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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, December 04, 1910, Image 11

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The San Francisco Sunday Call
By Fred W. Vincent
ff\ ET her buck!" Blueblazes
I humped his back, planted his
| head down and went up— vp —
up! When he struck ground
again his four legs were bunched and
Ftiflf and the resulting jar threw his
rider's head back with a jerk. But the
horseman, leechlike, clung in the sad
Squealing with rage, Blueblazes
wheeled, plunged, squirmed, resorted to
er'ery trick a vicious outlaw knows in
fctinctively. in an effort to rid himself
of 'his human burden. Still the man
held his scat.
Gasping and thrilled by the splendid
exhibition 10,000 persons who occupied
the bleachers surrounding the arena,
ftood up and shrieked. Thus was
.ushered in at Pendleton, Oregon, re
eeatljr. the first annual "round up." a
frontier show in which cowboys .from
all parts of the west participated.
California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada,
Washington, Montana and Wyoming
were represented by range riders, ex
perts all, and competent to ride or
throw a rope in the fastest company.
Amoap the cattle country luminaries
were Buffalo Vernon, . champion "bull
dogger" of the world; John Spain.
premier "roper" of the northwest; Bert
Kelly, the Pacific coast champion
buckaro. and Charley Runyon, a marvel
with the lariat, whose postof&ca ad
dress is "just California." *
\u25a0 There, too, were Roy Moss and Guy-
Hays, federal forest rangers, whp stop
ped Chasing cattlemen and Indians off
Uncle Sam's forest reserves just long
enough to show the tenderfeet how to
lasso, throw and "hog tie" a steer,
•hoof and horn within three seconds of
the world's record. As a team they
have never yet been beaten on the"
Pacific coast.
In' the western stock country grow
horses that can buck and men who can
ride them. For weeks a committee
composed of the town's leading citi
zens had been working out the prob
lem of bringing such men and horses
together. Eastern Oregon. Washing
ton and western Idaho had been
combed in the search for the In
horseflesh and the wildest steers.
Meanwhile the best known broncho
busters of the west had been invited
to become entrants In the competitions.
As a result of the committee's efforts
four score professional cowboys, an
Innumerable number of would be
"basters" and 200 Indians were In at
•tendance, ready to ride, race, parade,
rope and brand, when the signal, "let
her buck," was given and Blueblazes,
with his rider, opened the series of ex
citing though unequal contests between
man and beast, winch continued for
the n^xt four days.
' Save for the main entrances grand
stands inclosed the arena. Imme
diately In rront ol the stands was a
circular quarter mile track which was
divided from the arena proper \by a
strong fence made of heavy timbers
solidly braced to withstand the Impact
shock of thousand pound horse or a
ten eteer traveling at full steam ahead.
"1 do hope that the. cowman won't
take a cropper!" exclaimed a chic lit
tle woman who bore all the earmarks
of "back east," as she watchej Blue
blazes plunge.
She addressed the remark to her
husband, who was all teeth and side
burns; but It was a clean featured man,
his face deeply bronzed from a'vigor
ous outdoor life, who replied:
"Don't worry, ma'am." said he. with
the easy freedom of the old time west
erner, "that boy looks like he's going
to stay awhile. He won't pull leather
»s long as he keeps Ms-hack, less and
arms Umher."
The woman raised her cultured browg
ever so slightly, gave him a quick look,
then turned her eyes once more toward
the arena. She had misconstrued a
friendly remark for something verging
on the unduly familiar. Still her
curiosity had been stirred. She did not
know that to pull leather meant to be
thrown from a horse in the cowboy
lexicon, and she wanted to find out. •
She turned toward her husband.
"Franklin," said she, "what does pull
leather mean?"
"Pull leathah, Ah, yaas, pull
leathah " v he said, then lapsed into
a hopeless silence while he rapidly
looked over the horseman and horse
below. He surveyed the saddle, the
stirrups, the bridle, but found .no
clew. Next he scanned- the. buckaro's
attire, his sombrero, the gaudy ker
chief negligently knotted loosely about
his neck, then the soft blue flannel
shirt and finally the chaparajos. In
them he found hope.
"My dear," said he, "you see those—
ah — trousers covered with long colored
hair that the cowboy is wearing?
Well — ah — when a rider is thrown on!
and can not subdue his fractious steed
his savage f ri-onds make him remove
those — -ah — trousers before he leaves
the field as a sign of defeat. That is
what 'pulling leathah' means." He
gazed triumphantly around; the little
woman gave him an adoring glance be
cause of his marked display of knowl
edge, while the westerner; strangled in
an attempt to smother a gruff aw.
But the Invaders from beyond the
Rockies were not the only ones ; who
were receiving their Initiation Into this
phase of western life, j There were a
large number of Calif ornians and Ore
gonlans present, too, who were Just
learning that the cowboy clan still sur
vives. His number* may have . dimin
ished, perhaps, but by no means has he
been swallowed up by his brethren,
who have followed him out' of the east,
as is generally rbelieved." Possibly -one
of the reasons the cowboy is not better
known today is that the. 'lnflux of set
tlers has Influenced him ito such an ex
tent\ that he wears \u25a0"store, clothes"
when he comes . to town. ;-. . Thus -;J!_ dis
guised he is nor recognized as the samo
man .who .on ;1; 1 the grange;, just" a ; few
miles away Is as virile, skillful and as
picturesque as 'his predecessor , of ; thu
seventies. .And it was this, the cowboy
a reality, that -.was vividly ;• Impressed ;
on the spectators r ; during the ? show,
when they, breathlessly^, watched^ Blue-;
blazes, or. some other', outlaw: buckf* or.;
BMWJ OB^MyJMWtt ' -. . .'. ..'./
when with heartstrings : taut they
waited for the dashing finish, of a hard
fought pony race.
Clustered at the foot of the judges'
stand . hard by the track a score of
cowboys viewed the • contests j while
awaiting their turn. r
"That horse can sunfish • some an'
Claude is a goin' tv hit dust," vouch
safed a red headed buster. Blueblazes
was standing on his : rear legs pawing
the air. Then he came down, his heels
shot up and the rider went sprawling
over his head.
"What did I . tell yuh?" shouted the
red haired individual. •?, "I knowed
Claude'd pull leather."
The victorious animal whirled 1 and
,with head high trotted down the field
and dashed through the entrance, while
the defeated bronco- buster limped
sheepishly toward his fellows in the
shadow of the judges'; stand.'
"Claude wants his ma and a'rockin'
horse," sung outgone of them jocosely.
And Claude's \u25a0 grin widened, for he
knew full well that he would* be the
: butt for all jokes and* numberless com- \u25a0
ments until such time as another un
wary buckaro should go flying, past his
: mount's ears. * J
But Claude did -not remove those "—
ah— trousers" despite his ; f all.-.
"Our; neighbors from the reservation
will now favor us with a little dance,"
yellefl the announcer. .*'
"Our: neighbors" were seated among
their squaws and papooses on the race
track .near the end of the/field. A.t a
<signal from their, chief they dropped
.the .multicolored blankets . from their
shoulders and" left their almost nude
bodies exposed to the , sun. ? 'On 'their
heads were war bonnets of eagle feath
ers dyed- in brilliant hues. .Their arms
\u25a0 and • breasts "covered | by | grotesque
painted figures of "men : and- animals,
while-cabalistic signs - and?, stripes \i of
staring:: red, yellow, green and' black
adorned their swarthy- faces, ; making
them; appear ferocious. ; A few carried,
guns, but' the majority^boreilancos gay
with bright ;\u25a0 streamers.; -The - little :
woman from "back east,", half alarmed,
watched them as ;j they/ slipped" across
the sod in their moccasined feet toward
the, -center of,: the k arena. > ;Then she
nervously _ grasped the arm of her hus- -
band. '.- \u25a0 --:;\u25a0 ''\u25a0..;-, \u25a0\u25a0' v -:- : --;]-*'i : ' 1 - -.- •
"Franklin," . .she whispered, .loudly,
"don't' you • think>,lt: is- about itime :"we
left? : Those" Indians, might get excited"
: . during. , the < dance \u25a0 and « murder/; us ; all.
I .; have V readj that they/ are very . blood-;
thirsty^ and treacherous.^ Besides, .they
; do', not- wear /any;too] much; clothing.'.' * , : .'.--v',
1, -,.'.• The ' man'; made - somel 5 rapid s calcula
tions and? decided«thaivtherratlovof
.white • men ;torlndians : was'about [ 40; to I.^
His \u25a0 scalp j was ' saf at ; .>,' '. ''.-. "\u25a0'. .....'[:':.-' ", ;
"Fear not,, my dear," "he shouted
grandiloquently', "am I not here to pro
tect you?" . , . \ » .
The westerner seated next to him
grinned, turned to a friend and said
loudly, "Why, there is .my old Indian
tillicum (friend) No Shirt. I just paid
him $5,000 yesterday for a lease on his
wheat land up the Umatilla river.; I
guess he can afford to dance some
today.". The remark was not lost on
the .woman; and; she *:\u25a0
"I, believe Jl : would 'stay /after
;all;; all; .Franklin,''^ said f she <a^ little latery
'.'I am ; beginning, to/ enjoy , myself i and :
I really [and. truly; am -In; love, with those
glorious •> cowmen/ -;' Don't they Vlook"V look"
superb 7 astride | their ' charges ?'U ; Frank-'*
llnrsaid;nothing, but ;the teeth:and?side
burnsV took <on>- a cast of V decided ffdet.
spondency. he ; was' not -a^
brave, figure? horseback. ::. : /., \u0084
::/?The, Indians formed in acircle around^
1a : tum-tum,*|the \ red ; man's > drurn^at { the
'side 7 of fcwhich': two? braves i.were -seated.^
:Witli polished sticks Ithey. began '.] : to .beat
it andithe^sundanceistartedj: :
V At > first? the 4 dancers -circled, slowly,;
then:the pulsing, tattoo of i the tum-tuin
came more rapidly, and ; they began to
chant, swinging faster around the
circle, crouching, springing.into the air,
wildly brandishing their lances. as they
wove through the intricate steps. * '
Each motion," pose and; the varying
minor, notes . of their rhythmic song
had. a symbolic meaning to .them, but
the paleface" onlookers did not under
stand, so had only/the outward'mbve
, ments to marvel at and admire. .^For
half an hour the weird dance continued.
Then, nearly exhausted,, the Indiana
retired and, while the lungsore thou
sands shouted their appreciation, .they
spread their blankets on the ground,
sat down and . commenced to j smoke
not; pipes, but cigarettes, ; something
they had been taught to love by the'
Mexican vaqueros in the days when
Oregon and California was one vast
'cattle range and the. gentle • padres
spread -the gospel: among the aborigi
nes. .. : : :; ; ; ; / )'\u25a0[..: \u25a0?-}. .; ;| \u25a0 -"\u25a0 . '\u25a0.
"We will now have a scene from 'Quo
Vadis.' ,Ursus will wrestle with • a
bull!'" shouted the announcer.
Thereupon, a large, heavy set -man,
garbed in corduroy trousers. and; a soft;
brown- shirt-stepped -into, the arena at
one end. Almost simultaneously a wild'
bull dashed into -It atvthe- other.
' The gates were closed,: bolted, ,and
the man, Buffalo Vernon, champion
"bulldogger" of the world, and,the.ani
mal , faced each, other alone, in the ; field.
The ! crowd became, hushed when: it*
was realized that | Vernon relied s only
on his bare hands and physical skill
to conquer his powerful adversary." f-'
With feet planted wide/ head lowered
and black eyes. shifting.- the tfull waited
uneasily - for the first- move. Without
hesitation. Vernon approached rapidly
across the; field. -He .was within a
score' of reef when* the bull bellowed
and' charged. Crouching, his arms out
stretched, Vernon waited. Next In-,
stant they, met. .,. , "\u25a0\u25a0...",""..'." \u25a0\u25a0.. .", ""..'.
! "He's' killed !" screamed a woman, her
voice' carrying shrilly .to every corner
of ' the stadium. .?- \u25a0\u25a0•"-.- > • ' •
Then through the dust the, spectators
saw the * man * braced against the -anl
mal!s.' head, fighting; desperately, to
holdhls feet, "and a mighty : roar broke
the silence.* /A moment later" he suc
ceeded in' securing, a .hold on :the bull's
horns* and the battle between blind
brute, strength and man's began ..in
'grim earnestness. '';.?,*> • -
'.-\u25a0' 510w1y,."., almost Imperceptibly, Ver
non forced the beast's head to one
side,/*', twisting' it higher, inch by inch,
until' the bull, gave' way from, pain" and
fell, to the- ground, still struggling.
But the combat lasted only a few: mln- ;
utes; : Soon the .animal was reducedrto
helplessness by the' strangle grip'the
man held. \u25a0 This accomplished,' he fas
tened hfs^teeth into. ; its upper -lip -and
released, his. arm "grip. ' By: his-.teeth
merely , Vernon held the beasto to<~the
'ground— -bulldogging,-'. lt -is called -In
the cattle country. - It : Is not; popular.
' After ; this performance followed wild,
horse' races, '.relay "races, roping: and
J branding' ;: ; contests - and ' ; other ' exhibi-'
tions ; of the T range' riders'; life. •\u25a0' The
i'un was low when, the'; day's .progrram
was v completed' : and * the 4 announcer
\u25a0 shouted: "More tomorrow. "'The sport
(Will 1 : start with one* of * the boys atop
Dynamite." . . .•".'\u25a0\u25a0' > 4 * r - : ,- ;. \u25a0 •;
"Dynamite r ;i exclaimed *a , cattleman
from '-Harney 'county. '"He's the worst
; outlaw; .In". '"the". northwest.' \u25a0 He's • killed
two men, hurt a dozen and hasn't beeti
broken yet. Yes, I'll be there**and *so .
will the rest- of them."
And .while tlra spectators, hurried
from the stadium the cowboys removed
their' trappings, donned, their "store
clothes" 'and merged with the human
stream as ordinary civilians.
; But tomorrow they would b*e cow«
boys again and in a few days henc«
would -ride back to. the cattle lands, •
where -sombreros, chsj>3, pistols and
; spurs: are articles for everyday wear,*
and the ''/'roundup"- nothing more than
the day's routine.

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