Did you ever meet someone with whom you have a special connection that you can’t explain? The connection moves beyond just a friendship. It’s almost like you knew them on a whole other plane or in a different time. My friend BJ Wacob and I share this gift.
Before you accuse me of some “Bromance”, I’m speaking from a cosmic parallel plane/ big picture view. I spoke with BJ last night, listening to him rail on the ups and downs of the Elko County (Nevada) weather. (It was 39 degrees and spitting snow).
Just so you understand, BJ is as cowboy as they come. His left hand is as rope wicked as you will see, and he is the type you want with you if things go bad. If cooler heads really do prevail, BJ will be the last man standing.
Our cynical humor finds common ground in almost every aspect of today’s world. And our sarcastic banter can rapidly get out of hand.
BJ has an unexplainable longing for the sage country of Nevada, most probably rooted in the freedom this lovely, hard country provides. In his early years, he buckaroo’d for the YP and IL Ranches, and has now settled on the famous Maggie Creek Ranch, just outside the lights of Elko. When he was in his early 20’s, a runaway horse nearly took his life, dragging him by the foot towards a black brush thicket. The fast action of fellow buckaroos saved him at the last minute, although he suffered a severely shattered leg that nags him to this day. (When the hard work’s done, BJ leaves the romance of tall top boots and large roweled spurs for the comfort of his Nikes.)
On my trip to Nevada last year, I knew I wanted to photograph BJ for my central painting at the upcoming Buffalo Bill Museum Art Show. This painting will be something different and quiet; no thundering horses or dusty pens. It will be a painting that shows the depth and honor of my friend.
When I saw the tack room door at the Maggie Creek Ranch, I knew I had my image. I know this will be a tough painting for me, in a new direction. But I look forward to showing BJ in a real light. His light.