I was a cowboy wannabe

I was a cowboy wannabe

Our first television set was a 12-inch Emerson console and my Saturday mornings were total emersion in television and the B-westerns the box offered. If only I put my mind to schoolwork like I did on those westerns I would now be a Nobel Laureate . . . at least.

I knew every cowboy, most of their horses by name, and the thing that made them unique. Now-days that would be called the ‘hook’.

Tom Mix and his horse Tony fought evil wherever it was, the Cisco Kid and Diablo, aided by his dimwitted sidekick Poncho, fought the ruthless establishment. Lash Larue was handy with the whip – Tim McCoy, the white ten-gallon hat and extraordinary peripheral vision –Buck Jones with the fastest draw and fastest horse in the west - Johnny MacBrown and Rebel – Hopalong Cassidy and his horse Topper. Of course, the Lone Ranger (Silver) had Tonto (Scout) and he even introduced his nephew, name escapes me, with his horse Victor. Ken Maynard and Tarzan. Ken Maynard, I remember, as the original ‘singin’ cowboy, but Tex Ritter was also an early crooner. His pardner rode a white horse with a black circle around one eye. Gene Autry and Champion. Gene was also a singin’ cowboy but I always considered him kind of a sissy. He worked too hard on his wardrobe. Even Champion had excessive hardware. The saddle had sparkly studs as did the saddlebags and leather V-strap that went across his chest. The stirrups had flowing leather, also with sparkly studs.

Then there was my all time favorite who I love to this day . . . Roy Rogers and Trigger. Roy had more than one sidekick, but I’m most familiar with Gabby Hayes, and later on, Andy Devine. I was appalled when I heard he had Trigger stuffed.

The most talented horse in the west came from a stud owned by a rancher/breeder . . . are you ready for this . . . played by Gabby Hayes. Gabby had a stallion the bad guys wanted badly, a real champion. Well, Roy owned a mare that was pretty exceptional in her own rite. Gabby’s stallion broke free after Roy was turned down on his offer to purchase the horse from Gabby. Of course, Roy returned the escapee but was suspect and arrested for horse thievery. During the escapade, Gabby’s horse got together with Roy’s mare and a foal was produced—Trigger. After some pretty intense scenes between Roy and Gabby they found mutual respect and Roy was allowed to keep the foal. Fortuitous? Absolutely, no one could have planned that.

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