Long before I worked at Roger Robideaux’s Gulf station where I used to shoot the breeze with a couple of real cowboys—Tom Cox, and James Caan—I found out I was not cut out to be one.
Oh, I had heroes like John Wayne, Marshall Matt Dillon, Rowdy Yates, and so on, but I learned the hard way that being a cowboy wasn’t as easy as it looked on TV. I learned this when I was about eleven or twelve years old. We used to go to Flay Randolph’s ranch just outside of Buckeye, and he’d saddle up a horse, and let us take turns riding it in the alfalfa field
On one of those visits I was riding in the pasture, where some steers—not very big ones—were grazing. The saddle Flay had put on the horse for me had a lariat hanging on the side, by the saddle horn, so I figured I might as well try my hand at calf roping. I’d seen Rowdy and the boys do it on Rawhide, and it didn’t look too hard.
So, I took the rope off the saddle and got it ready, then rode up alongside one of the steers. The steer didn’t seem to notice I was there, so I just dropped the rope over its head; piece a cake. One problem: The steer didn’t like it at all, and it took off running across the pasture.
No problem, I thought, as I grabbed onto the rope and yanked back like I’d seen them do on TV. Next thing I know, I’m air born, then skidding along the ground learning what alfalfa tastes like. I finally let go of the rope, and after I’d recovered a bit, limped over to the house and told Flay what I’d done.
When he finally quit laughing, Flay saddled up another horse and with me riding behind him, went out to retrieve his rope and my horse. Horse and steer were grazing side-by-side when we arrived. After I jumped down off the horse, Flay dropped his lasso over the steers head and—of course—it ran off again. But, to my amazement, it stopped abruptly when it got to the end of the rope. I followed the taught line of the rope back to Flay’s horse and saw that the other end of the rope was tied to the saddle horn. Flay just grinned and said, “Go git your horse, cowboy.”
Wondering how I knew James Caan? Click on this link: Working With James Caan
And, if you’re curious who Roger Robideaux is, click on this one: Don’t Do That!
Tom Cox? Shoot… everybody knows who Tom is!