I got a call right after lunch from a goat legend. Hadn’t talked to him in several months. He wanted to know if I had heard any news about Joe Ed Helms. My mind went “Shit!” My mouth probably did as well. IDK and don’t care what came out of my mouth at that point. I knew that it was probably true. I just didn’t want it to be. I always liked that dude. Joe Ed Helms is a huge part of the history of the show goat world.
I won’t be able to put my thoughts into print–accurately. But here are some parts that are rolling through my head.
I loved those overalls. Never saw him in a new pair. Just a continual string of used overalls. Never saw him wear anything but a free cap. And if you commented on the cap, you got a commentary on why he wore it.
I remember the days of Joe Ed & Kenneth Helms, Ralph Shafer, Tommy & Steve Morriss having a sale south of Sonora. Shitty spray painted sign. They would have some sales with a goat or two that would bring some jack. Back in those days, a couple of Morriss goats would bring some money. But the rest, not so much. Ralph, yeah, one or two and Helms, yes. They had goats there. Then the rest were skinny, green and scary. So, I bought several. Then more the next year. Then more the next year. Joe Ed met me up front one year. He looked me in the eye, shook my hand and said, “I’m glad that you are here. We’ve got some skinny goats and they aren’t bad. I know that they will sell in your price range. We appreciate you being here.” JEEZ, thanks. You are correct. But…..
The first goat that I ever bought from the Helms crew, for my own kids, was a wether that sold at the Lone Star Elite sale in 2008. It was Kela’s senior year. I gave more than I was used to. And, and at that time, the amount that I gave was more than Joe Ed and Kenneth were used to getting for a damned goat. $2,200. Joe Ed asked me if he needed to verify if the funds were good on the check.
By the way, that goat was named “Joe Ed” and he was reserve grand at the OK State Fair in ’08, res. div. 5 at the Tulsa State Fair (Kela also had champ div. 5). The wether was an actual S100. Most of you clowns only know that buck as a sales point.
In May of 2009, I backed out of being a partner on a buck. In June of 2009, at Tommy Morriss’ sale facility, Joe Ed Helms asked me, “Did my son screw up spending all that money on that midget goat?”
I looked him in the eyes and said, “No sir! I’m the one that screwed up. You better buy in because that goat will make you famous.” I still do not know if he owned part of 191 or not. No matter to me, but at least once a year since then, he and I have walked over to that pen and looked at 191 and shared sarcastic, shitty comments about the goat industry. And acknowledged the living legend “191”.
And when the first 191’s were hatched and available, I was there. I took the wrong one according to Joe Ed and Kenneth. The hell I did! At first, I wanted to name that goat “Jukebox Hero.” Then, I got a partner. He knew what the name “Jukebox Hero” meant to me. But he wasn’t feeling it. In typical Tyke fashion, “I like that name but I just want to name him Joe Dirt. Not that Joe Ed is dirty. But I’ve never seen him cleaned up and it just feels right.” Dude, as always, Tyke was right. Joe Dirt it would be and it fit. There ain’t no cleaned up glamour shot of that buck and he did his job. Much like his namesake.
Joe Ed liked Kela. He loved getting Tammy stirred up a bit. He tolerated me but he really liked Duke.
Talking irrigation wells, sweet potatoes, the goat industry, that stubborn son of his, politics in government and the goat industry, the value of an air conditioner in that kubota utv, the value of a dollar or why you don’t ever serve hot dogs at a labor day sale–pick a topic. I only seem opinionated. That dude had his thoughts and they were right and you were wrong. I loved it.
My three favorite Joe Ed comments.
3–“Do you think that you over-spent for that little goat?” Joe Ed on Labor Day of 2012. My reply–“No sir! I’m just afraid that I should have tried to buy that one, J086 and that inbred bastard when I was there and they were all little. Plus there is a little one that I want but Kenneth wasn’t going to price him.” Those would become Rumour Has It, I 40, X Factor and 599X. (In April of 2012, I knew to buy them all. But at that time, that was a lot of money. Hell, it still is. I’d still do it if I saw a fleet like that again. Regardless of species.)
2–“You quit that John Deere gig? You going to be like that fat, crooked bastard and just trade goats for a living?” Me–“No. I can make a go of it without being crooked or being fat. But, it would help if you and your son sold me goats cheaper.”
Joe Ed—“Do you know what it costs to raise these things?” Me–“Yes.” Him–“Well, it ain’t cheap.”
1–“You’ve got good kids. I like that girl but she moved to California. That boy is a worker. I like him and he’s polite. It’s a good thing that they take after that wife of yours.”
I liked him and more importantly, my family liked Joe Ed Helms. Rest In Peace my friend. And prayers to the family.