For many years, the steer wrestling hosted by Roy Duvall at Checotah was one of the biggest events connected to rodeo. This was long before the days of USTRC, D-format barrel races and PBRs.
This particular year, I was sitting in the contestant seats with Gary White. All the dogging team horses were jammed up around us and so were the bulldoggers.
A steer wrestler right in front of us started to mount his horse and someone, or several someones, had taken the girths loose from the off side. When the big guy stepped in the stirrup and put his weight on it, the whole saddle hit the ground. Of course all the contestants around laughed and laughed. “You bastards,” said the giant bulldogger.
A few runs later, another unsuspecting steer wrestler who had evidently already forgotten what happened and didn’t check the off side, stepped up and his saddle, along with about 300 pounds of cowboy, hit the ground. Once again it was very funny to all the contestants.
It seems impossible that after two guys had hit the ground in the same way the trick would work again, but it did. This time it was more hilarious to the steer wrestlers than it had ever been. “You bastards,” said the bulldogger.
Gary White looked at me as deadpan as he could have possibly been and said, “Really?”
It took a little longer this time for the contestant to get ready for his turn. Long enough that his name was being called.
I suspect Roy had watched this whole ordeal play out over time, but he’d had enough when it was holding up the actual competition. He came stomping across the arena looking like your daddy when you know you’re in trouble. Slow talking Roy was coming fast. He stopped and yelled like a shrew – “Stop it!! We can’t even have a bulldogging without you guys fooling around.” He even flapped his hands up and down. No I’m not kidding, really, he did that. “You need to be ready when your name’s called.”
And just like that, dozens of big steer wrestlers looked like they had just gotten in trouble from their daddy.
I looked at Gary. “Really?” he said.
I’m not saying Ote Berry had anything to do with that, but he was standing there along with Joel Edmondson.
Those were the good old rodeo days before cell phones, or someone would have that on video. There are probably some guys who are glad they don’t.

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