“Ole Bowlegs” tells me about the time that Skip nearly roped a coyote. I knew part of the story, because Skip was riding a horse that Jeff Gray broke for Skip. Jeff and I were working together on the Fig. 2’s when Jeff was riding this horse for Skip. Skip called him a turd-muckeldy-dun. He was a good stout, well made pony, with plenty of athletic ability and lots of go. I really liked this horse and remember him well, even though it has been close to 30 years ago. Skip was still wet behind the ears and this horse fit him to a tee, both were graving excitement more than common sense.
Bowlegs said that he was on a cow works with a crew of well mounted cowboys who were long on experience, but not years.
They had a nice herd throwed together and were moving them to a shipping trap. The herd needed every hand on duty, as the cattle were trotty and the country was brushy, lots of canyons and get-a-ways. Skip was a member of this crew along with his twin brother Snap who was the cow boss. Things were going smooth, so smooth that Skip thought that he could leave his spot to chase a young coyote he had jumped in this brushy canyon they were in. His Dun was into it from the first jump. He was gaining on the young coyote so fast that the thought occurred to him that he might have a chance to rope this scamper. He built a loop in his rope and was still gaining. He hadn’t urged his Dun any, but with very little coaxing, they got nearly within throwing range. He was rollin and the dun was enjoying the chase, but Skip had never asked Dunny for this much and was a little hesitant to ask for more, as he was afraid he would go from a roping to a full fledge run-a-way.
The canyon opened up and the brush got thinner, when he noticed that other members of the crew had joined the chase and were bearing down on him. This is when he decided to ask Dunny for all he had. This is just what Dunny was wanting and they were right on top of this young coyote, who was stretched out and not looking back. Skip was busy, watching, riding, swinging………..busy with everything except paying attention to where he was going. All at once several things happened …………..The young coyote zipped under a barbed wire fence, while Dunny was trying to slam on the brakes but Skip was air-borne with Dunny who had tripped over the fence and was doing a full flip. Skip could see he was tangled with wire, rope and horse as they hit the ground, sliding to a stop. When the dust cleared he knew his leg was pinned under Dunny but he had the off rein holding Dunny down who was wrapped up in wire and rope. As he was struggling with Dunny, Snap rode up cussing at the top of his lungs, hollering at what a dumb brother he had the and that was the dumbest trick he had ever seen. Skip was trying to ask Snap if he had any wire pliers, but Snap was not listening and was only interested in letting Skip know how much trouble he had caused. Skip had to hold his horse down by himself, while he listened to Snap tell him how he had caused the whole crew to leave the herd and help him chase a whole family of coyotes. They were all scattered in a wild goose chase and the whole herd was scattered. No telling how long it would take them to get things back in order. Not to mention that they had to mend fence now.
Snap turned and rode off as another hand rode up, he was throughly disgusted. With the help of another crew member, Skip got untangled. Barring a few raspberries Skip and Dunny were unharmed.
It took a spell to get things back in order, but Skip was still giggling, thinking about that coyote. He told Snap that Coyote was searching for a new home. He was probably still running and figured he was going to write a letter home and tell them of his new home where cowboys didn’t chase coyotes swinging a rope.
Bowlegs said he didn’t see much change in the young cowboys that day but, there were lots of coyote tales around the fire that evening.