You probably wonder where I have been these past few months. Well, at the end of my entry, I will fill you in about what caused the lengthy gap in my posts. It isn't that I have been terribly busy. As you can see, we have been out rooting around in the back country, but not with our usual enthusiasm. To catch you up, I thought I would mention some of the visitors who have stopped in Grover recently, and to remind you that the second annual "Grover Boyz" picnic is on for September 4. Come join us at Wildcat Guard Station from 4:00 PM until dark. The place is easy to find -- same as last year. Turn south on Highway 12 in Torrey and drive approximately 17 miles until you see the signs. Hope to see you there!
Wall of Fame
We have an interesting way of keeping track of Grover visitors. Rather than a comprehensive genealogical data base we have everyone post their card in the outhouse. If you ever stop for a visit, you can read our complete 24 year history while taking care of business. Your paper work isn't done until you post your card on the outhouse wall. I thought you might want to meet some of the aspiring and real cowboys who have ridden with us so far this summer.
A Real Cowboy
Wherever we stop, tourists often pull up to ask Dangerous about "cowboying" on the High Plateau. They assume that anyone towing a horse trailer with his dog in the back is headed out to check his stock. Sometimes they even ask us to pose for pictures. Being a somewhat honest sort, Dangerous always tries to explain the differences between a real cowboy and a recreational rider like himself. The differences are obvious to the trained eye, but usually not to foreign visitors or big city tourists. So you don't embarrass yourself by stopping us to take our picture or inquire about the condition of our herd, I thought I would give you a lesson in identifying the real western article. To start, I have included a picture of a real cowboy. Dudley who rides with Dangerous occasionally establishes a pretty high standard. Use his picture to hone your skills in picking out real cowboys from the aspiring or recreational rider. If you want a picture of a real cowboy, Dudley is your man. To avoid embarrassment with your friends, don't include any of the other riders shown below in your western vacation pictures.
I give Dennis an "A" for effort, but as you can easily tell, he is just starting his cowboy career. You have to like a guy who will take unending crap and criticism from Fremont Bob about his hat, belt, and boots and still ride until his but is sore. He could instantly improve his image by getting rid of the camel back pack. Real cowboys drink from a canteen or directly from a stream, but not from a tube connected to a water bladder carried on their back. The pack is a dead giveaway that Dennis is learning the trade.
No Boots, Hat, or Spurs
Jay is now a full time High Plateau resident who spends time with us on the porch. Eventually, everyone who shows up in Grover has to try riding with Dangerous. Like Dennis, Jay hasn't learned the importance of image when riding with Fremont Bob and Dangerous. Jay is, also, sporting a back pack, but more importantly, he is missing some key pieces of clothing and equipment. To live and ride in Wayne County he has got to get some boots, and maybe the requisite cowboy hat. With a new pair of boots and more experience, he might add a pair of Fremont Bob's handmade spurs, if asked, Fremont might go with him to Burns Saddlery to choose an appropriate outfit. According to Fremont, Dennis should have asked for his fashion advice before purchasing his new ensemble.
After seeing the three pictures of recent riders, it is pretty obvious what distinguishes the real cowboy or horseman from the occasional rider. The horse and how the rider handles him are by far most important, and difficult to observe in a photo. As you may have noticed, LG appears in all three pictures. LG is what Dangerous calls his "guest horse" because anyone can ride him. However, it is the rare visitor who wants to ride Dangerous' mare Dottie. They like to look at her over the fence, but no one seems interested in giving Dottie a try. When you see someone mounted on a horse other than LG, you will know the aspiring rider has stepped up their skill level.
With a little practice, you can easily distinguish the inexperienced rider from the real cowboy. Dangerous falls somewhere between the three riders pictured above and Dudley. While Dangerous doesn't wear the complete cowboy outfit, you will notice well worn cowboy boots, a set of Fremont Bob spurs, but no cowboy hat. He saddles and cares for his own horse, and rarely rides LG. While he prefers his high octane mares, don't mistake him for a real cowboy like Dudley or Fremont. A real cowboy can ride a snake or mule if you can saddle them, while a recreational rider like Dangerous will get down and walk when necessary. There are other obvious differences like driving a gas powered Chevy truck rather than a Dodge diesel, or towing a bumper pull horse trailer as opposed to a goose neck stock trailer. Well, I think you get the idea. With a little experience, the difference becomes obvious.