Guitar’s Dell City Ranch
I guess it must have been about 1971 that was the first time that I got to the Guitar Ranch out at Dell City, Texas. Dell City is in far west Texas, just west of the Guadalupe Mountains. It is kind of a desert like country and it has those big, dry salt lakes that are on it.
We were going to gather that old East Pasture and I don’t know how many acres are in that pasture, but it is a great big pasture. It runs from that Salt Flat Highway that turns and goes down to Dell City and back to the east toward the Guadalupes. There is not a fence on the east side of that pasture and there is not a fence on the north end of it. I guess there is one somewhere between there and the Guadalupes, but none of us know where it is. Somewhere up in New Mexico, there is a fence, but none of us know where it is. The outside man when we gather in this pasture just throws a circle until he quits hitting cow tracks, then when he gets the circle around, everybody falls in like they need to and comes on around.
I was scared to death that I was going to get lost. I am pretty bad abut getting turned around and getting lost. They had dropped me on the inside. I got all my bearings and got my landmarks. The Guadalupes were right back there in the east and there were other hills and mountains around me. I had all my bearings right and the drive had been going on for an hour or an hour and a half. I thought it was getting real cloudy, but then all of my landmarks started disappearing. Then all of a sudden it started snowing and there wasn’t any wind whatsoever. It wasn’t very cold, I guess it was just right at freezing. It just got to snowing harder and harder. One of the boys said he couldn’t even see his horse’s ears. I could see my horses ears, but I couldn’t see any farther.
Just before that snow had hit, I had hit a little bunch of cows and there was an old bull with them. They had sold off some of that country way back yonder, I don’t know when. People had lived there a while and then moved away. Things were falling down and I had hit one of their old drift fences, I guess that is what you would call it. It was around some of that that they had sold off. It was on my right hand side. I couldn’t see it, but I could bump it with my stirrup every once in a while. I would just ease my horse over there and bump it. I just kept on going and kept it right on my right. I could hear those cows and that bull ahead of me up there walking along slow. I didn’t know what I was going to do, it was one of those snows with great big flakes and it was just building up on my saddle horn. I just kept following those cattle.
I was riding Dusty. I heard Mr. Guitar hollering and I hollered and he came to me. He said, “Boy, you’re going the wrong way.” I said, “Mr. Guitar, I don’t think I am. This fence is still right here on my right and I don’t think I‘m going the wrong way.” He said, “I own this ranch.” I said, “Yes Sir, I know it but I don’t think I’m going to the wrong way. I think I’m going right.” He said, “You’re going the wrong way and you’re going to fall off in Carlsbad Caverns is what’s going to happen to you and you’ll die.” I said, “I’m not going to turn around.” He said, “ Well, I’ll come to your funeral,” and he rode off. I was still questioning myself, but I could still bump that fence with my right stirrup, so I just kept on riding.
In just a little while, I heard Mr. Guitar holler again and I hollered back to him. He came to me and rode right up against me. He was riding old Molly and stayed right against me. I said, “Did you decide that I was right?” He said, “Oh, my lands, no. Boy, you’re just as wrong as you can be, but in a storm like this, I’m scared to be right by myself.” We just rode along there together until the snow stopped.