Benny Barnes said he’d read my blog if I put on a bunch of rodeo pictures. Connie still has a lot to teach me, so in the meantime I’ll tell a rodeo story.
Daddy is a good bucking horse flanker. If you know anything about bucking horses, you know a good flanker can make a mediocre horse good and a good horse great. On the other side of that fence, a bad flanker…well, can makes horses run off, mostly.
As a sidenote here, Benny, your cousin Tootie Keys was one of the greatest flankers who ever pulled a strap. Those of you who knew him will agree with me.
When I was a tender teen I started loading horses and hanging flanks for Daddy. It was some of the best times of my life. We discovered I was pretty good at keeping horses quiet in the chute. We could get cowboys out safely on some pretty tricky draws. Daddy said that was because I didn’t smell like anyone who tried to spur their head off and I did smell like one who brought the feed around.
Daddy flanked a lot for Ray Wayne Stone. We had a big saddle bronc once that had come from Dell Hall. He’d been an NFR horse and was still a good draw, but we got him because he was getting bad in the box. OK, he’d flip sometimes.
We discovered if I would ease the halter on him, then stay there with him and shake his mane, he’d stand up and give a cowboy a fair shot out. Sometimes if he was getting antsy, I’d ride the gate.
So we were putting on a rodeo at Melbourne, Ark. There was a guy in that country who was cutting quite a swath as a saddle bronc rider. He had some talent and had taken up with a gal who’s family owned a big delta row crop outfit, so he had some money behind him to travel. He acted as if he had the world by the tail.
We had never seen him before. This night he drew the gray, Iron Mountain by name.
Somehow, I got the guy’s halter and managed to ease it on the horse without anyone really noticing. So when it was time for this guy to set his saddle I climbed on the gate and started shaking Iron Mountain’s mane and talking to him like I always did.
Bronc riders are spiffy, and this one was no exception. White shirt starched so stiff it crackled. Silver belly hat that looked brand new perfectly creased.
He looked at me.
“What is that girl doing up here?”
“Well,” Daddy told him, “this horse can get a little antsy and she keeps him quiet.”
Bronc rider looked down his aqualine nose. “I have my own people to help me and I do not need her.”
Daddy grinned at me. A look I will never forget. Priceless.
“Step down, Sis.”
I stepped down.
As soon as bronc rider’s Wranglers touched the saddle, that big feather-footed horse reared straight up and flipped. Bronc rider got smashed pretty good.
After the mess was all turned back right with the world, we rolled the horse up a chute and started again.
Bronc rider didn’t look so spiffy now. The white shirt was dirty and the top button had been torn off. The perfectly creased hat was turned up in the back and the crown was mashed.
Bronc rider measured his rein standing on the kickboard. Before he stepped over the horse again, he looked all around.
“Where is that girl?”

12 thoughts on “A bucking horse tale

  1. When I first met him I thought George was just hired help behind the chute. But he was always there. Even after Keith would ride he stayed in back. It was awhile before it hit me that this was more than just tightening the thing up and going on. I started noticing cowboys, a lot of cowboys, calling for George. Don’t remember who the contractor was, maybe Pete Ellis, but he told that what I had always thought was just a piece of leather was just as important as the spurs or saddle or rigging. And that one put on properly could make the difference between a ride and a money ride.
    I started sticking a little closer to George after that

  2. Lol, never doubt the Parkers , I bet I can guess who it was also lol I’ve been on iron Mountain myself ugh

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