The Legend of Bobby Boone, Cowboy Extraordinaire
By Tony Dorty
What I am about to tell you is a true story, at least most parts of it. I weren't there and he that told it to me heard it from someone else. That person said he got it right from the horse's mouth, Bobby Boone, himself.
Bobby Boone, a Cowboys, Cowboy. He didn't sit tall in the saddle; he was tall in it, literally. Bobby had the longest legs of any Cowboy in history. He could walk on a horse and into the saddle his legs were so long. And there weren't no horse to ornery for Bobby to ride and a calf he couldn't rope. Which brings us to the tale you are about to hear.
It is old news that the "Cowboy's" left Cowtown Keeylocko empty handed, blooded and baffled. Outwitted by a bunch of four legged critters who ain't smart enough to stay off the Bar B Q pit. These cows sat back on the range "high hoof'in it" and gloat'in as they watched the dust cloud that was the defeated Cowboys departing the Cowtown Keeylocko range. They should have had a look out; they'd a seen the lone dust cloud headed at them from a direction they weren't watching. Within that cloud of dust was a determined Cowboy bound to have his way and not to be out done.
Bobby had a pretty good idea where those four footed "we got the best of them two leggeds" would be hang'in out. You see ole Bobby figured it, that when the "Cowboys" were circumnavigating the range trying to push the strays to the ranch; the strays themselves were circumnavigating the "Cowboys". Who'd a thought cows could be that smart, oh by the way that word circumnavigating means to circle around. He figured the cows knew were the boys were all the time. So they kept moving one step ahead of the Cowboys, ducking in and out of first one arroyo and then another. He swept down upon the unsuspecting herd and routed them in a tight little formation and herded them straight toward the ranch into the corral. All their fuss'in drowned out by the crack of a rope and a Cowboys whoop'in and holler'in. Yet still before Bobby could get em all in the corral, one broke the herd and ran for it, straight into Indian country. He would have free reign for a moment as Bobby made sure the others were tucked in safe and sound.
Maybe Bobby knew the Sioux War of 1862 was started over a cow that strayed into the mouths of some hungry Sioux, maybe he didn't. Maybe he didn't want to be out witted or out done by a four legged, who didn't know his place in life. Maybe it was pride and reputation, if it were the latter, no one was there to witness the feat, no one'd know the difference if one cow was missing. Then again Ed would. He knew where every nail and splinter was in that chaos of a town. Ain't nobody knows what got Bobby's goat, in that he rode straight in after that stray when it thought it could bolt onto the reservation and escape. What he did next even had the ghost of Bill Pickett scratching his head. A Cowboy on a good horse, who has the skill with a lariat, is second to none, and Bobby was just that. Any thing Bobby threw his rope over was caught. When he and his horse were one in harmony, nothing that was more suited or intended to have a lariat tossed around its neck, stood a chance. So what possessed him to do a dang fool thing like dismount and throw his rope over the critter in a field of cholla cactus? Cactus in this neck of the range was numerous and thick as bees who got a case of a word I will not mention here, you know what I mean. This behavior would have had every Cowboy from LA to the Pecos and beyond scratching their hind quarters. Lasso the darn critter he did. Now I can't picture Bobby being dragged across that cactus field with his heels dug in churning up cactus, ground hogs, flushing out quail and routing jack rabbits before him standing upright like some California surfer dude, or one of them Saturday cartoon fella's. Nope, I picture him comprised like that Tom Selleck fella in "Quigley down Under" or maybe even Steve McQueen in "Nevada Smith". Yep I kinda picture it like that. Only thing is, them boys had no choice, they was tied to the rope, Bobby wasn't, that other fella at the other end was. It's hard to figure, Bobby rode good Cow horses; they had excellent brakes good strength and a lot of pull. He could have ripped the spine right out of that stray, had he stayed in the saddle. Yep, it appears that stray gave Bobby an "eyeball, down in the dirt level view", of the vast variety of cactus that grew on the Rez. Since we wasn't there, we can't rightly figure what strategy Bobby was use'in. Maybe he figured he wasn't the one in trouble, sure he could have let go of the rope, but that other fella was tied to it, and Bobby weren't no quitter. Yes sir it appears that Cowboy intended to and did wear that stray down. His horse was probably a might grateful it was his rider that look like a two legged porcupine and not him. They say Bobby pulled that cow to one of the rare trees that could be found on that range and tied him to it and went back for his horse. No one knows the distance from when it started to when it ended and I am not one to speculate on such things. What ever distance suits you will do. It will all be part of the legend and make for an excellent "Bigger Fish" story we can tell to our grand kids one day. When Bobby finally did drag the cow into "Cowtown" at the end of a rope ain't nobody knows who was there to greet him after such a feat, maybe Ed himself, surely them hog's and Ed's two dogs might have been out in the street. They would have had to have heard that cow fuss'in and cuss'in the whole way in.
Gallery (Click images to enlarge.)
The Boys had been out foxed by cattle that knew every inch of the range and every trick when it came to negotiating the abundance of 'Jumping Cactus' that peppered the range. Israel the 'Boss,' of the outfit had the only horse familiar with the terrain. The cows split in two groups when they were spotted and there fore split the 'Boys' as well. Tony and George lost canteens in the 'chase.' They found them both the next day. All in all it was a good experience for the 'Boys' and their mounts. There was always tomorrow and these 'Cowboys' had a good idea where the 'strays' would be the next day. In this image George, Tony and Linus discuss the days events.
'You and Me, DW,' Tony pulling cactus needles out of 'DW' with a set of tweezers. This horse and its rider had two brushes with the cactus on day one. 'DW,' got the worst of it when he stepped on it and bolted with Tony in the saddle head long thru a field of cactus. The 'Boys' kept yelling for Tony to jump off, he never did. No one couldn't say that Tony wasn't brave, but with the abundance of cactus all around them, Tony might have felt safer in the saddle then on his but in a cactus plant. Bravery had nothing to do with, but pulling 4 inch needles of cactus out of ones hind area had more than a lot to do with it.
The 'Cowboys' had gotten separated by a chunk of irregular terrain, that was a stand of trees and a watering hole. It was a place the 'Cowboys' were sure the cows would be, but they were not. A fence on the far side kept the boys from riding any further out. Tony and Manny were on the extreme side and had been separated from the 'Outfit,' but only momentarily. Manny hooked up with Bobby and Tony rode over the far side of the hills crest to link up with the boys at the watering hole. All was not a total loss, the horses got a chance to drink and get there feet wet and the boys got a moments rest in the saddle.