Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Horse Trader: "A Hard and Shrewd Bargainer"

     I just recently completed a cookbook project with my friend Kathy McCraine.  I can attest to Kathy’s talents—Writer, Photographer, Rancher and Gourmet Cook—so falling in with her to contribute to “Cow Country Cooking”, was a no-brainer.
     Today’s post, however, is about Kathy’s husband, Swayze McCraine.  Swayze also has a long list of attributes on his life’s resume:  Rancher, Developer, and all around Horse Trader.  For myself, I would like to add Friend, Mentor….and did I say, all around Horse Trader?
     To put it simply, Swayze McCraine is a good man.  He’s kept me on track when the numbers wouldn’t work in my head, and he’s showed me how to keep my eye on the ball.
     When I stop talking long enough to listen, I generally start to glean pearls of wisdom from this man.  And if I push the issue, Swayze will tell me how to work the deal/problem and resolve the matter in question.  (Most likely with terms and interest rates included---he’s shaking his head right now!)
     He can do numbers in his head as fast as I can mix red and blue.  That’s why he’s such a good businessman.  And I learn something from him every time I’m in his presence.
     As far as being a Rancher, that term doesn't quite cover his talents.  Swayze can jerk his rope down, build a loop, and catch and doctor cattle with the best of them; as well as execute a management program for the entire ranch—from solar power to dealing with the BLM.
Photo by Kathy McCraine
     Several years ago a virus attacked Swayze’s heart and killed a large percentage of the muscle in and around this vital organ.  After a long fight, Swayze was the recipient of a complete heart transplant.  He lives every day with the real knowledge that this life is short and can change in an instant.  Much of his generosity and love of life is born of this life-changing event.  It has become a great impetus for him to take life by the horns and live it on his terms.
      Swayze carried the note on “Cow Country Cooking” for Kathy and me, so we worked feverishly to move out of the red and into the black as quickly as possible.  Our motivation was fueled not so much by fear, but more by the desire for success.  Swayze is the type of man who makes you want to succeed.  And I can tell you from experience that when he says “You done good”, you tend to walk a little taller, knowing you made him proud of your effort.
     He’s not the art lover that Kathy is, but when the time comes to sell a piece of art, get out of his way.  He plays three moves ahead, and isn’t afraid to close.
     My favorite time is riding in his truck and bouncing ideas about life off my friend.  Mentors are those who take the time to help those who need it, and Swayze is as good as they come.  Some (Pam included) would say his dog Loupe (short for Loupe Garou) might be one of his greatest assets, and I would certainly agree.  Loupe is a member of the family, and the truth is, Kathy and Swayze treat us like family.  When we are in Northern Arizona, we know where home is.
      Later tonight, I’ll be oiling my newest possession: a beater pellet gun that Swayze gifted me.  It looks like a typical rancher’s “truck gun”; beat up and scarred all to hell, with worn bluing.  But no amount of money will pry it from my hands.  It was given to me by a friend; a mentor…..and, oh, did I say….a horse-trader?  

All content © Mark Kohler Studio. 


  1. Wonderful post about a wonderful man! Thank you for honoring him here.

  2. It's hard to give back enough for all he's shown me, but this is my feeble attempt.

  3. He's a great guy. Thanks for this insight more to this solid man and wonderful person. Always have a ton of fun talking to Swayze - plus I usually learn a few things in the process as well. Glad you and Pam make it back to Texas in one piece. See ya later ...d

  4. Swayze says to tell you, "Hogwash!" Kathy

  5. At least I got the beater pellet gun part right! And tell him a real horse trader knows how to take a compliment...it was truly heartfelt.

  6. Thanks! He doesn't get enough credit, so I hope he sees all these comments by people who recognize his value.