November 26, 2017

Cowboy Escapades #1

In this premier edition of Cowboy Escapades (formerly titled "Crazy Cowboy Tricks,) we look at true stories of bear roping and buffalo riding!

Bear Roping:
This researcher is amazed at how many accounts he has come across about cowboys using lariats to rope a bear in the wild! Here are two:

Frank Cox was visiting WP Sears when Sears suggested "a horseback trip to the hills be taken to hunt bear, which roam the country. When a few miles out, a large cinnamon was leisurely going down a steep ravine. Mr. Sears, who is an expert horseman, started immediately in pursuit, unwinding his lariat and making a throw, which missed its object. Recovering his rope he continued the chase, and when an open stretch was reached, he made the second throw which encircled the neck of the victim."

"Then followed lively maneuvering of captor and captive. In a few minutes Mr. Cox came down the ravine with a Winchester and a fusillade followed." It did no good. When he had a clear shot, Cox fired again and again and again, but "every shot fired into the bear only intensified its rage," and both men began to fear for their lives.

However, "Mr. Sears at a critical time succeeded in reaching a tree and after encircling it and taking up the slack, had the bear at the mercy of Mr. Cox's deliberate aim. In this manner the animal was killed, but not until 15 bullets had penetrated its body." 

The struggle of 30 minutes seemed to last forever.  "Mr. Sears was cool and collected during all of the half hour after he lassooed the bear, and was unable to use his gun at anytime. His expert horsemanship and his familiarity in the use of the lariat, possibly averted serious consequences to both men."

The newspaper described it as "one of the most thrilling fights that has ever been known to occur between man and beast."

"The bear was taken back to camp, and when placed on the scale tipped 775 pounds. It was the largest that had ever been seen in the country, and must have been very old."

Perhaps Sears and Cox should have taken advice from two men, who 30 years earlier, took down a grizzly bear using only two ropes and a knife...!

The story of the historic American Ranch stage stop which was located 12 miles from Prescott, AZ. on the Prescott to Hardyville toll road.

It was November 13, 1876 around 4pm as Joseph and Newton Brown were searching for stray cattle when Newton came suddenly upon a large grizzly bear "traveling leisurely down the river bed."

The bear then darted and Joe followed him until "coming to a tree, (Joe) turned his horse on one side while the bear ran on the other." This stopped the fearsome bruin and dragged him back toward the tree. As Joe started riding in circles around the tree, Newton arrived and applied his rope and circled in the opposite direction holding the bear fast to the tree.

"First making sure there was no danger, Joe dismounted, cut the bruin's throat and taking one of his paws as a memento," rode back to the ranch to tell of his adventure.

The huge paw was put on display at Al Roger's saloon.

ALSO ENJOY: Cowboy Escapades #2: Autos on the Range
A review of the book "Story of a Hanged Man" by Parker Anderson; a historical account of the life and times of Fleming James Parker, Arizona outlaw.

Buffalo Riding:
It was Sunday, November 5, 1911. The 101st Ranch Wild West show was in town. It was a private traveling rodeo show featuring some of the best in the sport. "Hundreds of spectators were treated to the finest exhibition of bronch riding that had ever been given in the west," the newspaper reported.

Mr. Miller, who ran the show, made an offer to the local broncobusters: to break a wild buffalo. This was an offer he made in every town. "The feat had been regarded by Mr. an impossible one, and so confident was he that no Arizona cowboy could ride the animal, that he had a standing reward of a considerable sum to the lucky 'buster' if he (stayed) on top during the trying ordeal." In fact, the buffalo was able to throw his rider 98 times in a row.

George Ruffler heard the challenge and knew just the cowboy for the job, Frank Condron. Ruffler proudly stated "that his protege is unquestionably the best rider he has ever seen, and he will back him against all comers, if the ocassion arises."

Miller took him up on the offer and Condron mounted the back of the beast.  He "accomplished (the feat) in a neat a clever manner, although the buffalo continued to pitch high in the air and to perform all manner of stunts for several minutes."

So impressed was Miller that he offered Condron a role with the traveling rodeo "with a large salary as an inducement, but his range interests necessitated him remaining in the Bradshaws."

The story of a young pioneer braggart traveling to Yavapai county and his terrible fate during the Indian Wars in 1872.

CLICK HERE for a listing of Prescott "Firsts"
Prescott is widely known as Arizona's First Territorial Capital. Here are some other "firsts" surrounding Prescott and Yavapai County history.

CLICK HERE for all the Prescott AZ History Articles in Chronological Order 
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The New Book by Drew Desmond and Brad Courtney:
"True Tales of Prescott" 

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Cinnamon Bear story:
Weekly Journal-Miner, 7/12/11, Pg. 3, Col. 5-6  
Grizzly Bear story:
Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner, 11/17/1876 Pg. 1, Last Col.
Buffalo Riding story:
Weekly Journal-Miner, 11/8/1911 Pg. 8 Col. 4 


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