Sometimes I think my life would make a good soap opera. It couldn’t be listed as true life, it would have to be in the fiction section, ‘cause no one would believe it. To say the least, again, the job in Colorado didn’t work out. I put up with it for four days and left. I believe I was the victim of unrealistic expectations. I stayed out the month to use my rent. I was lucky and got my deposit back. I had booked two shows in Cripple Creek. We decided to cancel them because they were percentage shows and might not support long distance expenses. When I got back to Jordan Valley, I unloaded my household into the shop and because the house was rented, drug my old camp trailer to a RV park in Nampa, Idaho.
Somewhere in here I called Snake River to see if I could get my job back. No go, it was already filled. I wound up calling Gary and Dede Fales at Rimrock Dude Ranch. Rimrock is west of Cody, Wyoming on the way to Yellowstone National Park. Gary is a couple years older than I am. We’ve know each other since we both were riding saddle broncs, about 40 some years. I used to work for Gary’s dad and mom back when they owned the ranch and hunting camps. I never worked on the ranch. I always was guiding hunters and pulling pack strings in the wilderness. ( We actually kinda looked down our noses at those “dude wranglers”.) Gary said, ” I can’t pay ya what yer worth.” I said,”Hell, I’m gettin’ old. I might not be worth much.” We struck a deal and I went to work the first of May. I only had to spend a little over 40 days in that little camp trailer.
When I got there, Gary had bought a pen full of new horses. The first order of business was to get shoes on these knot heads and then ride them to see if they were any good. Bear in mind, Gary is 68 and I’m 66. I found out that my new knees were pretty good for shoeing horses but my back was still a little weak. I then found that when you go from being extremely bow-legged to being knock-kneed, getting on a horse is not the same as it used to be. I couldn’t find my right stirrup. This has some interesting ramifications when mounting a somewhat knuckle-headed bronc. I did pretty good; only wound up in the rocks once and that was because my saddle slipped when I was getting on. I then spent the whole summer riding “these kind of horses”. We then went to fixing up the ranch. It needed a lot of work. Post holes and corral poles and paint them too. I rebuilt a bunch of pole gates.(my wood working for the summer, that and chain sawing trees out of the trails.) Then we cleaned the place up and built a fence around the swimming pool. I literally worked my butt off. I took one little 4 day pack trip to Hardpan Basin over Memorial day. I started a nice bay mare and she turned into a pretty good little girl by the end of summer. The guests arrived the first of June and then I got to put up with a bunch of kid wranglers. Sometimes I though I was running a daycare. The rest of the summer is a blur. I played one music show per week at the ranch. That was all I had time for. It was all over and I left on Labor day.
I took a trip to Indiana to see family and friends. I then came HOME!!! The renter was gone. I moved back into the house and decided to see if I can get the saddle shop up and running again. I think I will use my website to market custom guitar straps and belts. I’m sort of pushed this way by a remark that Gary made toward the end of the summer. I’d just had a tough time with one of his horses. He said,”When ya was young ya had ta ride these kinda horses ‘cause the ol’ guys wouldn’t. NOW, ya have ta ride ‘em ‘cause the young guys don’t know how!” I’m really tired of “these kinda horses”. I think it’s time to do something else.
By the by, just so this has something to do with wood working; I have my handtool wood shop all set up and ready to go. I will post photos of the NEW shop in the near future.
-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon