Legends of the West
Text and photos by Sharon Heist
The lore of the West is resplendent with the legends of heroes and outlaws, tales of derring do, fierce battles, lost treasure and more. Who does not know of the Earp brothers, Geronimo, the gunfight at the Ok corral, Butch and Sundance or the lost Dutchman mine?? But in all those stories, there is no group that inspires more awe than the infamous Cowtown Cowboys.
Riding into the heat and dust of SW Arizona, each with their own skills, they brought new meaning to the term "Cowboy," and fluttering to the hearts of the local ladies, sending dread to the heart of the porcine hordes that ruled Cowtown, whose dusty streets still echo with the sound of their whoops and the beat of their horse's hooves.
Led by their fearless commander-Cavalry 1st. Sgt. Linus Hinton they galloped into town one hot spring day. Now, Sgt. Hinton knew his men-he had come up through the ranks-and was already a legend for his skill with the bugle.
Their scout is none other than the storied George Taylor-rattlesnake wrangler par excellence-fearless in the pursuit of scaly varmints, meting out impartial justice with his boot heel.
Brian Barham with his Cherokee ancestry was quiet, but one to be relied on in a crunch, the backbone for the more flamboyant members of the group-with an unerring ability to cut through to the meat of a problem.
Along their travels, the core group added two more; members that would fit as comfortably as their worn boots and Sgt. Linus famous black hat. Tony Dorty/aka July Red Johnson showed his bravery early on the first day-attacking renegade prickly pear cholla without mercy or regard for his own flesh. No monster growth of the spiny enemy was safe from his charge.
And finally, the legendary Bobby Brown-whose exploits have livened many a campfire, destined to grow in fame and tall tales. The selfsame Bobby Brown-who was so tall he just whistled for his horse and stepped over him into the saddle. The much envied cowboy who could ride like he was part of the horse and still woo the ladies with love songs like he was born for the stage. Every skittish horse and boogery steer knew and feared his name and his lariat.
These were the five that rode into Cowtown that day for the honor and glory of cowboys everywhere and as an inspiration to young and old alike. There to do what good cowboys have always done-and help out the needy-in this case, town founder Ed Keylocko.
Sgt. Hinton maintained good order-ensuring that a proper camp was set up, picket line established and all gear in battle-ready condition. Though a strict spit and polish leader-he provides inspiration in the way of song and bugle. As a horseman, he leads his troops in maneuvers-never delegating this job to others, thereby inspiring loyalty in his men. Seegar in one hand as he instructs his men through snatches of song-there is no need for yelling here, each man knows his job and does it well and automatically. Even horses exhibiting refined palates and snubbing the alkaline water in the horse trough were encouraged to imbibe while being cooled down and groomed.
As the sun rose on that Friday morning, the boys rode off to a chorus of pig, canine and human approval. Riding tall in the saddle with looks on their faces that should have struck fear in the most battle hardened steer; off they rode-these five brave men-into the unknown wilds of mesquite and cholla to return covered with the dust of their adventures. Other voices have spoken of their trials on the trail, here in town and as they ride on to new adventures. Whereever cowboys gather, and maidenly hearts sigh, they will speak of the Cowtown Cowboys and the legends will grow.
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.