The aforementioned friends alluded to in this article and I were involved in one last horseback ride together at NDSU. It was the only horseback ride that I had personally ever participated in while a student at NDSU.

The boss of the Animal Science Department was a cowboy through and through. His mere presence was intimidating — big in stature, and always wearing a big western hat and boots. "Buck" M. L. Buchannan will always be remembered as an authoritative  figure of Animal Science and respected by the entire livestock industry.

When he spoke, everybody listened, so when he asked us to move his two horses to a different location on the University Research Farm, we didn’t ask questions like how, are they broke, etc? We just did it.

We could have hauled them in a horse trailer, but thought it would be more fun to go for a cross country ride. Little did we know that they hadn’t been ridden much — in fact the younger one was just a "green broke" two-year-old.

My buddies were quick to anoint me as the cowboy of the bunch, and therefore, assigned to the half-snaky one. It was a challenging ride, but a lot of fun. Mr. Buchannan was pretty impressed, for which we all gained favor with the big guy.

To be on the right side of the head of the Animal Science Dept. (especially this head) was a sense of accomplishment, in and of itself. It was the sort of thing that we all tried to accomplish. To be in good stead, meant a free pass to the university experience — an experience that would never have been the same without those for whom this report is dedicated.

May  the family and friends of those who lost their  lives live in the acknowledgement of their contribution to all who walked in their presence. They will be revered forever by those of us who came to know them, as friends and cohorts in the spirit of a higher calling.

As the designated riders of a shared time in our lives, the remembrance of Bill and Ray will be memorialized forever in Proverbs 18:24 "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

"PONY TALES by" Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the "Farm And Livestock Directory" every month.