It was quite the Swan Song...

...for this old Cowboy and his favorite mare Molly

I first attended the Calgary Stampede in the early 1940"s when I was very young. My Dad had purchased a second hand car in the spring, and he had promised us that if egg and cream prices stayed good that we would make the 250-mile trip to the Calgary for the Stampede. I had never seen a paved road before and Highway #2 seemed like a race track to me. There was no air conditioning so the windows were rolled down, and the traffic just flew by . We arrived late at night and stayed at a Bed & Breakfast. The next morning we were up bright and early for Pancake breakfast and the Big Parade. It seemed that there was music and square dancing on every corner. The next excitement was going to the big rodeo. I can really recall all the Clown and Bull Fighting acts. It starred Slim Pickens, and was quite the experience for a young lad from Metiskow.

I grew up settled down and Ranched for over 50 years before retiring south of Calgary. We brought with us my favorite saddle horse Molly who had served me faithfully for nearly 20 years. She was a multi talented cow horse who was always on the bit even after a 12-hour day on the range. She could always catch one more animal and never fell with me once, despite many high-speed maneuvers over the prairie, muskeg or icy feedlots. She could drag the biggest meanest, ugliest bull into a stock trailer after you roped him. She even saved my life a few times while I was treating cows and calves alone on the range. She and I pulled many a calf during the calving seasons.

Down here it seemed that everyone was a cowboy. I have come to the conclusion that Cowboys are just Ranchers with a little more talent.

I joined a Riding Club and signed up to ride in the Stampede Parade using Molly. Quite the experience for us both, being from where our nearest town was 20 miles away, and the population was 65 people plus 12 dogs. The day of the parade we were all decked out and Molly looked her own sharp self, holding her head high and eager to take on the world. To see the thousands of people lining the streets of the parade route was almost overwhelming. I so enjoyed making eye contact with the seniors and the young children, and saying "Howdee". Molly was a perfect lady and I think she enjoyed the excitement as much as I did. It was quite the Swan Song for this old Cowboy and his favorite mare Molly.

Lorne Maull
DeWinton, AB