Cowboy Songs and Singers: Of Lifeways and Legend

D-2 HORSE WRANGLER

An old song which Mr. O'Malley calls "The Day I Played Base Ball" furnished an air for this poem which appeared in the Miles City Stock Growers' .Journal on February 3, 1894. The "MacQueen" mentioned in the opening stanza was the largest hotel in Miles City and the headquarters for stockmen. At the time it's newspaper advertising was playing up the fact that the house was equipped with electric lights, electric bells and steam heat. The following news item which appeared in the Journal on November 18, 1893, is of interest: "The bathrooms at the MacQueen have recently been renovated, end to those who bathe, Mr. Tracy will be pleased to explain the valuable properties of the artesian water used for that purpose."

One day I thought I'd have some fun,
And see how punching cows was done;
So, when the roundup had begun,
I tackled a cattle king;
Says he: "My foreman is in town;
He's at the MacQueen, his name is Brown;
Go over, and I think he'll take you down;"
Says I: "That's just the thing."

We started for the ranch next day,
Brown talked to me most all the way,
He said cowpunching was only fun,
It was no work at all; That all I had to do was ride,
It was just like drifting with the tide,
Geemany crimany, how he lied;
He surely had his gall.

He put me in charge of a cavard
And told me not to work too hard,
That all I had to do was guard
The horses from getting away.
I had one hundred and sixty head,
And oft times wished that I was dead,
When one got away Brown he turned red.
Now this is the truth, I say.

Sometimes a horse would make a break
Across the prairie he would take
As though he were running for a stake,
For him it was only play.
Sometimes I couldn't head him at all,
And again my saddle horse would fall
And I'd speed on like a cannon ball
Till the earth came in my way.

They led me out an old gray hack
With a great big set fast on his back,
They padded him up with gunny sacks
And used my bedding all.
When I got on he left the ground
Jumped up in the air and turned around.
I busted the earth as I came down,
It was a terrible fall.

They picked me up and carried me in
And rubbed me down with a rolling pin:
"That's the way they all begin,
You are doing well," says Brown,
"And tomorrow, morning if you don't die,
I'll give you another horse to try."
"Oh! won't you let me walk?" says I.
"Yes," says he. "Into town."

I've traveled up and I've traveled down,
I've traveled this country all around,
I've lived in city, I've lived in town,
And I have this much to say: Before you try it go kiss your wife,
Get a heavy insurance on your life,
Then shoot yourself with a butcher knife,
It's far the easiest way.

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