Trail Horses Of THE WEST
New Mexico

Funny Stories

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The No-Cook Cook

One of the great experiences and challenges in my life was being a Big Game Outfitter operation in a Wilderness area of Northwest Wyoming. I refer to that experience in my “History and Breed” section of my website. One of my biggest challenges of being an outfitter was finding a decent and reliable cook. Now I had success in hiring and retaining guides, packers and wranglers, but finding a cook that could cook was something I didn’t have the good fortune of finding. Well, I did find one good cook but he was an even better guide so I assigned him to that duty. Months before the start of one of my fall outfitting seasons I advertised in about ever outdoor magazine imaginable, looking for an experienced camp cook. When you are looking for someone to live in a tent in the wilderness with the highest concentration of Grizzly Bears in the lower 48 for three months with no days off or time to go to town, the number of applicants that apply for such a job diminishes rapidly. Well, one day a fellow from Florida phoned me and said he was an old military man and had done some cooking. He said he wasn’t a gourmet cook but could cook some plain ‘old traditional meals. Nothing fancy was exactly what I was looking for so we agreed upon a compensation plan that included taking he and his wife elk hunting. By the end of August my new cook and his dog arrived in Cody, Wyoming. The rest of my staff, guides, packers and wranglers were already in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness, setting up camp. My new cook and I proceeded to buy more groceries and pack up his cloths and belongings he’d need for the next three months and ride into camp also.

Upon arriving in camp it was immediately apparent that my new cook knew nothing about cooking for a group and was maxed out by just cooking one item at a time. Yes, cook the meat and set aside. Cook the potatoes and set aside. Cook vegetables and set aside. Yes, you guessed it! If we were lucky we had one item that was hot or warm and the other items served that night were ice cold! No matter how much my guide with cooking experience and myself worked with this man, we could not get him to change his ways! I joined in as often as I could and once put some bacon on a woodstove to at least keep it warm when my cook’s dog managed to grab and eat half of that. By now the whole camp was calling our cook the “No cook, cook!” Several times during the course of the season a client or guide would offer to cook and I would take the No cook-cook out hunting. I have to tell you that this man voice sounded exactly like the late Harry Reasonor but his height and appearance was a double for Elmer Fudd. On several occasions we rode our horse right into the middle of a herd of elk. I had instructed the No cook-cook that if this ever occurred to just grab his rifle out of the scabbard and try and find an elk to shoot. Don’t worry about your horse, I would tell him. I am going to stay saddled and will catch your horse if he happens to run off a short distance when the rifle goes off. Each time we encountered elk while riding, Elmer, or I mean the No cook-cook would slowly dismount, grab his rifle and start stumping around like Elmer Fudd looking for Wascal Wabbit! I quickly came to the conclusion that this guy couldn’t see worth beans but the amazing thing was that the elk always just seemed to stop and stare at this unusual little man! One time a nice bull was only 40 yards from the No cook-cook. The No cook-cook of course didn’t see the elk and I couldn’t say a word! All I could do was stay motionless, even though I wanted to shout out….”He is right there!!!!” This type of events went on most of the season until one day an elk just about ran him over and he was able to connect.

It then came the middle of the season and the No cook-cook’s wife was to be in camp that week to try her hand at bagging an elk. I had to leave during that time period to run another hunt on a big ranch in Utah and delegated running the operation over to one of my guides, Bruce. At the end of every hunt period, we’d take all of the hunters/guest back into Cody, buy supplies and pick up the new hunters/guest at the airport. I had asked Bruce to personally pick up the No cook-cook’s wife and take her to the motel where all of our hunters/guest stayed prior to horseback riding into the wilderness. I was half way to Utah when my cell phone rang and it was Bruce. Boss man, he said! Yes, I replied. I just picked up the No cook-cook’s wife at the airport and if I have to guide her all week I am sure I am going to wind up killing her! WHAT, I said. “Boss man, she looks and acts just like Olive Oyl!” Olive Oil, I said? “You know, Pop eye the sailor man’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl?” Oh yeah, she looks like that character, I asked?
Now in truth I wasn’t expecting a Diane Sawyer type to show up but someone that looked like the cartoon character was beyond my wildest dreams. I also got thinking the drive between the airport and the guest’s motel can’t be more than ten minutes if you drove really slow. In ten minutes this woman drove my guide that nuts? The other thought that entered my mine was the story told by Bruce himself about lying in an irrigation ditch with a scoped 243 Win. Rifle waiting for his wife’s (now ex-wife) lover to show up. The story goes that Bruce waited a day and a half for this fellow and I have no-doubt my guide, an ex Vietnam veteran, would have taken him out! Bruce was too good of a man to spend the rest of his time in prison but when you reflect on his past and he tells you he can’t make it for more than ten minutes with the No cook-cook’s wife!!!! You have to take the matter seriously! Bruce, you can’t do that! Now come now, I need your help running this hunt. Don’t let Olive Oyl get to ya……….please? Well the No cook cook’s wife didn’t get an elk and Bruce didn’t “take her out” either. She did shoot up every bullet in camp though.

The food never got any better as long as the No cook-cook was cooking. When I could, I’d jump in and do some meals. I am not a gourmet cook either but I can cook roast, steaks, baked and fried chicken, spaghetti, and ham AND serve it all hot! I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was about the quality of food that was coming out of my camp with my name on it. It was common that I rode out of camp and back to Cody for a variety of reasons during the course of a hunt period. On once such return trip into camp, I decided I would come in on the Deer Creek trail instead of the Isahwa trail I usually used.

My reasoning was my neighbor outfitter who’s camp was located off the Deer Creek Trail, had a real good cook and if I timed it right, I would certainly be invited to have dinner there and avoid another bad and embarrassing meal in my own camp. Deer Creek Pass is known far and wide by outdoors and horseman as being a dangerous place. As you approach the pass you can’t believe there is actually a trail that goes up and over. Riding toward the pass is much like playing a game of cards. Each new card reveals more about the game and so it is with the pass, each hundred yards or so reveals another piece of the puzzle that shows the trail does indeed go over the top of the mountain. I was leading two pack horses and as I came over the pass I was hunkered down in the saddle and trying to put up with the snow that was hitting my face. I suddenly heard a voice say, “Amigo!” I turned to see my good friend JR sheltered behind some windswept trees.
JR was and is a great outdoors man and was coming out of the wilderness after a successful elk hunt. Being an outdoorsman well versed with this area, JR knew not to descend down the trail without watching for several minutes from on top, to see if anyone was coming up from the bottom. Meeting another string of horses on the pass has in the past, proven to be a deadly experience. Scattered down the side of the mountain are parts of pack saddles and bones. Reminders that meeting a group horses and riders on the narrow trail is not advisable! JR had watched the pass from on top and could see me coming up. I reined my saddle horse in his direction and as I extended my hand, I said, hello Smoke. JR was riding a dapple grey gelding I had sold him a year or so before. It was great meeting two good friends in such a gorgeous setting. JR and I briefly spoke about our past trip to Mexico (please see story Cowboy Fredddd) Smoke and his hunt. With day light burning, I had to say good bye and get some more miles in. I already knew that the last couple of hours on the trail were going to be in the dark.

Dinner at my outfitters friend’s place was delightful. I even had warm bread pudding to top off the meal. I felt a little guilty about enjoying such a great meal when my clients and staff were suffering through cold potatoes and Oreo’s for desert. I tipped the cook well and hoped that on another day I could be lucky enough to be invited again.

I hoped you enjoyed reading just a glimpse of what it is like being a wilderness outfitter. I thank God that I was given the opportunity to now just work with horses. No longer any Olive Oyls, or Elmer Fudd’s in my world!


Being in the horse business, there are always a few horses that come along that even an old horse trader becomes especially fond of. My Ol’ Topper was one of them. Golden palomino and as friendly as a pup. I didn’t really want to sell him but some folks came along that just had to have him. Well, a couple weeks after these folks got Ol’ Topper to their place, they discovered that when he peed he would spray! They phoned me with great concern and I told them if they’d just step back a few steps when he stretched out, they would stay dry and everyone would be happy. Well, the problem turned out to be that Ol’ Topper had a short penis. These folks asked me if I had known that and I told them I didn’t go around measuring my male horses…..sorry! Short penis was not what they had in mind and asked if I would take Ol’ Topper back in exchange for another horse. “Sure thing,” I replied. I have a 30-Day Exchange Policy, so it was no problem. When I wrote this 30-Day Exchange Policy, I really didn’t have short penises in mind. Now I guess you could say my 30-Day Exchange Policy has a Penis Provision!

Ol’ Topper is now back at my ranch and I got to thinking maybe I should get the old boy some of those male enhancement pills? You know, you have seen those commercials, “This is Bob!” Then I got to thinking, there really isn’t a Mrs. Bob, so why spend the money? A few days later, I was looking out in the pasture where I keep Ol’ Topper and his buddies. If you have ever seen horses out in a pasture before, you know they sometimes stand around in a group with their heads together. I got to thinking that maybe they were having a little locker room talk! You know, “Hey boys looky here…hung like a horse!” Poor Ol’ Topper. When it came his time to brag, all he could say was, “Just another day of peeing on my shoes!”

I went into the house and turned on the TV to a sports channel. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the commercial with Bob came on. “Bob is doing well! Very well indeed! A big boost in confidence, a little more self esteem and a very happy Mrs. at home.” Yep, this is what I wanted for Ol’ Topper.

So I wrote down the 800# and called. A woman who said she was a Medical Consultant answered the phone. I told her I was calling for my buddy and she asked me if he had ED. I said “No that is why I am calling! He doesn’t have Extended Delivery!” The Medical Lady explained ED meant Erectile Dysfunction! I told her my buddy didn’t have enough equipment to function! The nice lady said, “Oh, I see! Can you describe the physical status of your friend to me?” I replied, “I’d describe him to look about like a can of corn.” “You have got to be kidding me,” she said. “No, I am not kidding,” I replied. The consultant lady said it definitely wasn’t a width problem! “What kind of enhancement would your friend like to see?” she asked. I replied, “Oh, maybe just average.” “What would you say is average?” she asked. I said, “Around here, I’d say 12-15 inches.” She said, “Where do you live?” “New Mexico,” I answered back. She said, “That is some average!” I replied, “That is nothing, you should have seen Ol’ Jack. Why, when love was in the air, if ya know what I mean, he was more than average.” “You have got to be kidding” the Medical Consultant lady said again. “No, I am not kidding lady! Ol’ Jack had girlfriends come as far as Canada to see him.” “I certainly can understand that,” she replied. “Most well known stud in the whole State,” I said.

The Medical Consultant lady went on to calculate that my buddy would need 64 bottles to acquire the “average” I had described. I told her to go ahead and send them; my buddy needed to get going.

A few days later the brown truck lady came down the ranch road. Now the brown truck lady has never been a friendly sort. I don’t think she likes coming way out here in the country and having to get out of her brown truck to open and close the ranch gate. She pulled up and got out of the truck with a dolly loaded with three boxes. The boxes all had a bright green “RUSH” sticker on them, with a picture of Bob doing his big wave and smiling his great big grin. “That will be Ol’ Topper very soon,” I thought to myself. The unfriendly brown truck lady asked what I was going to do with them and I told her they were for Ol’ Topper! “Yeah, what’s the big rush?” she questioned. I said in a rather sad voice, “Things aren’t going well with the locker room discussions!” “Too bad!” she replied. Trying to always be neighborly, I said, “If you have a few minutes, ya want to ride Ol’ Topper?” With that, she slammed the door and down the ranch road she went, her brown truck tires throwing gravel. Why, that brown truck lady never even stopped to shut the gate!

Well, Ol’ Topper is getting his “Bob” pills and I’ll be a checking daily to see how he is progressing. Will keep ya posted!

Living.. click here...

Shopping Trip
click thumbnails to view  a larger image..

Over the river and through the fields, on a shopping trip we did go.

We observed and obeyed all traffic signs along the way.

Thumper wanted Miller Lite
and Hank wanted Bud!

Hank and Thumper took the stairs and let the children have the railed rampway.

Hank wanted to stop and get his mane trimmed.

Had to do a little
 at the "Ride Thru".

Then it was time for a bite.
Thumper did the ordering.

Person with the fastest horse gets to the Sales at Grand Opening first!

Hank found us a picnic table to have lunch on.

Lunch didn't set well and the horses got gas!

soooooo,..... we had to go to the Drug Store!

The horses said the trip to the big city and fast food restaurants were fun, but they'd rather be in the country and eat at home.


No one would argue that riding a horse has some physical benefits to both horse and rider. However, unless you are a very nervous rider, you don’t get much help in the cardiovascular department! A few years back, an old girlfriend suggested we buy a couple of bicycles to help improve our cardiovascular health. My immediate thought was it was fun riding a bike as kid so, sure let’s go look at some!

We walked into a bike store, and to my amazement, there were hundreds of bikes in every shape and color. Last time I looked at a bike was in a Montgomery Wards Store! I walked towards the middle of the showroom floor and peeked at the price tag dangling off the small handlebars. The price tag read $7,000!!!!! I was frozen nearly motionless when a young salesman approached and said, “If you have any questions, just holler.”

I replied, “I do have a question, where is the motor?”

I figured for $7,000 there has to be something that propels this thing along. Certainly, for $7,000 you don’t have to peddle the damn thing, do you?

Fortunately, if you are not planning to compete in the Tour de France, you can buy a bicycle for less. However, not a whole lot less. We found a couple of bicycles that could be ridden in the mountains as well as on paved surfaces and took them out to the parking lot to ride them around. The seat on my bike wasn’t nearly as wide as the object I’d planned on planting on it.

“OK, let’s get them,” I said!

“Now we need to get accessories,” my girlfriend said.

“Accessories?” I replied. The only accessory my old Montgomery Wards bike had was a basket to carry my coffee can full of worms and my fishing pole. Oh no, come to find out, we also needed fingerless gloves, helmets and riding shorts! Riding shorts?

“Not this cowboy,” I emphatically replied!

“Honey, you need these shorts, they are padded in the right places and protect your parts,” my girlfriend said. Padding on my parts? Now I was a little flattered that my girlfriend was concerned about my parts and maybe she had a good idea.

“Try them on” she insisted, “You’ll find them very comfortable.”

I found some that looked my size and stepped into the changing room. Sure enough, the padding was right where my parts were and it did indeed feel comfortable. I opened the dressing room door to get a look into the full length mirror. The first thing I noticed was that I didn’t exactly look like Lance Armstrong! The more I looked at myself in the mirror, the more I knew I couldn’t wear these padded shorts.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Well, I planned on riding in the country,” I replied.

“So?” she asked.

“So? You expect me to be riding out in the country in these tight little shorts? Haven’t you ever seen the movie Deliverance? Remember that Ned Beatty part? Besides, if my cowboy buddies see me in these things, I’m gonna have to move!”

The exercise was good for me and I still have the bicycle. The shorts? Well, they might be found under my Wranglers.

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