When dad was at Medicine Ranch we had a neighbor about 15 miles away, on Cherry Creek, named Alf Devore. Alf had homesteaded his place in 1912, the year Arizona had become a state. Alf had been a cowboy in that rough old Gila County and around before he had got his own start. How did he get his start?Damned if I know, but I do know that he could catch anything he decided to catch. His rope was only about 30 feet long cause he took his dallies out before he left home. In other words he tied hard and fast.
I got to spend a little time over there at CHerry Creek, and ride with Alf and Dutch Ortega, who worked for Alf, and was a damn fine Arizona COwpuncher. I think they both probably wished I was home at Medicine instead of in their way. Anyway, I got to see some pretty good runs, that country is steep, rocky and has lots of cactus and brush. We still had screw worms to doctor. It was a fun time to be trying to be a cowboy. My sister Carolyn, Dad and Davey Reese were all there too, and all good help.
I was riding an old gelding called Blondie, he was grey so tell me how he got his name. Anyway, we were trying to get a bunch of cattle held up in a pretty tight place. Well, crap, I let them get by me and the race on on, down of that ridge to a canyon full of bad brush. I wasn’t getting there, and old Alf went around me, turned that little bunch back uphill. DUtch and a couple of other good guys were there and they got the cattle held up. The worms were doctored, cattle roped led out heeled and doctored without running the rest of them old cows off.
When we were done I got some ribbing. Where were you? How come you let an old man ride around you? And so on. Alf was at least 65 and I was 12 or 13. So I blamed poor Blondie. He can’t run, he’s too old and a couple other lame excuses. So then I got a good little lesson, there were a couple of ponies there just as old as Blondie. It was up to me to make him run and so on. Mainly, I finally realized I just wasn’t in the right place to get those cattle turned and stopped. That’s the main different in some cowboys, some know how to help you get in the right place, almost no matter what they are riding. And other fellars? Well, some learn and get better, others just think they are better. I hope I was the first kind, but know I was never the good rough country cowboy that Alf was.