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A Real Cowboy

George Hereford is generally conceded to have been one of the best riders the West has ever seen. “Nothing fancy,” old-timers agreed, “just damned fine riding.” “It was his legs,” one told us. “With them stout legs he couldn’ve squoze a horse in two.”

During the spring roundup in 1887, a bunch of cowboys were yarning around the campfire. One of them mentioned that he’d read in a newspaper where a famous rider had put a twenty dollar gold piece in each stirrup and in the saddle and ridden a bronc to a finish without losing a coin. They discussed it a while, and then put the idea to George. He opined as how he’d never thought of doing such a thing but he’d be willing to give it a try. The rest of the boys made bets.

The next day one of them went out and roped an animal that had never been ridden. They had quite a tussle getting the saddle settled and cinched. But when they turned out their pockets looking for coins to substitute for the gold pieces, nary a one showed up. Someone got the bright idea of using the lids from small pork and bean cans that’d been thrown away from the chuck wagon.

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