Ernest Van Buren and Harry Mann of Wyoming

Ernest Van Buren and Harry Mann of Wyoming 
Rhonda Stearns

On the "throat cutting" stop-a-wreck subject . . . here's a true story from old Generational friends well known to my family and my husband's family in this region. A rather small and lithe cowboy who was a tough bronc rider, touted as "able to ride anything he could get on" was in a really life-threatening bind one day.  He had a big old rancher friend come to side him as he tried a big bronc nobody'd ever been on.

I think he mounted in the round corral, at least inside a corral and the big friend opened the gate.  Instantly he was flying alongside as the bronc just flattened out in a really hard run instantly . . . no buck, no sull nor stall.  Suddenly the big man realized at the rate they were covering ground and the direction the bronc had taken they were almost to a deep, sheer rock-sided canyon cut by a creek.  The earth just ended, with a long drop to the canyon bottom, and it was coming closer than closer...

The bronc was outdistancing the heavier man hazing, so quick thinking he figured a sudden stop offered some hope, while sailing over that canyon wall was certain death for bronc and man.  He pushed his horse to its limit and got as close to the fleeing bronc's head as possible with his pistol out and ready to pull the trigger . . . the frantic rider was yelling, "Shoot, shoot, shoot!!!"

Both knew man and bronc - maybe even outrider - could be killed in the end over teakettle wreck that would ensue if he dropped the runaway . . . but going over the brink was absolute, certain death.  

The big man steadied his hand and just before he touched it off the horse threw his head up and went to skidding to a halt and turning off.  He veered just in time, then stopped and stood on quivering legs, heaving and dripping sweat; same as was the other horse and both riders.

All survived, and the bronc made one of the best horses in the country.

The small rider was Ernest Van Buren and the big man was Harry Mann; the canyon was Stockade Beaver Creek, Wyoming.  Roughly around the 1930's.



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