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
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
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
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
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.