how their eyes are positioned. Right? Their vision is very different than ours, they

Taylor McAdams: can't see straight ahead, right? Correct. So

Kristin Jaworski: if we stay directly in front of that steer, we're changing eye left eye right eye left eye right eye with that lead position, as well as that drag position. So it was taught to me all these years ago by a fabulous drover, he said, Think of it like a rubber band, you're expanding the length of those steers or you're compressing that because you don't want them to close to each other because they are horned cattle. You know, they naturally don't want to hit their horns on each other or anything else. So we have to control that pace. And that tempo of that cattle drive. They control and influence their pecking order in what order they're in.

Taylor McAdams: And that's cool to see too. I encourage everyone who's listening to give it a shot even if you don't think you can make it to Fort Worth anytime soon, at least like Google it or YouTube it because there's so many videos out there but like seeing the way the cattle themselves work together is such a natural thing that I think is worth mentioning, too, because it's stressful. I don't think a lot of people realize that there's like actual tourists, city people, people that are coming from everywhere. In my eyes. Huge liability. It freaks me out. No, I'm just kidding. But you guys handle it so well. The cattle they don't ever go on the sidewalks. They don't ever they're not like fighting bulls, you know, they're very calm. How do you manage all of that all the crowd control? I know you have you do a good job about it. So tell us about it. Yeah, of course, I

Kristin Jaworski: think that's the most important thing is livestock management and safety of how we're actually handling cattle. So early on, we really started practicing low stress cattle handling and working with professionals in the industry on a national level. Same thing with the horsemanship side of things. We work very closely with the certified horsemanship Association, on safe experiences through horses. And so since we are riding horses and driving cattle in an entertainment type of discipline, that is so important. So we never put a steer in the street on the cattle drive that hasn't had those experiences behind the scenes. So we practice real early in the morning, we introduce that steer a little bit at a time so that he fits in the herd. But that herd instinct, and consistency. And of course cattle and horses are creatures of habit they love when they know exactly what's coming next. And And one thing that's fascinating, if you all do come see us is those stairs will start getting up lining up and approaching the gate every day at the same time. And so they that just really helps us because those people are aligned on the street, their path is the same. And it just works very well. For us.

Taylor McAdams: It's like a dog that you would train to do tricks or something. It's kind of the same concept if if they're used to the time they're used to I know for instance, I have a mini Doxon and he around five o'clock he starts getting antsy. He knows Okay, five o'clock, mom and dad will be home soon. So it's probably the same concept.

Kristin Jaworski: It truly is. And we have obstacles to overcome. You know, it might be you know, a vehicle or a band or an event, I mean at the stockyards is truly activated at all times. This winter. We had a skating rink, you know that was built So people ice skating as they're watching the cattle drive. That's fascinating to me. So that's an obstacle, right? We work very closely with Dr. Temple Grandin, who I'm a huge fan of, and she calls them novelties. She said, every time that something is new, those animals have to take that and they're going to explore it, they're going to be curious about it. And so we allow that to naturally happen. And you know, just being very respectful of their space.

Taylor McAdams: Hi, I love that you brought Temple Grandin up, she is someone that I looked up through up to, especially when you mentioned FFA, all my time through FFA and hearing the stories of like the squeaky shoots and how she's just been an icon there. So that's really cool that you guys get to hear from her and hear her like teachings and apply them to your Longhorns. That's

Kristin Jaworski: What a blessing she's been to us, because she's given us some really good advice. She's constantly monitoring. And she's available to us if we have questions. And you know, some of her answers are so simple to me. And I think well, I don't know, think of that. So we always are looking to people that know a little bit more than we do. 

Taylor McAdams: Wow, I couldn't agree more. Because especially there's a movie out there. And I forget now what it's called, but it's about her life. Do you know what I'm talking? I do? Yeah, we'll have to figure out what the movie is. 

Kristin Jaworski: But Claire Danes played her and Temple actually told me she did a great job. And that is an accurate production of her life. So that's pretty special. Yeah.

Taylor McAdams: Oh, my goodness. Yeah. If you're out there, and you're curious, you have to go look up that movie. I watched it, I think in college, or maybe even high school art class, I don't know. But just Yeah, seeing her life and coming to light that's really cool in Fort Worth heard, they have direct access to that who would have known right. And that's really good, though, because it is important whenever you talk about the Longhorns, like you said, the fight or flight, their abilities to see new things and that's, that's you have the best, the best doctor looking after we do. And to get a little bit more into the herd, you guys do such a good job of preserving the history, the early 1800s, you know, you really depict that. So at any given time, when you go into the stockyards, even if the drovers are let's say, quote, unquote, off work, that when they're really not, they're just not on their horses, or they're leading their horses or something, they're still dressed in the time period clothing, you can pick them out in a crowd, talk about the importance of the clothing aspect and up keeping the same standards from the 1800s. 

Kristin Jaworski: Certainly, so the city of Fort Worth is who created The Herd and we are managed by visit Fort Worth. And authenticity is so very important, not only to our our management team, but our stakeholders, and all of the supporters that we have in the organization, from those tears being donated into the program to just in producing an authentic period correct boot for us.

Taylor McAdams: That's, that's so important to have. I know we're just talking off camera like a tough leather.

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah, keep that up. So yes, and it can't be what a modern day boot is, you know, it truly is. So everything that we have from the saddles, the saddle pads, our bridles, our bits, everything is replicated from the late 1800s To truly be authentic. And that's part of our story that we're telling, you know, we're taking people through the history through cattle drives and in stockyards was born. And then rodeo really became popular, but they're very different times in our history. So we're really proud to say that we keep the program as authentic as possible. 

Taylor McAdams: Yeah, you really do you do a great job of it. Like I said, you can truly pick out a drover in the crowd. And to me that means so much that you're that you're able to keep the heritage and maintain all the standards and all of that is that ever a challenge to find? I know for instance, Justin, you guys have to have custom boots made. We take pride in making exactly what you want is that ever challenge always greatly challenging.

Kristin Jaworski: Because you know, typically you weren't going out on a Saturday night looking like a drover from the 1800s. It is different and you know, in our you know, the pants are very heavy a canvas type, they're wearing a felt hat that's different their their boots, like you said are heavy and tall and dark. And, you know, and in the wild rag and the vest and the suspenders and the shops and everything that goes on that drover and then picture it in the summer. Right. It's a little toasty, but they're not wearing a short sleeve shirt. That's not what they wore on the cattle drives. They had to protect themselves and protect their arms. Every single article of clothing had a purpose. 

Taylor McAdams: It really did. And I'm so glad you brought weather into this because you guys do say we have every single day we have to twice daily cattle drive or whatever depending on weather or some holidays. I have personally witnessed there's there's ice on the roads. Nobody's around. There might be three people watching in this, you know, on the sidewalk, but you still have your cattle drive because those roads are clear. And you're good there. So talk to us about that. Like what would what would keep you from having a cattle drive and there's 365 days in a year. So how many days you have it like that? 

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah, so since the cattle drive was born in 1999, we've done over 17,000 cattle drives. And you know, you mentioned that visitor that there's inclement weather, maybe the roads were treacherous. But if there's three people were doing that cattle drive, so we want to be consistent because you just never know where they came from. And And what's important is that is with the weather determination, is Is it safe for the livestock, the horses and the visitor to truly be standing there watching it? So unless we have, you know, severe weather or something that is dangerous, were there rain or shine? Lightning, we would cancel for, for example, or, you know if there was a slippery spot on their path. Yeah. And I remember

Taylor McAdams: And I remember one time, it was like so hot that finally that the concrete was or the road the brick road was so hot that you guys finally said, You know what, we just can't do this? We can't. So what do you how do you determine that? How do you know? 

Kristin Jaworski: That's a very good question. So determining whether or not the cattle drive cars and you're checking whether you're checking the temperament of the cattle, you know, you're making sure that your horses are of good mindset to actually produce that cattle drive. So a lot of that, you know, it's a daily determination. But yes, heat in the summertime. Thankfully, there's all kinds of scientists that have done the formulas of when we should and when we shouldn't admit it, we measure so many different things. It's actually quite complicated. But we've got all the tools to do so.

Taylor McAdams: That's so cool. So cool to hear. I mean, the ins and the outs of it all. And I'm sure over time you've built like a special bond with some of the Longhorns Do you have a favorite?

Kristin Jaworski: Well, I do I have a favorite that you know my favorite steer changes as we bring them in and all the hurt but I have to share something with you. Okay, I'll since all of those tears are donated into the program from various breeders all across the United States. My favorite steer today is Boots.

Taylor McAdams: Boots, we'll have to pop up a photo screen. Yeah, absolutely. So

Kristin Jaworski: Boots was donated to us by a family who is very prominent in the Longhorn industry and how he got his name when he was born as a calf on his front legs to his knees was solid. And it looked like he had boots on. So I thought that was very perfectly

Taylor McAdams: And he's my favorite, too, because we're Justin Boots. And his name is Boots has to be it's yeah, it's meant to be it works out so good. No, I love that you get to have like the bond there though that's so special, because not many people get that opportunity to be even as close to Longhorn cattle as you do. And so talk about that really quick show show some insight on the behind the scenes things that people might not get to see. So for instance, I know for me, I love to go on the bridge the wooden bridge over and watch and look at them from a bird's eye view. You can learn their personalities, the ones that want to be touched with, you know, by the other Longhorns, the ones that don't the ones that are kind of the ringleader. So tell us about what your perspective there is, 

Kristin Jaworski: Yeah, of course, and you're right, that's a excellent location to we have an observation deck where you can view the cattle and you can watch them in their natural environment. And that's when you really see, you know, that pecking order come into place boots, for example, you know, your ways over 1800 pounds, he kind of commands authority when he walks in the herd, and nobody messes with them. And then we'll might have a younger steer that's learning, you know, he's trying to figure out what his position is in the herd. And there's always a dominant steer, always. And so right now our dominant steer, his name is Riata. And he wears a bell. And the bell signifies back in history, Charles Good night, always put a belt on his lead, steer. So there's a reason for that. And he just naturally has made his way to the front to lead them. And if he's pointed in the right direction the others will follow.

Taylor McAdams: That is such a cool tidbit that I never knew about, I'm going to drag my husband to the stockyards this weekend, you're gonna be very well educated. Whoa, that's so cool to hear, especially the bell thing I've always wondered, but I just thought, Okay, it's a way of tagging or marking, you know, like you would a traditional herd on a ranch. So, yeah, the more you know,

Kristin Jaworski: The more you know, the more you know, you know, there's, there's branding and then the bell, there's, he's pretty special. He really is. And

Taylor McAdams: what did you say his name was? Again,

Kristin Jaworski: that's where yada yada, okay, yeah. And he'll pass that bill to another student, 

Taylor McAdams: I'm sure the torch will be handed well. And I know that you guys do a lot in the community, too. There's different opportunities for you even I've seen you speak at multiple organizations just by yourself on behalf of the herd. So tell us about the different avenues that the Fort Worth heard hasn't gets to do? Yeah,

Kristin Jaworski: of course, you mentioned torch, we actually participated in the Olympic torch as it was being handed off. Or any American born in America has been there. Yeah. So we've had a lot of really great television shows, travel stories. But then on some of our special events, we were able to commission, the littoral combat ship, USS Fort Worth. And those kinds of experiences really put Fort Worth on the map as a destination. And so we try to take advantage of those opportunities as they're presented, whether it's entertaining a convention or group that's here in town or downtown. You know, if they can't make that 1134 o'clock cattle drive, oftentimes, we'll make sure that we have a presence and greet those guests as well.

Taylor McAdams: That is just so cool. And Kristin, you have been a breath of fresh air here on the podcast. This has been so insightful. I've learned so much. And I'm leaving with even more questions, which is a good thing. I know we're almost out of time. But one thing I always do on the Kinky Boots up podcast is ask someone or ask the guest their best piece of advice for whatever and so my question for you is what is your best piece of advice for someone who is wanting to make that switch too. So think back to your, your college days of like you moved, you packed up, you moved to Texas and you're you started your dream career on accident just by going to college. What's your best piece of advice there?

Kristin Jaworski: So I think my best piece of advice without even thinking about that is as you're planning your life, whether it's a career, a job, change education, where you're going to live, figure out what your passion is, because passion can drive you to do an awful lot of things. And then you know, if you need to become more educated or more experienced in those areas, and take your time to figure that out. Oftentimes, we just we think we know what we want, we get into that. And maybe it wasn't quite what we thought, you know, but I think just taking the time learning what you're passionate about what drives your ambition makes such a difference.

Taylor McAdams: It really does. And that's such good advice. Thank you for that. I know I'm I need that right now, a lot of people do because you think you make one decision, and it has to be that you have to stick with that career for the rest of your life or whatever. So that was that was really good. I appreciate that. And if you have any questions for Kristin that I didn't get to ask or you just want to follow up with, you can reach out to them several different ways. Probably the best way would be on Instagram at at at Fort Worth herd. Or I know that there's opportunities to give and donate. So if you'd like to do that you donate to the Fort Worth herd, you can go to www dot fort worth.com forward slash the herd forward slash Friends of the herd. Or you can click on the in the episode description below. We'll have that for you here. And we just want to make sure that you have the opportunity to go see the trail the cattle drive and to get it all in you paint the big picture and experience it for yourself. So we invite you to the Fort Worth stockyards for their 25th anniversary of the cattle drive the Fort Worth herds cattle drive, you're sure to leave with so many more questions, like I said, but also you're just going to get a full authentic cowboy experience. And I think if you want to put the best cat little cowboy town, I think that's Fort Worth. So thank you, Kristin, for doing your part. And for everything that you do to preserve the history. It doesn't go unnoticed. And there's so many girls out there that are looking to you as a boss, babe as well. So thank you for being you know, 

Kristin Jaworski: Thank you so much. I appreciate the support. We could not do it without the support of the community, our viewers, our guest and it just truly takes a village so I will surely appreciate it. Thanks for inviting me. 

Taylor McAdams: Of course, Kristin. And if you liked what you saw, feel free to Like subscribe, share it with your friends, and comment below what you want to see more of again, if you have any questions for Kristin comment below too. We can pass those along as well. Thank you so much for listening to the Kick Your Boots Up podcast. Thanks for joining us on Kick Your Boots Up. I'm your host, Taylor McAdams and we can't wait to share the next story of the West. Until then, feel free to like, subscribe, and leave us a review. Follow us on social media at Justin Boots to keep up with our next episode. And we'll see you the next time you kick your boots up.