Charles Wellington Furlong.

Let 'er buck, a story of the passing of the old West online

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Not less than six riders are to be chosen on the third day to ride
in the semi-finals and not less than three to be chosen from the
six to ride in the finals.

Each contestant must ride as often as the judges may deem
it necessary to determine the winner. The riding is to be done
with chaps, spurs and sombrero but no quirt, with a plain halter
and rope, one end of the rope free, all riding slick and no chang-
ing hands on the halter rope is allowed. No saddle fork over
fifteen and a half inches is permitted and when the great show
opens and the first bucker is wrangled and the rider is all set,
it's— tighten the cinch, take off the blind, let 'er buck in front,
let 'er buck behind.

W. S. Bowman

'Pawin', Hoofin' and Rarin' ter Go"


Here is one seat not taken at the Round-Up — it has been re-
served for you. It shows how they wrangle a bad one at
Pendleton. No more striking illustration of the entire art and
technique of wrangling could be obtained though composed with
the free brush of a painter — the balance of the composition, the
centralized interest, the action, the story element is all there.

The bucker's dangerous forestriking made it too risky for men
on foot to handle his snubbing rope, so they brought the little
snubbing horse into play and with the rope have snubbed the
outlaw's nose close to the saddle horn, one man beneath the
horse's head handling the play or pay of the snubbing rope. With
a wild leap the fighting, biting demon endeavors to reach the
nervy wrangler in the saddle. He in turn, one foot out of stirrup,
as a precaution, seizes his antagonist in the most approved fashion
by an ear and is successfully tucking the blind under the further
haltet leather. The blinded man-fighter will now probably be
manageable until the saddle lying near him, is cinched up and
the rider ensconced in it.

In the background on old Nellie, Herbert Thompson, assistant
livestock director, and one of the pick-up men, who must be expert
horsemen, "stands by" ready to "take up" the horse at the
judge's pistol w'hich signals the ride is ended. Star riders like
Caldwell, always help the pick-up men by handing over
their halter rope as they ride alongside. In some big shows in
Winnipeg for instance, straight wrangling is done away with,
the horse being saddled and the rider mounting in a chute from
which he debouches into the arena and thus is done away with
one of the hazardous, but most picturesque phases of range life.


dollars, not knowing how he could buck, and sold to
the Round-Up for five hundred, an offer of eight hun-
dred coming in a few minutes too late after the deal
was closed.

The Round-Up buckers are given the best care which
also means given a full free life on the range, and in
winter no matter under what difficulties or cost are
given hay; but they are never ridden except at the
bucking contests.

Sometimes the buckers take it into their heads to
break range and travel, and more than once the live-
stock director has had to send out a "posse" of expert
trackers to run them down. The last break of this sort
was when the pony, donkey, and Angel led by Ram-
bling Sam escaped over the hills and far away before
they were rounded-up.

The wrangler, in a way, is the stable man of the
range, the caretaker of the horses in use, and about
the corrals and stables of the Round-Up at Pendleton
one finds some old experts at handling. Fred Stickler,
who has been barn boss for many a Round-Up, has
that peculiar inborn knack of not only handling skit-
tish range horses in the stables, but of walking with
impunity right amongst a corral full of wild horses
where many a man would be kicked and stamped upon.
Fred has a quiet manner of gentling and speaking to
them which they understand, and as one rancher re-
marked, "without any fuss or feathers."

Some of the best wranglers in the country like Bill
Ridings and Jess Brunn have a chance to show their
caution, cleverness, understanding of horses and met-
tle in the arena during the contests in this he-man's
game, when the dangerous, wild, squealing, man-fight-
ing buckers are brought in. Being trampled upon is



one of the least of wrangling evils, though Missouri
Slim, one of the wranglers sitting on that bale of feed
over there, has removed a boot and is nursing a badly
bruised foot.

"Fixin' up yer foot?" dryly comments a cowboy as
he dismounts, "Wastin' good liniment on that foot!"




After the long shadows change the golden valley to
night, you wander under the clustering lights of Main
Street, where the crowds surge in that orderly, happy,
holiday spirit for which the Round-Up stands. Dur-
ing Round-Up Pendleton harks back a generation,
turns back the calendar a few decades, shifts its
clothes and steps into the life from which it has but
just crossed over the threshold. Pendleton does this
with such an easy grace and naturalness that while the
Round-Up is a great community drama it is also a re-
enaction of the verve and urge of its pioneer spirit, and
literally reeks with the atmosphere of an old frontier
town. Although any time the visitor may feel the
Round-Up spirit, see fragments of its setting or some
of its participants, booted, chapped or blanketed on the
streets, it is hard for him to realize that for three hun-
dred and fifty days Pendleton gives itself over to the
busy workaday life of ranch and industry and that it
is only for about seven days out of the year it lives
again the life of the old West in such a vivid manner —
perhaps it is still harder for the visitor to understand
why it doesn't.

The old original settlement of Pendleton was called
Marshall after a gentleman of the early days who, it



was said, could make a nickel look like a tidal wave
and who ran a roUicky place at that old stage-stop a
few miles west of the present city. This was after-
wards known as Swift's Crossing — because Swift the
carpenter lived there. Things and places hereabouts
or in any frontier country the world over go by the
names of people who wore or made the things or lived
in the places or because of certain happenings, condi-
tions, people or things connected with them, hence —
"Stetson" hat, chapps, Camas Prairie, Grizzly, Crooked
River, Wagon Tire, Happy Canyon, Half Way,
Swift's Crossing, and so on.

It was at Swift's Crossing that they changed horses
between Cayuse and Umatilla — you can see the spot
now down river a bit where the Umatilla makes a turn
and the old road takes steep up grade — just below the
new State Hospital. Later Swift's Crossing moved
up to Pendleton, at least its inhabitants did; today
there's not a vestige of a habitation left on its old site.
So then the old Pendleton Hostelry, the first hotel in
Pendleton, became the stage-stop and Dave Horn
and other stage drivers changed horses here, where
before they had only pulled up for passengers and mail.

The center of Pendleton, which took its name — and
thereby hangs a story — from Senator Pendleton of
Ohio, was marked, the old-timers will tell you, when
Moses Goodwin, whose wife Aura was known as the
mother of Pendleton, drove in a stake on his home-
stead, when first surveyed, at the corner of the block
where the First National Bank now stands, and gave
this site to the county.

"Here," he said, "is where the courthouse is to be"
and there it stood for many years, and this corner is
now the center of the city. The reason the city is not



Jaid off due north and south is because Moses Goodwin,
when he laid the foundations for the old Pendleton
Hotel, did not set it straight. The lines of the new
hotel, an up-to-date, six-story structure, are on the ex-
act site of the old tavern.

For three days now, the contestants have been step-
ping into the American National Bank to sign up on
the Round-Up entry books. This year there are over
two hundred palefaces and over one hundred redmen.
But tomorrow is the first day of the Great Show. So
let's turn in here and climb the steep flight of stairs to
the committee's headquarters. It is a big barn of a
room ; you see it is crowded with practically the entire
buckaroo "outfit," — cowboys, cowgirls, Indians and
occasionally a Mexican — as swarthy, orderly and pic-
turesque a crowd as you could find. The man on that
table above the sombreros in the upper strata of tobac-
co smoke is one of the committee. He's calling the
names of the entrants for the events. See, each in
turn steps up and draws from the broad-brimmed hat
the number of the horse that he is to attempt to ride.

Watch "Tex" Daniels, that rangy, powerfully built
buckaroo worming through the crowd. He's drawing

"Tex Daniels rides Long Tom!" is announced.
"Wow ! Wow !" and the banterings from the crowd
show that Long Tom is not only a well-known horse,
but is the bugbear of the riders and king of the buckers.

"George Attebury on McKay, Ed McCarthy on
Light Foot, Fred Heide on Hot Foot, Art Acord on
Butter Creek, Hoot Gibson on Mrs. Wiggs," so the
drawing goes on, and you become familiar with the
names and faces of the greatest contingent of experts
in frontier sports to be found on the globe. Among



those here just now are Hazel Walker, Blanche Mc-
Caughey, Minnie Thompson, and"Babe" Lee; there are
John Baldwin, Armstrong, Dell Blancett, and Gerking,
also Lucian Williams and other Indians, all wonderful
riders, and many others among the contestants, from
California to the Dakotas, from Mexico to Canada.
There are a number new to Pendleton, but there's Mc-
Cormack and Bob Cavin, besides many others who
rank high among the kings and Cjueens of reinland,
whom you will have a better chance to meet tomorrow
in the Round-Up Grounds at the tryouts and at the
elimination contests in the morning.

Of course there were a few saloons here as every-
where and many of the boys in the old days turned
into one or another of the bars and their pool tables
and whiled away many an evening at The Idle Hour.
But, now, although an occasional tailor may inquire
of the successful cattle king whether he wants the hip
pocket of his new suit cut for a pint or a quart, while
the shadow of the dry season of prohibition in the
Northwest is probably no more of a total eclipse than
in other parts of the country, about the only way, it
is rumored, of getting a little reflected light is to
reach down into a badger hole and accidentally find it.

How usage of terms is limited to their application
and localized by the young, the untraveled, or those
without the background of literature and history, is
evidenced in the case of a Pendleton schoolboy, who
recently in the course of his literary studies was ex-
plaining a portion of Scott's Lady of the Lake. "Fitz-
James arose and sought the moonshine pure," he read,
then seriously, he paraphrased — "Fitz-James went out
and found a keg of moonshine on the beach."

It all takes one back to stirring border days, but the



symbol conspicuously absent is the six-shooter or a
pair of 'em, lazing from the flapless western holster.
There are a few around, but out of sight. There's
enough of gun-play from grandstand and bleacher in
approval of the riding in the arena, at night in Happy
Canyon, or in appreciation of the dance-hall band to
lend color, or to satisfy any small boy. The ammuni-
tion is quite harmless, unless you try to use the gun
barrel as a telescope when the trigger's pulled.

There are probably more guns packed by law-abiding
American citizens today than is appreciated. But
there is at least one section of Oregon, not far from
Grant County and the John Day Country, where they
aren't satisfied with carrying only one. This was strik-
ingly evidenced in the case of a shooting scrape which
was recently brought before the court. The witness
was testifying for the purpose of showing that it was
a habit to tote guns.

"Is it the custom for people where you live to carry
guns?" he was asked.

"Yes, sir-r-ree."

"More than one?"

"Yes, sir-r-ree."

"How many?"

"Well, sometimes mebbe I tote two 'n' sometimes
mebbe I tote three."

"What for?"

"Well, I dun'no, but they all do — mebbe I might
see a coyote or sumthin'."

The truth was, it is a habit from childhood, a relic
of border days. The railroad doesn't go through there
yet. They just don't think they are dressed up with-
out them.

In many corners, you find a last remnant of the old


frontier life, of those days of the survival of the fit-
test when it was most unwise to hold, and often dan-
gerous to apply an impractical theory. In a country
built by an empirically-acting generation, everything
had to relate and adapt itself to the positive conditions
to be faced there.

These border days imposed a peculiarly practical
application even of religion to daily life. Within the
memory of some Pendletonians church hours were ac-
commodated to horse races. More than one dance was
given in a saloon to raise money to furnish a ^hurch.
Even pleasure was not always allowed to interfere with
religion. Once the superintendent of the union Sun-
day school kept his expectant flock of lambs and angel-
children impatiently waiting for a considerable space
of time. Upon his tardy appearance, he confidently as
well as confidentially remarked, as though the reason
for the delay was a most worthy one, that "the poker
game I was sitting in on was so plumb interesting, I
couldn't break away from the boys."

Now turn into that Pendleton institution of human
ingenuity, Happy Canyon, which means a spot right
in the heart of Pendleton where every one can com-
plete a day of frontier fun. The main structure was
completed in 1916 at a cost of twelve thousand dollars,
the bleachers having a seating capacity of about five
thousand people. Out in the arena you see the rip-
roaring life of the range in its fullness, and at its best,
but in Happy Canyon you see, drawn more vividly
than any pen or brush can depict, the life of the fron-
tier town.

If you follow the Umatilla down from Pendleton,
it will take you to where nature has sculptured out a
wide defile before it broadens into the prairie. Today



a store and three or four houses called Nolin nestle
here. This little hidden-away spot, in the days of the
stage coach and pony express, was the most fertile spot
of the surrounding country, a veritable little Garden of
Eden with its vegetable lands and orchards. Here in this
tucked-away paradise, many a dance was pulled off, not
to mention other episodes, when the crowd rode in to
the ranch house of one or the other of the settlers.

The fiddler and the doctor were two of the most im-
portant adjuncts to the community life of the frontier.
Of course, it was possible to get along without the
doctor, but the fiddler was indispensable, and as much
in demand as ice cream at a church picnic. It was
often necessary to scour the country for hundreds of
miles to locate and engage the music. Then there was
his side-partner, the "caller." Although month in and
month out the dancers stepped through the figures of
the quadrille, it was about as useless to hold a dance
without a caller, as to brand a "critter" without an

How they did "hop to it" to the fiddle of "Happy
Jack" Morton and the resonant calling of Jimmie
Hackett's —

"Honors to your partners.

Yes, honors to the left,

Swing that left hand lady round

And all promenade."

Then the midnight supper, and after the tables
groaned less heavily under the sumptuous "muck-a-
muck," on again whirled the dance. It was "al-a-man
{a la viain) left" and "Sasshay and swing your part-
ners," and the other fellow's too. Then each "boy"
with all the strut and grace of an old gamecock, with
a scratch or two and a drag of his high-heeled boots



on the floor, a-cavorting and a-bobbing naively, did his
prettiest to outvie old Chanticleer. What with the
ever onward swing of the quadrille, spiced with an
occasional wink of "red eye," the party, though the
men were down to shirt sleeves, would begin to get
pretty well "het up." Even the old fiddler now roped in
a few maverick notes and skipped a bar or two, and
"Onery Missouri" Joe didn't want to "know why,"
when the big paw of a sheepherder left its black im-
print just above the waistline of the new "tarltan of
his little prairie chicken."

"Sass-shay all round. Promenade to your seats."

Dawn would be stealing over the horizon. Most of
the guests rode, it might be just a nearby twenty miles,
or it might be over the country a bit, fifty or sixty.

There would also be he-nights in that little gulch
with only the males rounded up. Then the stepping
would be high as well as lively, and they say — well,
no wonder they called it Happy Canyon ; and no won-
der when the Round-Up staged the evening show of the
frontier town, they named it after the settlement in
the halcyon days of the gulch, and made much of the
program in replica of its "goin's on" and reproduced
as well the canyon walls and snow-capped mountains
behind it.

For the time being you are in a little frontier world
of fifty years ago. You look out from the bleachers on
its "Main Street," backed by the saloon, Chinese laun-
dry, millinery shop, a few smaller shacks, and the hotel
all bedecked with signs as witty as they are crude. The
hotel is an actual replica of the old Villard house, one
of Pendleton's early pioneer hostelries.

Every phase of the town of the days of Kit Carson,
Buffalo Bill, "Peg Leg" Smith, and old "Hank" Cap-



A Type of Those Who Helped Cement the Great Northwest
Into Our National Body Politic

The Pilgrim was the outstanding figure on Europe's first
frontier of Atlantic America, the Pioneer of the Old West is
the outstanding character on Europe's last frontier, the Pacific
United States. The Mayflower was the argosy which carried
the American Republic, and Capt. Gray's Columbia an ark of
covenant which extended its foundations and carried its laws and
life into the Orient.

The old time pioneer, typified the adventurous spirit of our
restless race: he typified the urge, the expression of that ever-
moving dynamic force we call human progress — the under-
standing, control and right use by man of nature and its forces.

The vast areas of the Pioneer's El Dorado have now been
mapped, rivers whose surfaces were scarce alien-disturbed, save
by the Indian's paddle or a salmon's leap, now are harnessed to
mill and canning factory; lairs of the wild things have given
way to cities, forests to cleared lands, prairies of bunchgrass to
teeming counties of grain, the lone square-rigger and clipper
ship of Massachusetts Bay and Manhattan Island no longer
"Round the Horn" and have given way to fleets of modern
turbine Leviathans.

We vision the slight figure of the pioneer, now sitting silently on
his horse or standing thoughtfully beside his ox cart. His journey
is done, but his eyes are turned toward the light still farther
West. Whether he came as explorer, missionary, rancher, cow-
boy, hunter, trader, teacher, artisan or intellectual, through his
far-seeing vision, intrepid faith, undaunted courage and positive
character he has handed to us, the Nation, this Territory of the
Northwest, so vast, so packed with riches, so girded with high-
ways of trade, so filled with chosen peoples that it staggers the
imagination. The pioneer of the Old West has left us indeed a
vast heritage — but also a vast responsibility.

The new West is the high school of an advancing democ-
racy. It is the geographic position from which we obtain our
moral, religious, and psychological viewpoint of Asia. Hawaii
is the key to the Pacific ; the Philippine group is the doorway to
Asia; China, India, Japan and their Islands of the sea have
turned their faces usward, and have set their feet on our shores.
We have already entered the gates of the Oldest World — the
Orient; our destiny is Pacificward.

The Northwest is still a giant in its needs, but also in its pos-
sibilities. Puget Sound is two steamer days nearer China than
San Francisco because of the curvature of the earth and five hun-
dred miles nearer Chicago by rail. Puget Sound is destined to
be the Great American Gateway to the Far East, for trade like
water takes the channel of least resistance. Portland by canal
connection and harbor developments should form an integral
part of this great outlet of the resources of the Northwest and
beyond. Providence has placed the Northwest geographically in
the Zone of World Power.

By Charles Wellington Furlong

A Pioneer of the Old West

Type of the Manhood and Womanhood of the Range


The buckaroo is a cowboy who can ride — and then some. No
pair of contestants on the Round-Up lists stand out more definitely
as strong types of the range or played the all-round game longer
or with a better spirit than the late Dell Blancett and his wife
Bertha Blancett, who has now retired from the contests.

They had competed in the Round-Up since its inception until
we entered the world war. But we didn't move fast enough in
that contest for Dell, so he joined the Canadian Cavalry in the
great war for civilization and now lies vnith the other heroes
under the poppies of Flanders Fields.

The American range man and the range woman, designated by
that picturesque title "cowboy" and "cowgirl" have no prototype,
any more than has that great, epic, pioneer movement which re-
sulted in the settling of the West. That West bore and bred in
the cowboy type, a character, a point of view and a soul with a
timbre quite his own.

His lonely life in the old days on the plains, when he had
often only his herd to sing to or only the coyotes to sing to him,
made him contemplative, introspective, strikingly individualistic,
at times a bit triste and occasionally a bit "onery." Normally
he is quiet, generous, courageous, conservative, exceptionally mod-
est, loyal in his friendships and with a keen original sense of
humor, yet he is capable of great recklessness and daring and
not a man to trifle with.

He is a son of contrasts — in the day under a blistering burning
sun, at night under the cold bite of darkness; — a full belly one
week, a flat belly the next, monotonous days suddenly turned to
hours of utmost excitement; long vigils under these conditions
generally far from the centers of population, broken only by the
seldom occasions in town often with a wild let-loose of repres-
sion. Most of his similes, adages and comparisons in life are
distinctive and local in color, taken from the life he lives and
its environment. He has an inherent deep-lying chivalry, but
while he'll ride fifty miles each way in the saddle to spend a few
formal hours with a pretty girl, he'll ride two hundred to run
down a horse thief.

We were ridin' along homeward one night below the lowest
river bench in the Madison Valley — "Scuttle," my pal Rob Swan
and I, chapps to chapps, you knoW the feel. I had seen Scuttle
shoot pieces of broken glass no bigger than a nickel and then pul-
verize the smaller bits with a "twenty-two" against the twilight
that evening. Now the moon was half -set and a thin mist hung
in the valley bottom.

The Whitney outfit had been operating up from the Jackson
Hole Country, ten thousand reward had been offered and they
were now reported hereabouts. What's the chances I asked
Scuttle of the sheriff's posse getting them.

"Well mebbee they will, but more'n likely they won't."

We jogged along for sometime the only sound the soft putter
of hoofs, the retch of saddle leathers and rub of chapps, then
Scuttle broke the silence.

"Say pard, d'ye know I've been thinkin' about them 'sassins —
they ain't men, 'sassins what I call 'em, and d'ye know, that
mor'n likely the feller what gits 'em meb'U be some ord'nary
kind'er cuss, just like me."


linger, and others is shown. In it men of the cow-camp
and from many of the remote Oregon towns play their
part in such a natural way, that you in the bleachers
forget you are sitting on the soft side of a board.
Here ranger, Indian fighter, cowboy, and sheriff are off
duty, but hotel proprietor, barkeeper, and John China-
man are decidedly on. It is a drama in which many
of these players are in reality the characters they por-

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Online LibraryCharles Wellington FurlongLet 'er buck, a story of the passing of the old West → online text (page 9 of 19)