Gold Country Inn & Casino
Ernie Sites, Pete Watercott and Pete Charles filled the house on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They 'Rocked The House" according to one guest.
Friday and Saturday nights Michael Martin Murphey joined the band, playing the guitar and the banjo. It was standing room only as Ernie, Fiddlin' Pete, Pete Charles and Michael Martin Murphey performed cowboy classics, original songs and instrumentals.
Camp cook, "Ernie to the Rescue". "Come and gitter boys, before I thrower all away."
On the trail, the chuck wagon was a mess wagon, or a rolling kitchen which provided food for cowboys trailing herds north from Texas, or for round-up crews on western ranges. The term comes from the slang ex- pression Chuck, meaning food or grub. Two teams of horses usually pulled the chuck wagon, loaded with food, utensils, beding, and the cowboys personal gear. It led the way from camp to camp. Chuck wagons were fitted with shelving and boxes for plates, cups, and silverware. One drawer was used just for the wagon boss to keep his important papers and brand book in. Cans held sugar and syrup. On one side of the wagon, between the wheels was a water barrel. Inside the wagon were dry goods like flour, grains, beans, camp beds, rope, and wood. Beneath the wagon the dutch ovens were stored. On top was a pot rack for the frying pans, kettles and coffee pots.
Much of the traditional methods of handling cattle are still used today by working cowboys. During, the cowboy boom era between 1865- 1885, the main job of a cowboy, was to tend to the cattle, keep them together, bring in strays and stragglers, protect them from rustlers, brand them, herd them to better grazing grounds, and drive them along the cattle trails to market.
A cowboy's most important possession was and still is his horse. Without it he's useless. As one adage of the range goes; "A man on foot is no man at all."
A cowboy's clothing is chosen for its suitability and environment. The hat shields his head from the sun and rain. The bandanna protects his face from the dust. Wool or denim pants, with leather chaps, protect his legs from insects and brush. The boots, with high heels prevent his feet from slipping out of the stirrups. His saddle has a high horn and cantle to provide maximum comfort. Traditionally, he carries a gun and a lariat, or lasso for roping cattle.
There's a story of a ragin' bull by the name of Hurricane, who had a reputation and fame.
Not only could he jump and spin and throw his rider for a whirl, but if he'd caught your foot, he'd rearrange your world.
A killer bull, though the clowns would have their fun if the cowboy got clear of his ride, they'd make old Brahma run.
A chasin' after' em, boy, he'd put on a good show, and though it was dangerous business, it added excitement to the rodeo.
Old Hurricane, he'd charge the clown barrel, for it weren't his nature just to flirt, then he'd go and destroy the broomstick cowboy dummy and stomp him to the dirt.
Then, he'd run around the arena, til not a soul was left in sight. And then, and only then, would he leave. Man, that bull could fight!
It was at a rodeo up in Idaho, that's where this story begins. Where Hurricane the famed killer bull' s reputation come to an end. You see, the arena was filled with sawdust and dirt, and the chutes are made of wood.
And there's a six- foot -high concrete wall right in front of where the bleachers stood.
'Course, the rodeo sponsors had their advertisements everywhere, from Diamond N Boots, Priest Hats and even Val's Beauty Care.
But, on the inside of the arena, on the concrete bleacher wall, was a Bull Durham cigarette ad placed there. It was a life-like mural painting of the buckin' chutes and cowboys everywhere.
And, right in front of shoot number 3, was a solitary cowboy, just as happy as could be.
He had a big smile painted on his face, and his hat was pushed 'way back, and he was a-rollin' himself a Twirly from the makin's of a sack.
Well, it was exciting that day as folks come from miles around to support the local cowboys, watch the bull rides and the clowns.
As for me, I was out behind the chutes, feelin' anything but cool, 'cause I drew Hurricane, that famed killer bull.
His reputation of being bad, kept a runnin' through my head, and I could see myself a winnin' , or wakin' up quite dead.
Well, my turn finally came, as I tied myself on top of that hairy brute. I nodded my head, for outside, when they opened up the chutes.
My life sort of passed before my eyes, when there came my greatest fear. Old Hurricane, he threw me off this back, but I didn't go nowhere.
My hand was stuck, I cried, "Oh, Lord! I know I've been a fool. If you'll but set me loose, I'll never ride another bull."
Oh, everything sorta went in slow motion then as old Hurricane did explode. 'Cause I was here and there and then all of a sudden I was free. I went sailin' through the air, but I landed smack dab in front of him, right on my derriere.
Well, I found my feet. I guess I was all right, though Iran the soles offa both of my boots, and I got great big splinters and slivers in my hands from where I went a crawlin' up the chutes.
Written by Ernie Sites
The Cowboy (Poem)
This poem is a classic that was written in the early 1900's.
It's a good cowboy poem, as well as, a fine example of free verse poetry.
Free verse poetry, is poetry that doesn't rhyme, but uses colorful words to tell the story.
Belted with Colt and cartridge, spur on heel,
the tall, spare form is tricked for holiday,
with bowlegs curved in buckskins, a snake's hide
banding his hat, while round his leaning neck,
half hidden by the curling, sunburnt hair,
a silken rainbow rolls to a large golden ring.
Sun browned mustache half hides his laughing mouth.
Mexican dollars shine as the rosettes
on saddle and bridle, Let him mount!
In his long stirrups with what ease he takes
the pony's motion, while it moves at speed
snatches the trailing lariat!
Of his skill to rope and to ride he is silent, and his gun
stays in his belt till needed. He can swear,
can lose unruffled six month's pay at cards,
bestow in nameless bounty his last cent,
and in spite of wind, and dust, and Texas steers,
and undiluted drink, still can sing-
in the night wind the longhorn's lullaby.
By innate force of spirit he is kin
to old adventurers. While trick, and trade,
And blue-sky lots made fat the souls and much speech
of men, this romantic rebel, sick of smugness
and cheatery, let his birthright blessing go,
wild for free like, the pony, and the range.
He might have been a conductor, congressman
with a post-office named after him; he is
unstable as water, loyal to the death
a creature of impulse, and he still can sing;
not quite a grown-up sprite of forty years.
Written by Ernie Sites
A cowboy's friend is his horse, of course, one that's got good cow sense, that can bring the cattle in on the roundups, or a good companion for ridin' a fence. A cowboy's friend is his saddle, one that fits him like a glove, can help to ease some pain and misery 'cause cowboyin' is the life that he loves. A cowboy's friend is his tools, his knife, a rope and a gun. These things are all most always needed, and can sure help to make cowboyin' fun. Now a cowboy's friend is his cowdog, one that can keep the cattle on the run. Or in charge of ranch house security why, a cowdog's work is never done. A cowboy's friend is them critters, most commonly known as the herd, that puts the beef steak on the table, and gives him something to curse. A cowboy's friend is his cowboy pals who'll come when the pastures are barren. They'll ride in the saddle, and bring in the cattle, and their pay, just the company they've been a-sharin' . Under the star-lit prairie skies, on the round ups, a cowboy's friend is his campfire, one that can hold him like a spell, or warm his bell with coffee, or help to relive old tales to tell. A cowboy's friend is payday, when ever so once in a while with money to spend, off in town once again, he'll go and put on the style. Now a cowboy's friends are all these things and I'm sure there are many more, but this last one thing is a cowboy's friend, ' cause this I know for sure. A cowboy's friend is Mother Nature and all that she has to give. It's the wide-open spaces around him; it comes with the life that he lives.
The Strawberry Roan
As originally written by Curly Fletcher
I'm a-layin' around, just spendin' muh time,
Out of a job an' ain't holdin' a dime,
When a feller steps up, an' sez, "I suppose
That you're uh bronk fighter by the looks uh yure clothes."
He sez that this pony has never been rode,
That the boys that gets on 'im is bound tuh get throwed,
Well, I gets all excited an' asks what he pays,
Tuh ride that old pony uh couple uh days.
He offers uh ten spot. Sez I, "I'm yure man,
Cause the bronk never lived, that I couldn't fan;
The hoss never lived, he never drew breath,
That I couldn't ride till he starved plum tuh death.
"I don't like tuh brag, but I got this tub say,
That lain 't been piled fur many uh day."
Sez he, "Get yure saddle, I'll give yuh uh chance."
So I gets in his buckboard an' drifts tuh his ranch.
I stays until mornin', an'right after chuck,
I steps out tuh see if that outlaw kin buck.
Down in the hoss corral, standin' alone,
Was this caballo, uh strawberry roan.
His laigs is all spavined an' he's got pigeon toes,
Little pig eyes an' uh big Roman nose,
Little pin ears that touch at the tip
An' uh double square iron stamped on his hip.
Yew necked an old, with uh long lower jaw,
I kin see with one eye, he's uh reg'lar outlaw.
I puts on muh spurs -I'm sure feelin' fine -
Turns up muh hat, an' picks up muh twine.
I throws that loop on 'im, an' well I knows then,
That before, he gets rode, I'll sure earn that ten.
I gets muh blinds on him, an' it sure was a fight,
Next comes muh saddle -I screws it down tight.
An' then I piles on 'im, an' raises the blind,
I'm right in his middle tuh see 'im unwind.
Well, he bows his old neck, an' I guess he unwound,
Fur he seems tuh quit livin' down on the ground.
He goes upt'ward the East, an' comes down t'ward the West
Tuh stay in his middle, I'm doin' muh best.
He sure is frog walkin', he heaves uh big sigh,
He only lacks wings, fur tuh be on the fly.
He turns his old belly right up toward the sun,
He sure is uh sun-fishin' son-of-uh-gun,
He is the worst bucker I seen on the range,
He kin turn on uh nickle an' give yuh some change.
While he's uh-buckin' he squeals like uh shoat,
I tell yuh, that pony has sure got muh goat.
I claim that, no foolin', that bronk could sure step,
I'm still in muh saddle, un-buildin' uh rep.
He hits on all fours, an' suns up his side,
I don't see how he keeps from sheddin' his hide.
I loses muh stirrups an ' also muh hat,
I'm grabbin' the leather an ' blind as uh bat.
With uh phenomenal jump, he goes up on high,
An' I'm settin' on nothin', way up in the sky,
An' then I turns over, I comes back tuh earth
An' lights in tub cussin' the day of his birth.
Then I knows that the hosses I ain't able tuh ride
Is some of them livin' -they haven't all died,
But I bets all muh money they ain't no man alive,
Kin stay with that bronc when he makes that high dive.
"Boy, talk about excitement. Here I am, with a group of boys and girls, getting ready to sing Happy Birthday to Mr. Gene Autry"
Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles, California.