This is Cousin Lynn and his wife Lorie...
Lynn is like many in my family. He's done a little of this and a little of that in life...cowboy, rodeo cowboy, horse trainer, truck driver and is now an artist. Chris and I loved his work...so bought a stack of prints from him at the reunion.
Lynn would be my dad's first cousin, their father's were full brothers. That fact is important apparently, since the founding father of the family was married twice. Two children survived to adulthood from John's first marriage-Grover and Grace. Grace only had a couple children and accounts for a very small portion of the family tree. Grover on the other hand had 9 children and his decendents make up about 3/4's of the family tree. There seems to have been an invisible line drawn in the sand between Grover's family and the rest of us. I presume it is because Grover was the first born son and many thought he should have been the one to end up with the family ranch. Lord, the battles over the river ranch have been going on for generations now. I'm sure there is more too it as I know that my grandfather did not get along with several of his breathern. But that is all water under the bridge as all of those people are gone now.
However, in spite of the family tiffs, I come from a culture, both in regards to the rural nature of our area and also the Indian belief that it takes an entire community to raise children, so often kids were sent to stay or live with one family member or another. Many of my dad's cousins stayed and worked on the family ranch at one time or another. Lynn spent his fair share of time around the ranch.
One time Lynn had entered the team roping at a local rodeo and his partner did not show up. So Lynn asked my grandpa if he would be his partner. My grandpa said he did not have any horses with him. Lynn said no problem, he would find horses for them to use. Grandpa then said he did not have any ropes with him. Lynn said no problem, he would find them ropes too. Grandpa consented and Lynn set out to find them the required gear to participate in the team roping. He begged for the use of a couple of horses and got another guy to let him borrow a couple of ropes. Of course, this was back in the late 50's, early 60's or so, so people didn't have as much "extra" stuff laying around as we do today.
Time for the team roping came around and Lynn and Grandpa got mounted up and backed in the box. Lynn nodded his head and they busted from the box. Lynn said he swung his loop and nailed the head of the steer...his horse went left. Now, back then, the team roping was a little different than it is today. The header's rope was tied to the horn, hard and fast...because the header was required to jump off his horse and run back and tie a pigging string around the hind legs of the steer. Sort of like what you see at ranch ropings today.
So anyway, Lynn got the steer headed neatly and his horse went left. Grandpa came in and scooped both hind feet and made his dally. Lynn's horse faced and he jumped off. He said he made it about to the steer's head and realized...NO PIGGING STRING!
Lynn said his heart just sunk. He's standing there staring at the steer, his mind racing trying to think of what to do. Grandpa is yelling at him to tie the damn steer, so Lynn whips off his belt. The problem, Lynn said, is at that time, he had about a 29 inch waist and his belt wasn't long enough. They would have won the rodeo, cause they roped that steer much faster than anyone, but instead ended up with a no time.
Lynn said he did not think grandpa ever forgave him for that fiasco. My grandpa was a kind man, but he brooked NO ONE for messing up when it came to his roping. He roped to win. They left the arena and Lynn's head was hanging pretty low.
Of course, once I found out that Lynn had cowboyed and rodeoed a lot in his youth, we got to talking about a lot of the local cowboys. Naturally, the story lines progressed to riding colts. Apparently, Lynn did a stint working for a reining horse trainer and he had some pretty funny stories to tell about that too...
This girl brought her horse, a big pretty buckskin, to the trainer's because she was having trouble getting him to lope. Lynn said that was probably one of the laziest horses he had ever run across. So they started graining the heck out of him and worked like crazy to get this horse to move out. He just didn't want to. Back in those days, horses were usually kept in groups in corrals or pastures rather than fancy box stalls. So one day, Lynn goes down to the corral and runs the horses into the round pen to catch them. Horses also weren't caught then like we catch them now. No on cared if you could walk up to a horse to catch him or not. Mostly, they were roped and taught to face once they had been roped. Now, let me tell you, a rope broke horse is not bad...even by today's standards. We've all been in the situation where we walk up to our horse, go to slip the leadrope over their neck and those dirty suckers take off on us. Not a rope broke horse. When they feel that rope on their neck, they stop and face.
Well, Lynn builds his loop. Roping a horse is not like roping a cow. To properly rope a horse, you build a huge...HUGE loop and you don't swing it. You take off running and flip the loop forward in front of the horse, so that the horse runs through the loop. This is the correct way and does not create a headshy horse. It's called a hoolihand. So, Lynn gets the horses moving around the pen and big, lazy bucky doesn't like that, so he comes and stands in the center of the round pen. Lynn says he might have been paying a little more attention except there were a couple of girls who like to hang around and watch...and he was a tad distracted.;)
So now, Lynn has his loop shaken out and the horses moving around the pen. He takes off running and has his eye on a little sorrel. When the sorrel moves into the front, Lynn sprints forward to throw his loop...and runs into a brick wall! At least that is what he said it felt like...except for the long hairs that went up his nose. The next thing he knows, he is laying on the ground with the air knocked out of him. Standing over him is Bucky.
Yep, distracted by the girls and fixated on showing off his roping skills, Lynn ran smack dab into Bucky's butt. Lynn said besides the humiliation of hearing the girl's laughing at him, to add insult to injury, Bucky never even moved, he simply turned his head around to look at Lynn, laying on the ground, trying to get his air back.
When he finally got up, Lynn said his head was hanging pretty low again.
Ya know, that is the greatest thing about a good storyteller...usually the joke is on the person telling the story and bless Lynn's heart, he has no fear of sharing humiliating moments. As the old saying goes...You live and you learn!