Black! Did somebody mention Baxter Black! Well as it just
so happens I have made the acquaintance of that rhyming fellow
known as Baxter Black, the Poet Lariat of Western Horseman
Magazine. It was about 12 years ago. Me, Baxter Black, and
world famous Peruvian horse trainer Don Pedro were a sittin
on the front porch of Brighton Feed and Saddlery. That's in
Brighton, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain State.
year Brighton Feed and Saddlery has their annual new, used,
as is, and beat up saddle sale. This takes place in a tent
on the prairie a next to the store which from on a clear day
you can see Kansas 125 miles away. This gala event draws cowboys
from near and far, more pickemuptrucks, more city slickers,
more lies and more Coors beer than you can imagine. Now we
was a sittin there signing autographs, me with my Red Parker
Duofold Junior with the stub nib, Don Pedro with his Cross,
and Baxter was a using a Sharpie! Mostly though me and Baxter
was trying to outdo each other over who paid less for their
genuine secondhand Hawaiian shirt bought from Teresita's Boutique.
of a sudden up comes this Dude seeking Baxter's autograph!
I'm telling you I was having trouble keeping my eyeballs from
rolling on the porch. This Dude was a draggin a new tooled
black leather saddle, bridle, bit, with enough hand worked
silver ornamentation to make a hundred of those filet eyedrooper
Waterman pens. Now the best part is that this Dude was wearing
a black pure beaver $500 cowboy hat, a white silk shirt with
black pearl snaps and smiley pockets, black Wranglers stuck
into 18 inch tall top black and white Buckaroo boots, genuine
silver Mexican spurs with little jing a bobs that sounded
like the bells of Christmas with each step he took, and a
belt buckle the size of a 1957 Chevy hubcap! Now this particular
belt buckle had jewels the size of a dime embedded all over
it and right square in the front was this 18KT gold buckin
horse (probably made from melted down nibs). Wow! Whoo Hoooo!
Baxter leaps to his feet and as he scribbles his mark across
a photo says " I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy."
The Dude kind a smiles and says, "I see by your outfit
that you are a cowboy too." Then both of them cut loose
singing "We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys."
Now at this point my ears are a hurtin, the dogs are howlin,
and the cat with no tail has jumped into the back of Joe Bobs
1941 blue Dodge pickemuptruck with the wooden bed and black
fenders. I can suffer no more of this so I jump up and holler
"I'm gonna get myself an outfit and be a cowboy too!"
Then out of the corner of my squinty trail wise eye I spy
it, right there in that smiley pocket, a starring me in the
face, that big white star sitting on top of 3 pounds of puree
black vegetable residue, a Montblanc 149 fountain pen.
So I say,
"I see by your outfit that you are a fountain pen man."
The Dude looks at my Red Parker Duofold Junior with the stub
nib, kind of smiles and says, "I see by your outfit that
you are a fountain pen man too." Where upon he unholsters
that 149 and proceeds to autograph his name right across the
front of my 1937 R.T. Frazier saddle catalog, in the most
vivid red ink I've ever seen. I was a gonna mention something
about the value of my now useless antique catalog but didn't
cause I was shocked by the sight of that right oblique Flex
nib, I'm thinking it's a Mottishaw custom job. The Dude holds
the 149 up and says, "it matches my shirt." Oh No!
A triple C (Color Coordinated Cowboy), I keep looking for
the Rexall brand cause I know this boy is straight off the
stool from the nearest drug store.
that Don Pedro has quietly put on his sunglasses hoping that
no one will actually associate him with this tasteless rendition
of Prairie Home Companion!
Dude says ever so casually, "I've bought me a saddle,
do you suppose there is some way I can try it out?" Now
I'm about to lecture this fellow on proper saddle fitting
techniques when I notice Baxter's' eyeballs. They were a dartin
back and forth from me to somewhere around the corner like
a little ping pong ball. His mouth was all puckered up and
his head was a jerking back and forth like a tick was biting
his ear. It occurred to me that Baxter was tryin to tell me
something. I sort of leaned to the left to see what it was
Baxter was so all fired interested in. Then I spied it, then
I gazed upon it, I took the entire situation in at one glance.
There tied up to the back of a pickemuptruck was a mule. Not
just any mule. The granddaddy of all mules. Big, maybe 17
hands (68 inches tall at the back), ugly gray with little
pig eyes, lower lip sticking out like a mud flap, ears the
size of swim fins, feet that looked like dinner plates, tail
clamped between his legs, a hide that looked like a well used
ink blotter, and an attitude that said "go ahead, make
my day!" Believe its name was "Killer."
boys and girls I could in a flash see it comin and knew what
was about to take place right there at the annual Brighton
Feed and Saddlery Used Saddle Sale. Before anybody could say
Yippee Ti Yi Yo Baxter, me and Don Pedro had that bridle and
saddle on Killer. Don Pedro gave that cinch a jerk that made
Killers tongue stick out. Baxter handed the reins to the Dude
and said "Go ahead, take her for a spin." The Dude
said "Don't mind if I do." As the Dude stuck that
18 inch tall top Buckaroo boot in the custom stirrup and swung
up into that tooled black leather saddle Don Pedro and I backed
away real fast, so far away and so fast that we collided with
the side of Joe Bobs 1941 blue Dodge pickemuptruck. This plumb
startled the cat without a tail who leaped through what used
to be the truck back window and landed right squarely on ol
Joe Bob who was taking a little siesta.
came alive when that cat dug into his back. The screaming
and a hissing and a cussin and a horn blowing sounded like
the Fourth of July. Well that was a to much for Killer. He
knew he was about to get ate by a blue 1941 Dodge pickemuptruck
so he just EXPLODED!!! Yep, he put that head down and just
leaped about four feet into thin air, he was a twisting, a
buckin, a jumpin, a sky walking (repeat after me, real low,
shake, rattle and roll), a snorting and a hee hawing to beat
all get out. I seen the Dude just kind of smile and slam those
genuine silver Mexican spurs, with little jing a bobs that
sounded like the bells of Christmas with each step he took,
into the sides of ol Killer. Aaaand they're offff!
was on. Killer blew out of there faster than a loose tumbleweed,
leaped right over the cattle guard and hit the pavement on
a dead run. He turned South on North Main and it was downtown
Brighton here we come! We piled into the back of Joe Bobs
1941 Dodge and gave chase. Following us was several big Ford
four door dually's, a GMC half ton, a couple of Chevy's, several
high dollar vehicles and a blue Volkswagon beetle! Mufflers
roaring, air horns blowing, thigh slapping cowboys screaming
"Get along little doggie, ride em cowboy, yee haw."
Now the closer we got the more scared ol Killer got and the
faster he went.
by Val's Café and started to round the curve heading
into downtown Brighton. Baxter mentioned that he was real
impressed with the riding ability of the Dude by saying "Will
you look at that som of a buck ride!" Yep it came to
me then, the belt buckle, I thought it looked kind of familiar,
it was a National Finals Rodeo Championship Bronc Busting
Trophy Buckle! I thought maybe to save everybody some embarrassment
I'd just keep this little knowd fact to myself for awhile.
Then I heard it.
Lord. It's getting closer, it's coming around the bend on
Cabbage Avenue, it's heading our way. Pull up Joe Bob, rein
in! Too late, as I gazed over the top of the truck I could
see the glint of hundreds of headlights, pony tails flying,
gold teeth glinting in the sun, shiny black leather jackets,
chains and chrome, the rumble and the roar of hundreds of
big Harley Davidson motorcycles. The Rocky Mountain Riders
coming around the bend on their annual high speed non-stop
run to Deadwood, South Dakota. There's trouble on the trail
Bob Stop! Joe Bob stops, he puts the brake pedal to the floor
and we stop, right there in front of Angelos All U Can Eat
Chile Bar. Unfortunately all those good ol boys behind us
weren't as quick on the brakes and we proceeded to bash some
bumpers, break headlights, smash grills, bust radiators, blow
some tires and just generally shorten that convoy measurably.
Now the view from the Rocky Mountain Riders whiskey shot eyeball
perspective must have been something. Killer being chased
by a whole remuda of high dollar pickemuptrucks. I saw them
bike riders stand straight up in the saddle and smash brakes
to the ground. Folks we had Harleys everywhere. On their sides,
in the ditches, upside down, wheels a turning, riders a groaning,
smoke, dust, gold teeth scattered all around, one bike in
Angelos bar. It indeed was a WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY.
two simultaneous catastrophes were just too much for Killer,
he gave it up. He locked up all four legs, planted those dinner
size hoofs in that 110 degree asphalt and ceased to have any
forward locomotion, except for the Dude. With what I thought
was a smile on his face the Dude sailed ever so gracefully
right over top of ol Killers swim fin ears and landed flat
on the highway, face down, right on that white silk shirt
with black pearl snaps and color coordinated Montblonc 149
fountain pen. Yep, there were a sparks coming from that belt
buckle as he plowed up the pavement. He stopped about 10 feet
from the lead biker. So the biker who looked a lot like a
285 pound Robo Cop in black leather and chrome, wearing a
WW II army helmet, stomps over, flips up the wrap around mirrored
sunglasses and says, "are you hurt you crazy no good
som of a buck?'
rolls over, and having his priorities straight, reaches up
and feels that his Montblanc 149 fountain pen is flattened
like a cow pie, with about 2 quarts of red ink spreading across
his shirt, and lets out a monumental groan. The biker seeing
that big vivid red ooze says "Oh my Lord you're hurt
bad boy!' The Dude just kind of smiles, hops up and says,
"That's OK, I've been hurt before." Where upon the
biker faints dead away right there in front of Angelos All
U Can Eat Chile Bar. Baxter jumps up and says "Hey Dude,
you rode the mule down here so you got to ride him back!"
at this time that I said to Don Pedro "Say, would you
mind if I wear the sunglasses awhile?"
this day boys and girls that spot on the highway in front
of Angelos All U Can Eat Chile Bar is famous for the wreck
on the highway, look for monument number 4810 in the shape
of a snow-capped mountain.
cinch tight and don't squat on your spurs Buckaroos and Buckarettes.