I love true funny stories dredged up from the past. This one fits that description.
The time wuz some year in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The place wuz Chase County. The event wuz the Kansas Rodeo Queen Contest, which wuz at the time hosted by the Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City.
The people involved were my good county extension agent buddy, ol’ Avery Ware, and an experienced ranch couple, Al L. Dunn and his wife Getit Dunn. The three of them comprised the Rodeo Queen Competition Committee.
Well, Getit Dunn wuz the chairman, and the two men were her very compliant assistants. Getit gave the job assignments in a Marine drill sergeant manner, and Al and Avery hopped to immediately get their assigned jobs done.
To accommodate the queen candidates, their parents and siblings, and the contest judges, Getit rented the bulk of a motel located right across the highway from the rodeo grounds. She also rented stalls for bedding down the queen candidates’ horses in one of the barns at the old Z Bar Ranch headquarters, located about 3 miles from the rodeo grounds — now the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
One job she assigned Avery wuz to get the horse stalls cleaned out. By that, she meant take hold of a pitchfork and get the job done. Avery said it too most of a week to accomplish that task.
The second job Getit assigned to Avery wuz to stay close to his phone on the day the queen candidates were to arrive at the motel. Getit said she’d made up a banner at the front desk of the motel directing the queens to call Avery for assistance with their horses’ accommodations.
So, Avery, welcoming a chance to take a rest from mucking horse stalls, sat patiently by his phone at home, just a few blocks from the motel (no cell phones in those bygone days), waiting for calls from the queen candidates.
Finally, the first phone call happened. When Avery answered, a very hesitant mother of a queen candidate, inquired if this wuz the right number for the rodeo queens to call about their horses.
Avery assured her that he most assuredly wuz the guy and that he’d be down to the motel in just a few minutes to take care of the situation. So, Avery — who wuz a young, virile, handsome feller in his youthful days — hustled to the motel and entered with a big grin and “howdy” and introduced himself to the queen candidate’s mother, whom Avery thought wuz giving him a very cool reception.
That’s when Getit’s sign, posted boldly on the front of the motel check-in counter, came into Avery’s view. He wuz aghast. Getit’s welcoming sign read: “ATTENTION RODEO QUEEN CONTESTANTS. Call Avery Ware immediately and he will be here promptly to bed you down!”
I love that story. Avery tells me it took quite a bit of explaining for him to get the full story of the sign told to the queen contestant’s family. However, he sez no one had the nerve to change the wording on Getit Dunn’s sign and it stayed in place throughout the rodeo.
Well, folks, my blatant advertising in this column last week got results. Both sadly and happily, I found a new home for my last Brittany bird dog, Mandy. A fine rural couple from the Bell T Ranch at Osawatomie, Kan. — Hunter N. Shoer and his wife Queenie — drove over and bought me out of the bird dog hunting bizness lock, stock and three kennel barrels.
Yep, they purchased Mandy, the kennels and barrels, three dog boxes, a electric training collar and every last leash, collar, and piece of equipment I owned — including the rivets for attaching name plates to collars.
Although it wuz sad to see Mandy head down the road to a new home, Hunter assured me that she will get plenty of loving care and plenty of hunting this fall, including a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota and several to western Kansas.
Ol’ Hunter even told me I could accompany his group pheasant hunting sometime, “If you can limp to a place in the bar ditch to block during the day and if you can find enuf energy in the evening to twist the top off a bottle of Crown Royal.” Sounds like my kind of a hunt. I may take him up on his invitation.
My old 1990 Ford F-250 rust bucket pickup truck also found a new home in Jelm, Wyo., but the new owner — Kamen Gottut — sez his home in just across the line in Colorado. Kamen and his wife hauled the old beater to its new job as a high country feed truck. I believe it will be a good ol’ truck for them.
Now, the only thing left for me to sell that’s related to hunting are the 2-wheel, 4-dog trailer and the game bird fly-pen. Both of those items belong to kin or neighbor’s, but I used ‘em and I’m trying to sell both items for them. If you’re interested, give me a call at 620-344-1350 or email me at [email protected].
I’ll have a report next week on ol’ Giant Clawsway, the race colt I have a tiny racing interest in. I’m gonna watch him workout at Remington Race Track in Okie City in two days. I’ll find out then when his trainer, ol’ Ray Simm, plans to enter the colt in his first official race.
Until next week, remember these words of wisdom: “The return of your investment money is more important that the return on it.” Have a good ‘un.