Page 6:: Ubetcha Apparel Page 8:: Painting what he knows. Western artist Tim Cox finds his muse in western life
Page 11:: Born to Buck. Dave P. Fisher. Page 17:: Working the Cowherd. Jon Griggs
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Page 14:: New South Dakota Bronze maker to watch - Mavis Madison. Page 18: Open Range Magazine's Humorous Story, “Anyone Can Guide” by Dave P. Fisher
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Editor/Publisher Amanda Smith Photographer Amanda Smith Staff Writer Codi Vallery Article Contributor Dave P. Fisher Staff Writer/Senior Publication Representative Mike Velasquez Senior Marketing Representative Chirs Aspinall Gaffer Rosco Oruzco Staff Writer and Photographer Jessica Smith Graphics and Layout Dignified Designs and Ginger Ludtke of Ratgraphics Published by Dignified Designs - Glenrock, Wyoming Executive Assistant to the Editor Jessica Smith Subscribe online: www.openrangemagazine.com or at www.magazines.com Or mail the enclosed subscription card to: Open Range Magazine P.O. Box 1207 Glenrock, Wyo. 82637 Cover Photo “Dahli Cowboy ” © Amanda Smith Ranch Rodeo Photo © Amanda Smith www.countryandwesterncowboy.com Cover Photo: © David Stoecklein - titled "winter Save"
Where can you find a clothing company â€œfirmly rooted in not only the cowboy and western lifestyle, but also the mentality behind the savvy men and women who came before us and paved the road, and those yet to come who, will carry on the tradition?â€?
By Jessica Smith
time job and I decided I was going to go full-time with this and that's what I've been doing since." Gambill's company is actually a two-part entity-the first and foremost being an apparel company, the other a custom graphics company, Jayann Design,
ry Ubetcha Apparel out of East Helena, Montana! Owned and operated by Jenny Gambill, this up-and-coming clothing store has already carved a niche for itself with the 'casual cowboy' set. Miss Gambill, who does all her own designs, also creates the clothing, packages the clothing, and ships the clothing...in short, she does it all! "It is quite the undertaking!" she stated. Jenny, who is no stranger to hard work, explains where she learned her work ethic. "I was raised on kind of a farming/ranching-type background. I've worked on several large ranches around Montana and Wyoming, ...[and] helped a cutting horse trainer for a long time," she said, "I worked in just about every industry pretty much imaginable in the state of Montana." Gambill even worked a desk job for a while along with assorted other jobs, but was never far from her true passion, which is graphic design. "I have a degree in graphic design and web design, so that's where I got started," she said, "Long before then, I had plans of starting some kind of design company." Jenny wanted her company to be built in the 'American Way' as she terms it...which is to start it small, build it up, and not incur a lot of debt. "I just didn't feel that was the way I wanted to [go]," she explained, "I didn't want to have to [worry] about money all the time." "I started it pretty small," Gambill continued, "Just doing an on-line type of thing...and then, back in May, I actually lost my full-
which adds to and keeps the apparel end going. Not only does Jenny Gambill own and operate her own company by herself...she also watches her fourmonth-old neice, screening t-shirts, packing orders, and sending them off in the mail. "They laugh at me at the Post Office when they see me coming with bunches and bunches of t-shirts that need to go out," she said chuckling, "and I've got this little blue-eyed, blonde-haired kid...I guess they just don't see that kind of thing so much anymore...I've got to get this stuff done, and we just go do our thing." Jenny Gambill, by the way, is a mere 28 years old. When it came time to figure out how to get her clothing out there and noticed, Gambill made a very smart move--she created Team Ubetcha. "I didn't know how to get the name out...where people around me are going to see it...and in just kind of talking to rodeo people, cutting horse people--anybody that would listen, assembled a team," she explained, "I thought, 'Well, I'll just start giving stuff out and offering sponsorships' and that's how Team Ubetcha started." Gambill's 'living billboard' team currently consists of two rodeo clowns, entertainers, bareback riders, and ranch roping people who wear her apparel to public events and beyond. "I wanted everybody to feel like they were a part of the team and that seems to be working really well..." she said, "I'm looking at making it more pronounced as far as the company goes because it is...turning into a big deal. I didn't expect that, but I'm going to take it!" And what of the name? Where does one come up with a name like 'Ubetcha'? "It actually was just kind of a joke," Jenny admits, "a friend of mine down in Texas and I would always joke--we would say, 'Oh, you bet!' and then it got shortened to 'you betcha' and that's just where it kind of came out...we both one day said, 'Well, that would be an awesome name for a clothing company because it's so easy to remember, everybody says it...and it really kind of defines my belief of Yes, you bet I can do that!'" Gambill, although the sole owner, designer, employee for her company(s), is not hard to reach and the turnaround time for her apparel and graphic designs is very fast. Generally, she can have a regular order finished in less than a week, and custom designs can take as little as a week or "as long as it takes" to satisfy the customer. Jenny travels with a vehicle full of her product and orders can be placed online, by phone, or at vending shows where she is present. "Anybody can pretty much get a hold of me through oubetcha.com," she said. To see Jenny's amazing creations or to contact her for a custom order, visit her website at www.oubetcha.com for contact information.
Painting what he knows Western artist Tim Cox finds his muse in western life
Where the sun shines.
western lifestyle can always find a small piece of themselves in each painting. “Art is about feelings,” says Tim. “Mine are first hand and that is why I don’t paint anything else.” Today, Tim lives on a small ranch near Bloomfield, N.M. where he runs cutting horses and puts up hay, but there was a time when he and his wife Suzie made a living cowboying for ranches that no one else would. “We have lived and worked in the most remote places. Those without electricity, where we have to cut wood and I would run a trap line,” says Tim. “Once when we were living in a tin shed I would paint at night by Coleman lantern and bundled against the cold.” Tim’s family was pioneers to Arizona where they farmed and ranched. His great granddad Tim Blevins was a cattle trader, operating Blevins Land & Cattle. While Tim himself didn’t grow up on the family ranch he did spend time cowboying for local ranches during his youth. It’s because of this ranching background that Tim
y now he has spent several days this fall helping his friends gather and wean cattle off the New Mexico range. He eagerly participates in these annual ranch practices, which allow him to reconnect with the subjects of his paintings – cowboys, horses and cattle –and offers a chance for him to
recharge his creative batteries. Artwork by western artist Tim Cox has found a place in the hearts and the homes of many of today’s farm and ranch families. The colors and realism of his pieces will make a hurried passerby slowdown for closer glimpse; those lucky enough to have lived a
is able to portray western scenes with such accuracy and intimacy. Well that, and his natural artistic ability. Tim says he can’t remember a time in which he wasn’t drawing or doodling on something. “It’s just always been a part of me,” he says. At a very early age a schoolteacher recognized his talent and encouraged his parents to nurture the young artist’s abilities. They did, along with many of his schoolteachers who gave him special privileges. “If I got done with a test or spelling quiz early I was allowed to draw on the tops of the pages before handing them in,” says Tim. At the age of 12 he sold his first painting to a schoolteacher and muses that he also sold little drawings to his classmates, too. “Later I was allowed to do some larger school projects and even painted the wild cat mascot on the center court for my school,” he says. He married barrel racer Suzie Newby soon after graduating from high school and then enrolled at Brigham Young University to take art classes for six months. Tim speaks fondly of the people and professors that helped him hone his craft at BYU. Among them are Bill Whitiker and Gordon Snidow. “Gordon took me in. He would let me paint and then would critique my work. He was so helpful to me,” says Tim.
Just about home.
After BYU he and Suzie ventured off from one remote ranching job to another. Meanwhile his paintings were gaining attention and soon the A.T. Cox signature meant something in the world of western art. Quickly his artwork was not just coveted by past middle school teachers, but thousands of others who loved the color and details of his paintings. Tim and Suzie bought a place near Eagle Creek, Ariz. in 1979 and began to raise their children Jake and Calla while working for the Slash Anchor Ranch. Soon after the move Tim’s work appeared on a magazine cover for the first time. The front cover splash quickly turned his paintings into sought after cover art for magazines like Western Horseman, BEEF, The Cattleman, and Quarter Horse Journal. It also propelled him into the art gallery arena and he soon had originals on display at several galleries. His limited edition prints were also a success. Galleries nation wide say he is one of today’s most popular print artists. From his success it is evident he has solidified himself a spot in western art history. In 2003, Tim was honored with one of the most prestigious awards in the world of western art at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, when the National Academy of Western Art chose his painting "On to Better Pastures" for the coveted Prix
I should have been a stockbroker.
de West Purchase Award which includes a $5,000 cash award plus a gold medal. It was chosen out of the work of ninety-two highly acclaimed artists. While he has received numerous awards for his talent, it hasn’t changed his other desire to be outside tending to his cutting horses or changing irrigation water on his hay fields. “I spend almost 18 hours a day painting, but I get to sneak in a ride here and there,” he says. The Cox family entered into the cutting horse industry after Tim met horseman Dick Gaines at the Western Heritage Art Show. Dick was admiring Tim’s artwork and Tim himself was wishing he could own one of Dick’s cutting horses. The two struck a deal that allowed both to be happy – Gaines with an A.T. Cox painting and Tim with a started cutting mare out of King Fritz. Tim completed the final training on the mare and then showed her at several local cuttings before she was injured and retired to broodmare status. Coxes have produced award-winning foals out of the mare and invested in other top cutting horses through the years.
Future plans for the family include Calla starting a horse program on the ranch at Bloomfield and son Jake starting a career in veterinary medicine. Tim and Suzie will continue to produce paintings and prints. Still a well-loved artist, Tim is invited annually to paint for numerous museums, galleries and western functions. This fall he spent time painting pieces for Phoenix Art Museum and Oklahoma’s Cowboy Hall of Fame. His most recent work “Good Horses Make Good Cowboys”, a range cutting horse piece, opened at the Phoenix museum Nov. 16. To up-and-coming artists Tim leaves these last comments of advice, “Turn out the best artwork you can. Keep quality number one and selling secondary. If it is quality people will buy it.” A practice he has perfected.
Dave P. Fisher
t gets a little stifling behind the chutes, not much air moves in the tight quarters. You taste the dust and hear the gloves stripping down the bull ropes to make the rosin sticky. You hear the clanging bells. These are the familiar sounds that tell you that you are right where you want to be. That old feeling rises up inside of you – a mixture of excitement, adrenalin rush, and just a twinge of nervousness. You drew up a money bull and if you ride him right, you go to the pay window. If you miss a beat, you eat dirt or worse. You straddle the chute and carefully lower the bell and rope down the side of the bull. You step over the bull with a boot on each side of the chute. You slip a leg down each side of the bull and run your glove up and down the tail of your rope, heating the rosin one more time, and then you slip your hand in the handle. You wrap the plaited tail around the back of your hand and lay it back in your palm. Squeeze the glove tight, pound your fingers down, take a deep seat, and nod your head. The gate flies open in one smooth swing, the bull explodes out like a locomotive; you hook your spurs into his tough hide and move your free arm in time with his powerful twists and turns. The whistle blows, the bull fighter moves in, you jerk the wrap and hit the ground. You are on your way to the pay window. So, what made this bull different than any other you’ve been on? He was a real pro in the chute, didn’t fight or get dirty, but when he hit the arena he exploded like he was born to buck. That’s because he was born to buck. His mother was carefully selected and had bucking bull genes in her, and his sire was a champion bucking bull. Now, he’s a professional bucking bull as well, that’s what he does for a living. He’s a product of the Born To Buck program, that for over forty years has made new inroads in bettering rodeo bucking stock. The Brahma Bull was known to be an ornery cattle breed. This bull was more than willing to twist a man off his back, but they had a nasty tendency to fight rather than buck. When they bucked, they bucked
hard; but when they went man hunting, they were just plain deadly. Contractors began crossing the Brahmas with other cattle breeds trying to get a bull that would buck rather than fight. Progress was made and a better bucking bull was developing. The face of rodeo was rapidly changing into a huge spectator draw and people wanted to see cowboys riding wild. By the 1960’s, the available bulls were stretched out rather thin. A string full of dinks that hip-hopped around a bit didn’t impress growing rodeo audiences, didn't make the cowboy any money, nor did it earn the contractor a return contract. Exceptional buckers were few and far between. In the business, concerns arose as to what the future of rodeo would be if the few good buckers, finally reached old age and died off, leaving only second-rate buckers to make the cowboys and audiences happy. There is always someone who steps out as a leader and who is ahead of his time. In the world of rodeo that man was Bob Barmby, a stock contractor out of Lockford, California. Barmby had a string of truly rank bucking bulls; it was not uncommon for his bulls to buck off every bull rider at the show. He began to breed his bulls in an attempt to create more bulls that were as good at bucking cowboys off as the string he was hauling around. One of the good buckers he took to rodeos was a bull named Wirley Gig, who sired a bull that Barmby named Oscar, after Oscar Heard to whose place he would bring his bulls for training until they were ready for competition. Oscar was brought along like the other young bulls on Heard’s Turlock, California, ranch until Barmby felt he was ready to join the string. Oscar proved to be such a tremendous bucker that, for the first five years Barmby bucked him, no man ever rode him to the whistle. Oscar became a superstar in the world of professional bull riding. It wasn’t until 1975, that John Davis made the first qualifying ride on Oscar at the Salinas, California, rodeo. Still, the most memorable ride on him was the second one made by Donnie Gay, eight times World Champion Bull Rider, in Oakdale, in 1977. Gay rode Oscar to the unheard of
score of 97 points, a record that held for over two years. Bob Barmby and Oscar were pioneers in what is widely known today as the Born To Buck breeding program for rodeo bucking stock. Rank bulls could still occasionally be found and added to contractors’ strings, but the endless search for decent rodeo animals was coming to an end. Contractors could take the best of their animals and breed them, just as cattle and horses had been for centuries, only here the soughtafter result was animals that bucked for a living. Oscar was responsible for siring many of the bulls that were instrumental in the Born to Buck program’s success. One of those was Oscar’s Velvet, who was purchased by Christensen Brothers Rodeo Company out of Eugene, Oregon. Oscar’s Velvet went on to become the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) Bucking Bull of the Year for 1983. Oscar’s line continued as Barmby sold his company to RSC, Inc., stock contractors. During their run with the Oscar line, RSC took eleven bulls to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) one year and none of them were ridden. In the late 1970’s, RSC sold out to the Growney Brothers who continued the line. From out of the Growney string, came Oscar’s grandson, Wolfman. Wolfman took Wade Leslie to a 100 point ride in 1991. Like Bob Barmby, men of vision worked beside him and saw the wisdom in the breeding program. Cotton Rosser, owner of the Flying U Rodeo Stock Company, was one of those men. Cotton Rosser’s story is significant in the success of the modern day Born To Buck
Copyright © Amanda Smith
program. Speaking with Cotton, I learned of his history and the development of one of, if not the most successful and longest running bull breeding programs going today. He began to breed for bulls in the 1980’s. Among these early bulls were Copenhagen One Eye and Dodge Ram Tough. The most outstanding bull in that string was Oscar Velvet’s son Whitewater Skoal, a champion bucking bull in his own right. Cotton said that Whitewater Skoal passed away, but four of his sons are still bucking in the string, including the NFR bull Troubadour. The Flying U’s Born To Buck bull program is running 90 cows that are being bred to four primary bulls: Reindeer who was retired from bucking in 2008, Big Mike who will be retired this year either at the Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR) Finals or the NFR, and Domino and Troubadour who are still bucking. The program has produced 100 bulls, some presently bucking and some are coming up as two to three year olds. Cotton explained that the young animals are brought up slow and easy, nothing is forced on them. Bulls are started at two years of age with younger, lighter-weight riders giving the young bull a chance to develop and find his own speed and power. There is no guarantee the young bull will develop into a bucker. The chances of a foal turning into a bucker is better due to the fact that whichever the mare throws, be it a colt or filly, the potential for it to be a bucker is there. Where bulls are concerned, the cow has to birth a bull calf in order for it to be a potential for the string.
This program, and the training process for bringing Should the cow birth a heifer it is not a loss as this heifer will grow into a breeder that already has buck- up young bucking stock, has greatly improved the ing bull genes in her, thus improving the line. If she sport of rodeo. The bulls coming up through this probirths a bull calf, he is born with bucking genes from gram are bred to buck and are no longer just bucking both sides, thus improving the chances he will turn because they don’t like a person on their back. They into a bucker himself. The success rate at the Flying U buck harder and cleaner, requiring the riders to for the young animals developing into competition improve their skills to make winning rides. So, how does a champion bull become a champion? He's taken buckers is 60 to 70% for both horses and bulls. to rodeos all across the Animals that never country to compete. The develop are sold off. The better the bull bucks the bulls that show potential, more impressive they once they are past their are to the cowboys and initial training, are other rodeo insiders. brought to rodeos where Honesty on the part of they have a chance to the animal to buck with a throw a rider. They learn lot of heart, not fight in that the harder they buck, the chute, and a cowthe better their chances of boy’s success on the aniunloading the rider. mal all adds up. The These animals actually cowboys vote on the become as excited about stock they like the best the game and try just as and want to draw. hard to win as the riders Cowboys want to draw a do. As evidence, a bull bull or bronc at finals, be that loves to buck for the it regional, PBR, or NFR, pure love of bucking is that they can win on. The easy in the chute. They harder the animal bucks don’t waste their energy the better chance the fighting the box; they are cowboy has of earning a not mean or looking to high score. The animals hurt the rider. They came receiving the most votes to buck and when the go to the finals. chute gate opens, they put all their energy into The animals can also unloading the rider. be awarded additional When the ride is finished, Copyright © Amanda Smith - Bulls Only Rodeo. honors such as Bull of they trot off like a man the Year and Bronc of the getting off work at the Year at the finals by the end of his shift. cowboys. Contractors can vote for a fellow contracBucking stock at The Flying U live a pretty easy life. tor’s bull to be given specific awards. Animals that are An animal will buck four to six times a month and repeatedly voted into the finals, or win other honors, then be rotated back to the ranch for a rest. gain in importance as breeders just as with Oscar, Meanwhile, the next rotation of stock goes on the everyone wanted a bull calf from him. road. On average an animal from The Flying U will What is the outlook for the Born To Buck program? work an average of ten minutes a year and spend the Excellent, to say the least. The program has proved its rest of the time on good pasture. Rodeo features sev- worth in producing an ever-improving line of rodeo eral events that require cattle but it is the rough stock bulls. As the animals get better, rodeo gets better. It’s events that are the bread-and-butter moneymakers for a win–win situation whichever way you look at it. The any rodeo stock contractor. Where at one time there next time you go to a rodeo and watch the bulls buck, was a continuous search for quality horses and bulls keep in mind these are not just animals bucking, these that would buck, now these animals are being pro- are the products of careful research, development, and duced right on the contractor’s own ranch. There, champion bloodlines. These animals are athletes that under watchful eyes, and supplemented by the study buck for a living because they were born to do just of genetics, the contractor maintains the hope that that. each new bull calf could be another Oscar.
By Codi Vallery-Mills
Left: Mavis Madison of Rapid City, S.D. is incorporating her love of bronzes with her western heritage to create her own unique works.
ing w o e gr our s r o a h at was e. d a h h im ays vis. “T r past .” w l a a s ou “We says M nt and t friend up,” tainme our bes r ente y were The
he says she has a lot to learn, but already Mavis Madison’s bronzes are catching the eye of others. Maybe it’s in the detailing or maybe it’s the story that accompanies each bronze made, either way Mavis is one South Dakota artist to watch. Born into the Madison family known for their bucking broncs, Mavis grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota around horses, rodeo and cowboys. She herself is an adept horsewoman having shown Quarter horses for more than 20 years. “We always had a horse growing up,” says Mavis. “That was our entertainment and our pastime. They were our best friends.” In the last several years she has taken up bronze work. Studying under South Dakota sculptor John Lopez, Mavis has now created several bronzes and has been asked to appear at art shows in the region. “I have always loved bronze works, but I couldn’t always afford the pieces I wanted,” says Mavis. “Four years ago I thought to myself, ‘why not try making my own?’” She admits it took her a year to muster up the courage to call artist John Lopez to see if he would mentor her. She shouldn’t have feared too much, as he welcomed her readily. Mavis took five classes from Lopez and soon was able to begin producing sculptures of her own. “I have a very long way to go yet,” says Mavis of her education and experience. “I hope to get more professional training. I can sculpt from the outside rather well, but need to learn how to sculpt from the inside too.” Drawing from own family rodeo and ranch heritage is the basis of her bronzes. Most of the artworks incor-
porate horses and all of them tell a story. The bronze “Watering on the Cheyenne” is a recreation of the wild horse band known as the “Whitehorse Band”, which resided north of Wall, S.D. Mavis’ grandfather Russ and eight others finally captured the horses at the Mattie Goff Newcomb ranch January 9, 1926. Many of those horses were incorporated into the Madison bucking string. A T e x a s Longhorn n a m e d “Rusty” is the inspiration for her bronze “Headin’ for the Pine Hill”. The steer was resident at the Andy Ridley ranch south of St. Onge, S.D. for 21 years. One of Mavis’ most memorable pieces is of the late South Dakota bull rider Shane Drury. Drury lost a battle with cancer in 2006. He was a tough rodeo cowboy with a deep faith. Each year at the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo a contestant is selected
who replicates the faith and true grit of Drury and given a “Keeping the Faith/True Grit Award”. For 2009-2010 Mavis is working on a bronze collection of saddles. She already has created a bronze saddle for the Casey Tibbs Museum in Ft. Pierre. She herself is a saddle collector and will be using many of the saddles from her own collection as models for the miniature bronze saddles.
South Dakota saddlemakers E.C. Lee, OckermanDuhamel, Duhamel, Fox, Shiner and Streeter will be used for the new series. For more about Mavis Madison and her bronze works visit www.madisonranchbronzes.com
Mavis at work in her studio.
“Prosperity”. Background photo: In memory of Mavis’s late father, Stanley Madison. “Waterin’ on the Cheyenne” depicts a glimpse of the infamous allusive “White Horse herd” of the Northern Badlands region watering on the Cheyenne River north of Wall, SD. These horses alluded capture for over 25 years but were finally corralled on January 9th, 1926 and put into the Madison bucking string. They were said to have been some of the wildest, roughest stock in the country.
Bi-Monthly Submission to Open Range Magazine by Jon Griggs
or most operations in the Northern Great winters can be brutal so any cow that's not fit for such basin weaning of the calf crop is followed needs to be marketed before hand. Winter feed that byworking the cow herd. This entails a visu- has to be mechanically harvested is one of the most al inspection of each cow either through a expensive inputs for a ranch, so it doesn't make sense squeeze chute or open rodear for lameness to feed cows that aren't going to produce. Some ranchand bad order. Rodear is a Spanish word meaning "to es skip preg-testing and work off cows without calves in the Spring, which is historically a gather" it is the origin for the word better time to market them. rodeo and in this part of the country it After the cow work there is re-ridmeans gathering cattle to a fence corner ing, doctoring calves, shipping and so or flat spot and holding them there and on. Job security for a cowboy. working out the culls. It's also the traditional work that the sport of cutting The author, Jon Griggs is Second Vice originated from. President of the Nevada Cattleman's Generally each cow that makes the Association and Ranch Manager for the visual cut will be pregnancy tested by a Maggie Creek Ranch in Elco, Nevada let vet in a squeeze chute and if found Open Range Magazine know what with calf given vaccinations and deWorking the Cowherd is all about. wormed. This is done in the Fall www.nevadacattlemen.org because the cows are accessible- not The author, Jon Griggs. scattered on the range- and because
Anyone can Guide Dave P. Fisher
y partner Cleve and I were down at Hank’s Farm Store loading some T-posts and barbed wire into the truck. Now, we run the Plenty of Rocks Cattle Company up out of Winnemucca. We do all right, even if the boys at Charlie’s Bar call it the POR Ranch, but what do they know? Anyway, I’m loading the last roll of wire on the truck when this fellow walks up to me and asks if I can show him a buck. Well, right off I start to get mad. Nothing I hate more than a man too lazy to work who goes around bumming money. So, I let him have it. “I ain’t giving you no buck, you lazy varmint, but you can earn it by coming out to the place and doing some work.” I figured I hit him right where he lived and made him ashamed of himself, ‘cause he just stared at me. Then, he says, “You have me wrong. I don’t need money; I’ve got tons of that. I was hoping you could show me where I can get a buck deer.” Just then ol’ Cleve horns in, “There you go Jack, jumping to conclusions.” I set an evil look on him and snorted, “Then why didn’t he come right out and say that? I ain’t got all day to stand around trying to figure out what some dude’s talking about.” Now Cleve’s a good fellow, but he’s an optimistic sort who’s always on the lookout for a chance to make an extra dollar, usually at the expense of a yard of my hide. I knew he was up to something here, so I wracked my brain trying to think back on anything that dude had said that Cleve could have latched on to. Then it hit me. That dude said he had “tons of money.” I knew right then that I was dead.
Cleve starts in sounding like a used car salesman. “So, you want a buck, huh? Ever hunt around here before?” That dude shakes his head, “No, in fact I’ve never hunted before at all, but I’m excited to try it. My son is home from college, he’ll come too. I want to hire the best guide money can buy.” Here it comes, I thought to myself. Cleve puffs up, “Well, it just so happens we’re the best guides in the country and we can sure get you a deer.” I grabbed Cleve and yanked him back to me. “Are you crazy? We ain’t guides.” Cleve grinned, “Take it easy, I’ve got it all under control. Besides, it’s a father and son thing, ain’t that nice?” He turns back to the dude who’s got this ‘kid at Christmas’ look on his face. “I was just discussing it with my partner, seems we’ve got a date open next Monday. Now, what kind of hunt do you want, that will determine the price.” “We want one of those pack trips like I read about in the hunting magazines.” “No problem, we can do that for say . . . five hundred a man.” That dude grabs his hand like a pump handle and pumps it until I was expecting Cleve to start spitting up water. “You’ve got a deal.” “Fine, you boys come up to the ranch on Monday and we’ll get your adventure started.” By now, I’m hot enough to pop a row of corn. “You are crazy; I ain’t taking no dudes out hunting, them with guns and all.” Cleve gives me one of those ‘its okay’ looks, “A thousand bucks that easy, Pard! I’ve never made so much so fast. It ought to be a crime.” “It won’t be as easy as you figure and I think, in fact,
it is a crime. Don’t we need licenses, permits, and that sort of thing?” “We’re just going hunting, what’s the harm in that? Just relax, Jack. Shoot, anyone can guide.” The fun all started come Monday morning when that dude pulls up in his car. I was having my second cup of coffee when he gets out with this kid who was packing more baby fat than a fresh weaned calf. I just stood there staring; they were both in them redchecked coats and britches with the pants legs shoved into their shiny new lace up boots. Our little cow dog Buck tucked his tail and ran back into the barn and hid. I wondered if I shouldn’t follow him. I yelled out to Cleve, Hey, your dudes are here.” Cleve he comes bounding out, pushes open the door and just sort of freezes in place, midair, like one of those cartoon characters. “You have a good time Cleve, I’m having another cup.” Cleve gets himself out there and smiles. “Get your gear. Let’s get packed and on the trail.” Well, they started to pull stuff from every nook and cranny of that car. They had boxes and bags stacked up five feet high. Cleve’s jaw was slack as he stared at the growing pile of junk; I just laughed thinking about how he had asked for it. Cleve brought out the horses and went to packing. After a while, he had six horses packed to the first row of the pine branches. I didn’t figure Hannibal had that much junk when he crossed the Alps. Then, it really got interesting when it was time for them boys to mount up. They tried every way but the right way. Cleve was sweating like a sinner at a preaching trying to get them mounted. I finally felt sorry for him and decided to help. I grabbed the hotshot and headed out the door. Cleve stopped me and wanted to know what I was planning to do with that cattle prod. “Helping you get these boys mounted.” Cleve declined my help and we finally got them on the trail. We rode along for hours up into the desert hills and those boys were quickly losing their excitement ‘bout the trip. We picked a campsite and let them dismount. They landed on the ground moaning and groaning and walking like they were in pain. The kid says, “Where’s the bathroom, and where can I take a shower?” Holding the most serious face I could I told him, “There’s a waterhole over yonder, but its got alkali in it, prune you up like a baby in bathwater. As to the other, you can pick out any bush or rock that strikes your fancy. The kid stared at me, looking for all the world like a dead trout. I’m not quite as sociable as Cleve, and our idea of humor is a might different too. My humor tends to run more cowboy, you know, seize it where you see’s it. So I says, “Now, ain’t this fun? I’m going out to kill a couple of rattlesnakes for supper. Throw in a few sage rats and you’ve got a first rate stew.” You should have seen the looks on their faces. I slapped the kid on the back, “I was just kidding; I
Dave P. Fisher
ave grew up wild and wooly running through the hills of Western Oregon, hunting, running traplines, and in general being anywhere that did not have a roof over it. It was only a natural progression that he would find his way to herding cows and riding broncs in rodeos. It was also natural for him to go from there to becoming a horsepacker and hunting guide, horseshoer, bronc buster, and teaching folks how to stay on top of a horse and not fall off. In a nutshell, to make his living in any way that kept him under the western sky and in the saddle. That life took him through Oregon, up to the wilds of Alaska, and all through the Rocky Mountains, finally coming to rest in Colorado as the Packer and riding instructor for Rocky Mountain National Park. The many years of enduring rain, sleet, snow, and being a popsicle with a hat on frozen solidly into his stirrups, not to mention being kicked, stomped, run over, and in general throwed and rolled on finally took it’s toll on his body and produced enough bodily damage to take him out of the game, but not out of the saddle. To compensate Dave began to write about the cowboy life he always loved and still holds dear. To date he has become an internationally published author of magazine articles, western novels, short stories, and cowboy poetry. He was awarded the 2008 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Outstanding estern Fiction for his western short story collection Bronc Buster – Short Stories of the American West. He has also collected several “Reader’s Choice Awards” for his short stories. Dave incorporates his vast background and knowledge of the West and its people to make his stories and poems come to life. His specialty is telling a few serious, but mostly humorous, stories and poems in the style of Robert Service, but Service never met some of the characters that Dave has created. To boot, all of Dave’s stories and poems are original, created from his own deep well of seeing the world from the cowboy side. Dave has been a featured Cowboy Poet and Western Humorist in shows in Nevada, California, and Oregon. He has also been invited to speak to groups about the history of the West and the cowboy. His audiences have said that he is creative, funny, a good poet, a good writer, and clever. His friends and family just shake their heads and smile, all knowing the real truth, that he got throwed down on his head one too many times. You can learn more about Dave at his website: www.davepfisher.com
never put in sage rats, they always give me gas.” They rolled into their bags early as Cleve sat staring into the campfire. I sat down and jabbed him in the ribs, “What now, bwana?” “I have to admit they’re a bit greener than I thought, but I’ve got it all under control. I just looked at him, “A bit green?” He wasn’t about to own up to his mistake. “Okay, a lot green, but you have to look at the big picture. We’ll get them a couple of deer tomorrow and be on our way home a thousand richer.” The morning started out bad and went downhill from there. First, they wouldn’t get out of bed. Then when they did, they wanted breakfast and the kid wanted strawberry waffles. That just about did it for me. I was ready to saddle my horse and leave Cleve to his dudes, but he begged me to stay and help, so like a fool I did. We finally got them to riding and spent the morning listening to them complain about how their backsides hurt. Then we walked and it was like driving a herd of buffalo through the brush, but they were consistent I had to give them that. There wasn’t a dry twig they didn’t step on or a rock they didn’t trip over. After a couple of hours of this they were worn out and wanted to go back to camp, so we did. That’s when they started to whine about the food, and having to potty behind a rock, and no showers, and no strawberry waffles. Also, since deer weren’t jumping into their laps it was our fault. Well, it was time to cut this association short, no matter how much Cleve had it under control. I waited until dark and we had a fire going. They were still whining when I said it, and to this day I ain’t sorry either. I started by shaking my head, “You know boys, I was afraid of this.” Well, that froze them mid-whine. They stared at me. I poked a stick in the fire like I was contemplating real hard. “Yup, it’s a dire situation.” They were really looking now. I looked up at them over the fire, “The reason we ain’t seen any deer is because of the wild Mountain Banshees. It’s their time, you know . . . the seventh year.” Their eyes got big as snuff cans. The dad leans toward me, “Mountain Banshees, the seventh year,
what does that mean?” “It’s something that happens only around here. For six years they grow in the ground and on the seventh, they crawl up and out. Why, such terror you’ve never seen in your life, I saw one once when I was a kid.” I gave a big shake. “You don’t ever forget. They eat every deer they find, and that’s why the deer go into hiding. And when they can’t find deer, they eat men. I’m afraid they’re out there.” Just about then, a bunch of coyotes cut loose and those boys left the ground. “Yup, that’s them.” Those dudes got all scared and demanded that we take them home right now. “In the dark?” I acted all worried-like. Yup, they wanted out right then and there. I got up and started for the horses. “Okay. You boys must be mighty brave to chance the Banshees at night. The last fellow I knew never made it, but, whatever you want.” That’s when they changed their minds and decided to stay put until morning. Come morning they were still sitting up at the fire. We packed them back to the ranch and said good bye. They said they were headed for the bar, I told them to try Charlie’s. “You learn anything Cleve, always running off halfcocked?” Before he could answer, a truck pulled into the yard with Game Warden showing on it. This big fellow with a gun, dark glasses and an unhappy frown walks up to us. “You boys know of any illegal guiding going on up here?” We both shook our heads, “Not us, we were just getting set to ride out.” He looked at our pack horses and back at us. “Okay, but keep your eyes open.” That’s when Cleve says, “Yes sir, we sure will. Shoot, everyone knows not just anyone can guide.” I wondered if I should wait until the Warden left before I killed him.
By Jessica Smith "I have been known as 'Montana's Singing Cowboy' since I was very young...because I am a cowboy and have been all my life, and then the good Lord just happened to give me the talent to be able to sing and write and perform." Thus began the interview with T.J. Caseycowboy poet, singer, songwriter, and teacher. Mr. Casey, who has played guitar since he was five, has not only written award winning poetry and songs, but also takes very seriously his role model status when it comes to the children he comes in contact with. He works hard to bring the 'Code of the West' to younger generations through various residency projects with schools. "I do like working with kids," he said, "I just got back from Madison, South Dakota...I was there for a full week in school and it was awesome!" During these classes, Casey uses cowboy poetry to inspire the natural talent and imagination of his students, while building their confidence through their own self-expression. A person might think that the teaching would be all there is time for, but that person wouldn't know T.J. Casey very well. Having grown up on the family ranch, Casey is used to hard work and accomplishing things above and beyond what is expected of him shows through in the many awards he's received. From taking 1st in the National Songwriter Contest in 1984 to sharing the stage with Merle Haggard and the Everly Brothers in 1987 to sharing the stage with Dierks Bentley in 2004, T.J. Casey has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments and accolades right up to this year's "Best CountyWestern CD", which was awarded to his CD titled 'Pure "D" Cowboy' by the National Traditional County Music Association. While Casey is pleased with all of his accomplishments, there is one that stands out above the rest. "The one that [means] the most to me is the one that I just got this year (named above)...That means a whole lot to me--that means everything that I wrote on that album, it was picked because of my talents not because of...somebody else's talent somewheres, and that's the most important one to me now." "I am truly honored and humbled by that because...to be able to write all your life and then suddenly, 37 years of writing...here comes this award that you weren't even expecting...it's just pretty awesome!" So exactly how did this life-long cowboy get his start in this business? "I started writing when I was fourteen," Casey began and then remembered something that made him smile
before continuing, "Actually, I'm not exactly sure if this was the spark that caused me to write or not, but...I remember when we was thirteen and fourteen. Me and my other brother, we was giggling and laughing all night long and keeping everybody awake and about 3 or 4 times, Dad had said, "Shut up..." from the bedroom. You know how it is when you get to giggling with your friends, it's just so hard to quit...Well, it got to be 4 o'clock in the morning and we finally went to sleep." T.J. Casey continued the tale from there, "Well...at 5 o'clock Dad woke us up-we had Sunday off until we kept everybody awake giggling--and so he sent us to the hardest rock pile on the North end of the ranch and we had to take three posts out, put three railroad ties in those holes, and re-string the wire on them and when we got home that evening, we were worn because we'd stayed up all night-number one--got an hour of sleep and then we had to load up, go up there, and build that fence...well, we was so worn out I don't even think we wanted to eat supper, but we were in the bunkhouse and [I] laid down on the old bed...looked at him and I said, 'My back is sore, my eyes are red. I think it's time I went to bed' [and] that was the first lines of poetry I ever wrote!" Whatever the reason behind his entry into the poetry, song-writing business, it's clear that T.J. Casey has found his calling. "I put my heart and soul into what I write...," he said. He is currently working on many projects including an acapela Gospel album, a new CD, and a children's book, and has his eyes on what, for him, is the ultimate achievement--a Grammy. "I am right now...working for a Grammy. I would really like to see a Grammy happen," he said, "It takes a lot of work to get the Grammy...a lot of song writing, a lot of pressure, a lot of compositions, and just a lot of different things that go in." Casey credits his wife with keeping him lined out. "She is my biggest supporter," he stated appreciatively, "She's my manager, she takes care of my website, she gets the contacts and...I make the calls...and we work together at everything. That's the way it is and it's awesome!" Throughout all of his successes, T.J. Casey has continued with the 'Cowboy Way', remaining humble and kind and reachable to those around him. From writing and singing to teach-
ing younger generations about Western heritage, he truly puts his heart and soul into his work. Hopefully, the young people he inspires will be able to someday fill these oh-so-important boots and keep the Cowboy culture alive--a process begun and lovingly cultivated by none other
than T.J. Casey, Montana's Singing Cowoby. T.J.'s contact information along with a rundown of the programs he offers and a complete list of awards he has won may be found on his website atwww.tjcasey.net .
Did you Know Ol’ Santa Was A Cowboy
Cowboy’s Right Up To The End
When I heard the big commotion; I got up to see. What I saw just wasn’t like; I thought that it should be.
Today I met a Cowboy in a continental suit, a jawin’ with another out “Back behind the chute”.
Instead of tiny reindeer, and a big ol’ opened sleigh; I saw eight loaded pack mules and a big stout dapple gray.
I overheard the story another’s claim to fame; about an ornery bronc named “Old Red” and the cowboy, “Bill Mclain”.
When he came in through the kitchen; he weren’t blackened up with soot. He’d a never made the chimney; with that big ol’ sack of loot.
I heard “Little Joe the Wrangler” and “Utah Carol” too; not to forget the “Strawberry Roan” the list just grew and grew.
He weren’t dressed like all the stories; from his head down to his shoes. Instead he wore a big black hat, and his Wilson buckaroos.
Will there be “Sagebrush in Heaven” and a “Lonesome Coyote’s Whale” then I heard a cowboy quotin’ “Tyin’ Knots in the Devils Tail.”
Instead of milk and cookies, he had coffee, with a nip. And I heard him sort of chuckle; every time he took a sip.
Then my mind began to wander back to another time; I recalled my younger days these words I use to rhyme.
And when he left instead of placing his finger aside his nose. He got up and stretched and yawned a bit; and out the door he goes.
We sang about “Cool Water” and them “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds”; then about a man who rides “Ole Paint” and Dan’s the horse he leads.
Before he left I couldn’t believe; into nine, he split an apple. Gave a piece to each of the eight pack mules; and one to his big grey dapple.
Then the story of “Skyball Paint” and I was “Back in the Saddle Again”; why I hadn’t heard a lot of these since I can’t remember when.
Then he stepped aboard and rode away; headed for the trees. Before he disappeared I heard him say; Merry Christmas all and God Bless you and me. I didn’t know ol’ Santa was a cowboy;
Why the list goes on forever there’s more than a hand could count. There’s stories of horses, cowboys and cows; of buck offs wrecks and remounts.
‘Til he rode up to our house Christmas Eve. He had a big ol’ gunny sack, filled with fun and joy; then he started placing presents underneath our Christmas tree.
The thing that really amazes me the tales just keep, keepin’ on; and will ‘til the end of eternity when the human race is gone.
Did you know ol’ Santa was a Cowboy? Until that night, I never would believe; he had a sack of presents; one for every girl and boy. As he rode away he smiled and winked at me; Merry Christmas all and God Bless you and me.
There’ll be no stoppin’ the Cowboy like a river, there’s always a bend; and the Master above will guarantee there’ll be cowboys right up to the end.
innesota cowgirl poet Diane Tribitt has a new book of cowboy poetry that is chocked full of good stuff to read. Published by Beaver's Pond Press, Inc. Edina, Minnesota, Trail Mix is divided into ten chapters about cowboy poetry, cowboy sayin's, cowboy lingo, rodeo, poker, Native Americans, cowboy cooking and family photos. The 304 page book contains 41 pages of Diane's original poetry
The well-produced book is full of useful information. One can learn the meaning of the phrase "Hurricane Deck" in the Cowboy Lingo section, or learn how to prepare "Cowboy Stew" in the Chuck Wagon Cookin' section. The Special Features chapter features the songs and lyrics of songwriter, Will Dudley. Diane Tribitt captures the life of modern day cowboys in her poetry. She was awarded first place as a serious poet in the Silver Buckle division of the world's only Cowboy Poetry Rodeo held in Kanab, Utah in 2006; was named 14th Cowboy Poet Lariat Laureate of cowboypoetry.com and the 2008 AWA Cowboy Poet of the Year (female). In Trail Mix, Diane sums up her poetry, knowledge of rodeo as a rodeo secretary, and her experience as a ranch manager in an organized, easy-to-read manner. Trail Mix is definitely a book that needs to be added to any serious collection of cowboy poetry. For more information visit www.dianetribitt.com, www.BeaversPondPress.com, and www.cowboypoetry.com.
By Eileen Bennet
t first light, two wranglers mount up and ride off over the ridge in opposite directions. We get busy putting out the grain and before long the unmistakable sound of a hundred horses galloping closer begins to grow louder and louder. When they are all corralled the wrangler scatch and halter them, one by one. We all stand and wait outside the gate until we are handed a rope with a horse at the end of it. We take the horse, tie itup to let it eat and go back to gate to take another one. When every horse has been fed and checked and the ones who need any kind of treatment or medicine have been looked after,those that are not being used that day are released. The horses we will ride are taken down and tied up by the tack room. The next job is to groom and saddle your horse. The wranglers are fussy about how you saddle up. A slight crease in the saddle pad or an uneven fold in a blanket is a big deal when you add in a 70lb saddle, the weight of an adult and a long – maybe hot - day’s work. They watch closely, making minor adjustments, patiently explaining what goes where, and why. Once the horses are taken care of, we eat breakfast. By now, we have been up for about two hours and the smell of bacon and coffee drifting from the house is tantalising. Breakfast is very welcome. This is a typical morning at the Colorado Cattle Company; an early start (no matter what the weather) to see to the horses followed by a wonderful leisurely breakfast. The Colorado Cattle Company is an 10,000 acre working cattle ranch almost 3 hours north east of Denver and, like any farm, the work to be done is dictated by the weather, the season and, most importantly, the cattle. Nothing is set in stone here. There is no fixed scheduled program of events. The only certainties are great food, comfortable accommodation, amazing warm people, hard work, daily challenges and the adventure of a lifetime. I don’t know when or how or why or where it all
Eileen Bennett. Photo © Eileen Bennett
began, but from as far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a cowboy. My requests to Santa were always the same and he (almost) always delivered anew cowboy outfit every year. With my pair of six guns in their fake leather holsters on my hips, my shiny new Sheriff’s badge and my Stetson I was the fastest draw on our quite suburban road One Christmas morning I thought that Santa had made a terrible mistake when I found a doll and pram at the end of my bed. I was deeply disappointed until I realised that the pram, turned backwards and attached to my little sister, made a perfect covered wagon. She was the horse,the doll was the ‘women and children’ and I was the protector, riding shotgunaround the suburbs of South Dublin, keeping an eye out for ‘injuns’. There is real power in childhood dreams.They never go away. No matter where life takes you or what you become,somewhere at the back of your mind you’re still the cowboy or the astronaut orthe fire engine driver or the princess. Not everyone gets the opportunity to make those dreams come true – but I did! It took over 50 years, but I got to travel all the way from the West coast of Ireland to Northeast Colorado be a real,hard-working, trail-riding, cattle-driving cowb oy for a week. The Head Wrangler is in charge of making Photo © Eileen Bennett sure that whatever needs to be done gets
done. Over breakfast he tells us his plans for the day. You quickly learn that every plan is negotiable and can be changed in an instant if he gets news of a broken fence, an injured animal or a storm. The ability to be flexible, to go with the flow and to take life as it comes is vital to your enjoyment of this challenge. It’s the real laidback cowboy mentality. What has to be done, gets done. What doesn't "have" to get done and doesn’t get done, can wait. We might set off to check those 200 yearlings on Far Side and find, half way there, that some heifers have broken through a fence and are now in with the cows and calves so we change direction and deal with that. There is a lot of time spent of horse back and a lot of cattle work. The pace is varied; Sometimes a slow walk over roughor hilly terrain, sometimes a fast gallop. Every level of rider is catered for without any drama. If you want to walk everywhere, that’s perfect-
ly fine. If you prefer a faster pace, whenever possible you’ll be accommodated. Previous horse-riding experience is not essential because the Colorado Cattle Company is set up to deal with riders of all levels. All you really need is the willingness to get stuck in and to try everything at least once! This is a very physical challenge. Thejourney from Ireland is long and tough and the work on the ranch is demanding -a holiday it most certainly is not! – but if you’ve ever once wondered what it would be like to live and work like a real cowboy, the Colorado Cattle Company will provide the answer in glorious technicolour! Photo © Eileen Bennett
From Left to Right: Matt, Wrangler, Tom Carr (standing), the Ranch Owner, Frank Persson and his son Anton, both Wranglers. Photo © Eileen Bennett
Bunkhouse Recipesa Round-up of Classic and Contemporary Cowboy Cooking
Cowboy Sausage and Sweet Potatoes Old Fashioned Cowboy Soft Cakes 2 pounds sweet potatoes 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon salt 1 pound of your favorite sausage Parboil the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Peel and cut into strips. Place in greased oven. Mix sugars, butter, salt, water and boil in a saucepan. Pour syrup over the potatoes and bake for around 40 minutes. Place sausages on top and bake for and additional 30 minutes.
Cowboy Highball Featured Cowboy Cocktail at the Fire Rock Steakhouse in Casper, Wyoming. Recipe prepared by "Zeke" Head Bartender at the Fire Rock Steakhouse - Casper, Wyoming. 1/2 ounce Orange Curacao 1 1/2 ounce Jack Daniels 2 ounces Sweet and Sour 2 ounces Ginger Ale Fill half of 12 ounce tumbler with ice, combine above ingredients and stir gently until blended nicely. Serve to the tallest cowboy out there.
Conestoga Cream Style Corn Casserole"
1 cup buttermilk 2 eggs. beaten 1 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted 2 tablespoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 4 Cups all-purpose flour In the first bowl, mix buttermilk, eggs, sugar and melted butter until well blended. In a second bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flour. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the first bowl, stirring them together. This mix should be stiff enough to hold a spoon upright; if not, mix in more flour. Knead together lightly for a minute or so, then turn out onto a floured board or countertop. Use a rolling pin, empty bottle or the heel of your hand to roll out to about one finger-width high (1/4 inch). Cut circles out with a small glass and set aside for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour 1 inch of oil in a large skillet and heat to 375 degrees F. It's hot enough when a bread cube browns in about 1 minute. Slide the circles into the frying pan and brown one side. Turn over and brown the other. Set out to drain on a plate covered with paper towels. Cover with powdered sugar and eat warm.
1 can (#2) cream style corn 1 cup milk 1 egg, beaten 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup fresh bread crumbs 1/4 cup grated sharp cheese
Have You Tried These Recipes? Write in and let us know if you created this cowboy meal and we'll print your response. Send it to: BunkHouseRecipes@openrangemagazine.com
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease medium casserole dish. In a saucepan, add corn and milk. Heat and stir in egg. Add salt, bread crumbs, and cheese and mix thoroughly. Pour into casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until done.
...they was bedded down, and we cooked ev’nin’ chow o’er a cowchip fire as best as we knew how. an excerpt from Clark Crouch - Cowboy Poet
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