In 1956, at the age of sixteen Johnnie went with his Uncle Nep Oliver to Floresville to spend the weekend. They were going to ride horses and work cattle. This was Johnnie’s first time to work with cattle. Uncle Nep also took his sons to help. They had three horses to use. Old Paint was the first horse Johnnie ever rode. They gathered cattle from the next pasture over, and then drove the cattle down Highway 97 to Stockdale about five miles. This was Johnnie’s first cattle drive.
In 1958, at the age of 18, Johnnie went to work on his first ranch job. This was the Block Creek Ranch near Sisterdale. He worked alone there for Raymond Coolman and Hondo Crouch on 3,500 acres.
Johnnie bought his first horse and named him Chico. Chico was two years old and through the years became a very good working horse. Many people used him from time to time and many learned to ride on him.
In 1959, at the age of nineteen, Johnnie went to work for Youngs Crook Ranch at D’Hanis on 4,500 acres for about 4-6 months.
In 1962, Johnnie went back again to help his Uncle Nep with his cattle business.
In August of 1962, Johnnie and Joyce Oliver got married, then Johnnie went to work at Fort Stockton on the El Sonora (or E.L. Ranch) which was 190,000 acres. He had a string of seven horses. He learned to work on windmills. He also learned to speak Ranch Spanish. He worked with 14 cowboys from Mexico.
In 1965, we came back to San Antonio where Johnnie went to work for Civil Service.
In a short time, Johnnie met a businessman named Charlie Pattillo who wanted to begin a ranch. Johnnie built him a set of pens, then began working his cattle with him on the side. Johnnie worked with Charlie about five years. Within that five years, Johnnie took care of his dad’s cattle that he had for a while.
Around 1975, Johnnie had a close friend names James Furr who worked on a ranch in Ozona for Bob Bisset. Johnnie took his vacation week off from his Civil Service job and worked cattle for Bob Bisset. Johnnie helped Bob until James moved to another job.
In August 1984, we moved to the Jourdanton area where Johnnie met the Wheeler family from Christine. Johnnie helped them work cattle on the side. Johnnie also met the Maddox family. He helped Rusty Maddox, at times work, cattle on the side.
Around 1987, Johnnie began his own cattle ranching at a new home off Highway 140 between Charlotte and Christine and worked on the ranch with his cattle.
In 1990, Johnnie retired from his Civil Service job and now can spend more time with his own cattle full time.