Cowboy Bob's Campfire Conversations
Table of Contents
Cowboy Bob and
the Bouncin' Bovine
The Philmont Mountain Lion
The Dyin' Gunfighter
The Truth About Wild Horses
Bunc Bradshaw and the Mexican Captain
Cowboy Bob: Movie Star
The Cowboy's Wardrobe
The First Bulldogger
God's Bit and Bridle
The Adventures of Cheyenne Dawson
Louis Remme's Wild Ride
Cowboy Bob and the Bunny Buckle
Some Other Cowboy Paraphernalia
It's a sunny, hot day on the Texas Panhandle. So why are the cow-punchers puttin' on gloves before they mount up?
A cowboy's hands are probably more important to him than even his feet or legs.
Ol' Peg-Leg Smith, the California trapper and rustler, had to cut off his own leg after an injun busted it. He fixed up his saddle to hold the peg-leg, and rode for thousands of miles. Take away one of his hands, however, and a cowhand... well, he ain't one. In the saddle, he needs one hand to handle the reins and the other for his lasso or the other tools of his trade. (There were a few exceptions, like Oliver Loving's pal, one-armed Bill Wilson. But Wilson was more of a trail boss.)
Without gloves, a quick jerk of his horse's head can cause the reins to rip the skin right off the cowboy's fingers and palm. At the least, he'll be out of action for several days - maybe even weeks. A hot brandin' iron, a rough lasso, cactus needles, and dozens of other items can leave naked hands a bloody, blistered mess. The sun can also do nasty things to uncovered skin. Gloves keep the hands from gettin' sunburned or windburned, just like a bandanna protects the back of the neck.
Speakin' of bandannas, they are also mighty useful for more than blowin' your nose. Besides keepin' the sun off your neck, they can keep sand, dust, rain, bugs, and snow from gettin' inside your collar. They also make a dandy dust mask, can hold yer hat on, wipe sweat off, and filter dirt and bugs out of your water. Get hurt, and a bandanna comes in handy as a bandage. (Maybe that's why they're usually red.) Get hurt real bad, and you can use it for a tourniquet.
In rough territory, cowboys often wear chaps for protection against cactus thorns, brush, and barbed wire. Chaps usually have fringe down the sides. Just like the fringe on a jacket, it helps water to run off quicker. At a rodeo, fringe on the chaps exaggerates the rider's leg motion while spurrin' a buckin' bronco, thus gainin' points with the judges.
While we're talkin' about rodeos, let's not forget the cowboy's portable trophy case: his belt.
Bunkhouses don't have room for a lot of doodads, so trophy buckles became popular as a way for cowboys to carry -- and show off -- their rodeo prizes wherever they went. Those big buckles use a prong fastener, instead of a long tongue. This makes it easier to adjust the belt with one hand. A cowboy's belt is wide, thick and sturdy, to withstand the rugged activity of ranch life better. In the early days, a rider simply tucked his six-shooter or Bowie knife under his belt. A wide belt kept them in place better. Besides, a big belt is less likely to bust and let your britches fall down. Who says cowboys ain't smart?
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COPYRIGHT © 1999 BOB LEMEN, GRAND RAPIDS,
MINNESOTA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The contents of this document are not for reproduction.