Baxter Black: The Illinois cowboy revisited
It’s nice to hear that my friends Chet and Dale are still holding up the reputation of the “mounted Cowboy” in the land of Lincoln and John Deere. Due to a case of porphus ileades (Latin for poor facilities) at the local sale barn, two big bulls crashed the unloading chute and plowed into the parking lot!
Dale called Chet. By the time he arrived and rode into the ruckus, the barn crew had managed to pen one of the bulls. The other one left in his wake a smashed car, a dented dually, turned over trailer, and a broken sign pointing to the scale. The bull, Blacky, escaped into a 35-acre patch of overgrown brushy woods that separated the auction barn from a blacktop road that was lined by a cemetery, nursing home and soybean fields.
Chet sent his ketch dogs after the bull who had already cleared the woods and was bearing down on the nursing home. The old folks heard the baying of the dogs and the bull bellering! They had their noses to the window glass and were hoopin’ and hollerin! The senior attendant was trying to get the residents back to nap time, but having no luck.
The dogs had turned the bull back when Chet caught up. Then he noticed a funeral service was in progress. Blacky was pounding toward the gravesite. In the short seconds before contact, Chet’s keen cowboy intuition sensed that the deceased had been a veteran. The twenty-one gun salute cracked like a thunder bolt scaring the dogs poopless!
Chet rode after Blacky like Trevor Brazile at the Preakness! They were chunking out a fusillade of divots, scattering water sprinklers and churning up the sacred lawn! Chet pushed his horse against the bull and turned him back through the woods. The bull ran into a tangle of old fence which stopped him.
With the quick-thinking presence of a cowboy in a wreck, our hero threw a neat loop over the bull’s head, simultaneously and accidentally double looping a chunk of wooden fence post, which jerked out and intruded itself in the mess. The rope came tight. Chet was whoopin’ and yellin’ as he pushed, drug, and yee-hawed ol’ Blacky back through the brush.
When they bumbled out of the woods onto the parking lot, they were quite a sight! Chet still had his hat, but one sleeve was torn off, his saddle was cockeyed and the bull was wearing a necklace of wire, post and rope!
When the quartet (I’m counting the post) finally scrambled in reach of a corral, a dozen sale barn refugees, consultants, gypo traders and truck drivers joined in the hilarity and trapped the tangled mass of bull through the gate and slammed it shut!
And that, my friends, is the Cowboy Way!
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