Monday, December 31, 2012

Roy Rogers Items Auctioned


The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, MO, has closed and all items went up for auction. Here are some of the prices received:

Roy's 1954 Oldsmobile went for $254,500.
Trigger's saddle and bridle, $386,500.
 Roy and Dale's dinnerware plates and silver, $11,875
Trigger sold for $266,500
Dale's parade saddle sold for $104,500

 These are just some of the items auctioned off. Who says there's no money in dead horses?


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Sweetheart of the Rodeo

I see in the papers that Chenae Shiner of Roosevelt, Utah, has been crowned Miss Rodeo America for 2013!

The Uintah Basin cowboys and cowgirls have been active in the rodeo since the 1920's that I know of. It is a BIG thing to enter into one of these contests for the individual cowboy or cowgirl as it takes training to become a professional performer. Miss Shiner has been at it for years, too, winning the title of National High School Rodeo Queen a few years back, telling the Salt Lake Tribune, Quote: rodeo is a family sport. It is the only competition where your competitor is your brother and best friend.Unquote.

She wins a $22,500 educational scholarship and some nice awards from Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots, Bailey Hats, Silver Mounted Court's Saddle and an official Miss Rodeo America trophy buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

Congratulations to Chenae Shiner and thanks to the Uintah Basin Standard newspaper for publishing this story. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Word's Out!!

As a resident of the State of Utah for the first seventeen years of my old life, I have to confess that I knew about the seamy side of life in that State, but I never told a soul how bad it was. I wouldn't say anything that would embarrass the State that provided me with a high school education for practically nothing - not by a long shot or even a double shot. But somebody has let the word out and I feel obligated to let everyone else know just how bad life was in early Utah. I received the news in an e-mail from a relative in Kansas and it is provided below, at least a reference to it.

But first, I would like to say a couple of words about two towns that are included in the photographs, Bingham and Huntington. Bingham High School was in our sports league and we played against them two or three times a year and always got beat no matter the sport. Bingham is the home of Bingham Copper Mine and the miners there were from all over the world, Greece, Balkans, Italy, and other little-known countries at the time I'm talking about, and they were bigger and stronger than our little town's, which only had a smelter. A high school buddy worked at a florist shop and since he had his driver's license they let him drive the truck to make deliveries, and he took me along on a couple of these jaunts to Bingham. Going there was an adventure in itself at the age of l6, a visit to the biggest copper mine in the world and the roughest town in the valley of the Salt Lake, we were told. Traveling up the mountain to the town, the darn old Dodge van overheated and vapor-locked on us right there on Main Street among all those bars and saloons, etc. We were scared out of our wits since we heard they didn't like strangers, and we stewed and fretted trying to get the Dodge going again. I was personally afraid I'd run into the football player I had clipped in a game that year. He told me he was going to beat me up if he got the chance. But we escaped with no harm done and breathed a sigh of relief. It was strange territory for this naive little Mormon kid.

The other town is Huntington, and I wouldn't be surprised that one or even two or more of those fellers in the picture are relatives. A couple of 'em look real familiar. My brother was born there in 1930 since the family lived there at the time and I've visited the place a few times since. The last time I don't remember seeing that saloon, but Huntington was not a very large town anyway and it was probably torn down or made into some other business. My Uncle Ben and Aunt Franny lived there most of their lives. They never talked about the bars or taverns, even though Uncle Ben was not immune from visiting them now and again. A "tough" town it wasn't to my knowledge, but they had their share of unseamliness going on.

Another town that had a reputation and not a very good one was Park City, where everyone knew there was a "hoorhouse", but I certainly didn't know anyone personally who lived there or even stopped for a visit. Park City at that time was another of those "rough" mining towns.

So anyway here's the link to those photos that show the seamy side of that Mormon State: 

Y'all have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

High Plains Drifter

Turned the TV on yesterday PM and AMC was playing the movie High Plains Drifter with Clint Eastwood as the star and the "Drifter". Mr. Eastwood was a horny old woman-jumper in this one, taking on the likes of  any female that showed up--almost, and committing violence against everyone else--almost. I missed the first part of it, but got in on the memory sequence of the Sheriff being whipped ass-over-tea-kettle over and over again by three sadistic outlaws finally sending his mortal remains to Hell or Heaven and leaving him in the street for everyone to see. After a dust-up that kills seven men, Eastwood sets off after the three whip snappers. He plays shoot and be shot at with the three, shooting one's ear and raising bumps by falling rocks on the others when he lights off a stick of dynamite. Eastwood heads back to town and jumps in the sack with the hotel owner's wife for a little respite from all the violence. He then has the citizens of the town paint everything red and changed the name to Hell as he waits for the three outlaws to come after him. They do and they gather the townspeople in the bar to wait for the Drifter to show his face. He does and returns the favor of the whipping on one of them, then hangs another one, and finally shoots the third. And the hotel owner's wife follows him out of town - at least she climbs into a wagon with all her belongings as the Drifter leaves town.

And I thought here it is on a rainy Saturday afternoon and this movie is playing for all to see (kids, teens, and other shameless adults, like me) no matter all the violence, killing, raping, fornicating, whipping, and other immoral acts taking place on the screen. And then I wondered if the 20-year-old that shot up the Sandy Hook Elementary School was a fan of this type of films. Some can handle it, others have a tough time with it, using it for a training film, etc., like violent video games.

For a more realistic review of this movie head to Wikipedia.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not Exactly the West

Key West is not exactly the West as we know it, but I finished reading Thomas McGuane's novel Ninety-two in the Shade which mostly transpires in Key West. Right off, I'll say that I enjoyed it and learned some new words by reading it. This Bantam edition was published in 1974 and to me is "hip" or "cool" for the times. He portrays the main characters by getting into their minds and letting them rant and rave in their own particular way, sometimes seeming normal and other times not quite so. It's the story of two fishing guides and their quarrel about taking customers out fishing. Although seeming to be good friends for most of the book, there is violence brewing under the surface. Nicholas Dance lets Thomas Skelton use his boat to guide a fishing party and ends up with the boat on the bottom of the sea by Skelton's own hand, and Dance promises to kill him if he ever guides again.

With colorful characters and more colorful language the story is carried to its logical conclusion. To quote Kirkus Reviews from the first page of the book, "This is Hemingway country, with a vast metaphysical difference. McGuane is very much his own man stalking his own kind of truth." And if I may add, writing in is own style with a knowledge of the fishing industry and the fish and Key West.

A good book to pass a rainy afternoon with.   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Selling During the Holidays

The Hartline Literary Agency blog has some suggestions for selling your books during the holidays. In a blog article Jennifer Hudson Taylor puts forth some tips for you that should help increase your sales, so I will refer you to the blog here,, dated December 7, 2012, and you can take advantage of the tips to make this season a success. Good Luck!  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seldom Seen

The thing I'm talking about is diseases in the last half of the nineteenth century. Doc Halliday had tuberculosis and everyone knows it, showing up nearly every time his name is mentioned in a book. But there were several other illnesses that are barely mentioned, excluding TB, small pox, and cholera. Small pox appears regularly in the journals and diaries of travelers heading west, especially during the Great Migration. Cholera is mentioned in many of these journals, too.

One of the worst plagues on the children of the western settlers was diphtheria and along with that scarlatina or scarlet fever. Both these plagues killed many children. And then there were typhoid fever and whooping cough. No cures were available for these illnesses until after the turn of the century or just before. When I was growing up in the 1930's, there was dipththeria in the neighborhood and my mother was always telling me about typhoid fever that could be caught from drinking out of contaminated streams, one of our main sources of water. The 1918 typhoid epidemic ravaged our little town, killing many of the young residents. Scarlet fever was around in the 1940's, but I didn't hear much of it in the 1950's and -60's.

There are a few novels where one of these sicknesses is mentioned, but it didn't seem to be a very popular subject for inclusion in the stories people wrote back then or now for that matter. I'm just guessing but  TV shows like Little House on the Prairie had episodes where some kid was dying from one of these diseases and someone was sent for a doctor who showed up just in time to save the patient.

I haven't read anything recently where illness makes up part of a story in a Western, unless it's TB (consumption). I'm not saying that there should be more of it, but that these diseases killed a lot of kids and grownups and maybe could have been included in more stories to make a more complete picture of social and family life. Maybe it's just too gruesome a subject to consider.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Best of the Best

True West Magazine for January 2013 has the Annual Best of the Best Awards. It covers Movies, Art, Books, Music, Firearms, etc., and is loaded with great things to do and see. I'm mainly interested in the Books and Bookstores listing and they didn't fudge a bit. They named Guidon Books of Scottsdale, AZ, the best western history bookstore. It's on my list to go check out. I know I've been in there, but it was a few years ago and it's time to take another look. Maybe they will have George Hand's biography, volume three which I've been looking for for quite a long time.

Larry McMurtry has written Custer, a biography, which will be interesting to read, among the best books. Butch Cassidy, My Uncle, by Bill Betenson, is another one that I'll have to squeeze in somewhere. They have the Best Photography Book of the West as John Wayne, The Legend and the Man. 

I wish people would stop writing stuff, say take a break for a few years and let the world catch up on all the reading that is available now. Even a speed reader can't keep up with all the new material coming on to the market. I can see myself with audio phones, watching a cowboy movie on TV, sitting at the computer with my trusty 12G cell phone working away and the VCR recording  another good western, and me trying to write a novel or two, a blog, a news release, an interview , a book review - EGAD! Stop, stop, stop!    Just not enough time left, for Heaven's sake!