Thursday, March 15, 2012

See the Bagpipers on St. Patty's Day!

St. Patrick’s Day With the Boise Highlanders!

My brother-in-law is a Boise Highlander, so once a year I gather my children and take them down to the pub and grill…to see him play the bagpipes. The kids like to tell our church-going friends (and Grandma!) that I regularly take them to the tavern, just for the shock effect. Nice.

Saturday, March 17th.

TGI Friday’s
5 pm

5:20 pm

5:40 pm

Harry’s/ Meridian
6 pm

Kopper Kitchen
6:20 pm

13th St. Pub
Busted Shovel
6:40 pm

Hyde Park Pub
7 pm

7:20 pm

Mardi Gras
7:40 pm

Ha Penny
Jim’s Alibi
8 pm

8:20 pm

Ram/Stone House
8:40 pm

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The HasBrouck House

You might wonder about the house on the corner of 12th Avenue South and 14th Street in Nampa. Years ago, the most I knew about it was that a friend was a server in the restaurant. Sadly, I never had the chance to dine there before that eatery closed. Beyond that, I knew nothing.

Around the year 2000, my friend Susan mentioned wanting to own what was called the HasBrouck House someday; I thought she was just daydreaming. How surprised I was to learn one day several months ago, nearly a decade later, that Susan and her husband Ray were now the owners of that historic home. I’d never thought she was serious.

Four-thousand, five-hundred and sixty-seven square feet of memories that began in the early 1900s. The house’s roots, like mine, began in New York. Poughkeepsie, in fact, where Abraham HasBrouck was running a hotel. Abraham was the descendent of a family that was said to have been a ruling presence in the Ville d’Hazebrouck near Flanders, France. The HasBroucks came from French Huguenots on the language border between French and Flemish. (They apparently spoke both.) The name itself is Flemish, and, roughly translated, means hare (as in a long-eared rabbit) by the brook or stream.

Abraham’s son, John Jay HasBrouck, (J.J.) didn’t stick around long enough to take over the family business. Feeling the pull to go West, he landed in Idaho in 1899. Within a short time, the industrious man bought himself the Captain Bernard Homestead, a tract of land south of town that was eighty acres worth of possibilities.

J.J. was a farmer and a dairyman, purported to have had one of the best dairies and the finest Guernsey herds in the state. He became a prominent citizen in the community and was influential when it came to the growth of the area. He began to build a home on that eighty-acre farm, located on what was considered the outskirts of Nampa. What a home it was; at a cost of around $12,000, the Georgian revival-style mansion was called Nampa’s finest, and was the only home in Nampa to have electricity. With its solid oak fireplace mantles and winding staircase in the center of the home that made its way up to the second floor, outdoor terrace off the attic, and full basement sporting twenty-two inch thick laval rock walls, it was quite the place.

Fortunate friends of the HasBrouck family frequented the home for dances and parties. After J.J.’s death, his widow Mattie lived in the house until the late 1940s, then sold the house and farm, relocating to her youngest son Ralph’s home, who also lived in Nampa. The home then was used for many things over the years. It’s been a music store, drug and rehabilitation center, restaurant, antique and gift shop, real estate office, and a salon to name just a few.

The HasBrouck House has had several owners. In 1981, it underwent a remodel and had an addition added to accommodate a restaurant. This construction was done carefully; brick and stone had to be duplicated in such a way that it would not be a glaring add-on. Great pains were taken to imitate the stone so that it would conform with original masonry. Impressions were made, then molds were constructed and filled with concrete for veneers that would be sure to blend with the building. The house’s red brick was matched up by a company out of Denver that researched the history from samples they were given, found twin bricks from a demolished building, then shipped them to Nampa. A whole lot of work went into that 18’ x 53’ addition. In the year 1981, restoration had become fairly personal for those working on the project, with the individual contractors taking a great deal of pride in being able to say they’d worked on the well-known HasBrouck House.

Meanwhile, the HasBrouck family, now large and spread out all over the United States, started the HasBrouck Family Association to keep in touch, and to band together on certain causes. In 1995, their HasBrouck Family Association’s journal displayed a picture of a mystery sign; one that said ‘HasBrouck House’. One of the family members had taken it from a magazine, but did not know the location and was asking for help. It was a huge surprise for the family to trace a HasBrouck house back to Nampa, Idaho; the only two historic HasBrouck Houses that they were aware of were in New Paltz and Newburg in New York state. This one was a significantly long ways away from its sibling structures. Not many knew that there had been a HasBrouck era in Idaho.

In September of 1997, Zola Harrop from Walla, Walla, Washington wrote the HFA, telling them that she knew the builder of the Nampa HasBrouck House; John Jay HasBrouck was her grandfather. She told them that she’d been born in that very house in 1916.

Recently, members of the HasBrouck Family Association, who hadn’t heard anything further about the house since Zola Harrop’s communication in 1997, were very excited to see Susan Montierth’s posting on Facebook regarding the Nampa dwelling. They will continue to compile any articles written or pictures of the newly restored HasBrouck House, and include them in their family newsletter, says association President Robert W. HasBrouck, Jr.

Owners Ray and Susan Montierth are currently updating the old house, which is undergoing yet another interior and exterior facelift, all the while maintaining the integrity of its elegant style and grace, and respecting its roots. Susan says that she thinks Ray and J.J. would have been able to relate to each other, having been both farmers and entrepreneurs.

They plan to have professional offices, a café or restaurant, a salon, and other services such as art and music lessons offered at the HasBrouck location.

I stopped in one day to look around. While some of the rooms were in the process of a remodel, others waited for a curious person like me to inhabit them, if only for a moment. This house was a house that was used to being filled with people, conversation, good food, and culture. I made my way up the winding staircase to the second floor, and found my favorite room. Huge windows on each wall, unusually high ceiling, cheerful yellow paint tones, and one of those famous fireplaces. Something about that room really spoke to me. I found myself wanting to do a twirl on the ornate flooring. Susan approached and entered the room, clearly seeing my bliss.
“This was his daughter’s room,” she told me, “Her name was Edith.”

I just smiled. It was the name of my own mother.

The HasBrouck House has stood in Nampa for 103 years. It is a landmark for anyone who’s ever driven up and down Twelfth Avenue South, one of the key buildings in Nampa history. It’s terrific to see it getting revived once more with music, the arts, and for sure a tasty bite to eat.

The HasBrouck Home, as it has traditionally done for over a hundred years, welcomes you in.

Robert Wilson Hasbrouck:
The Abraham and Jean Hasbrouck Houses on Huguenot Street in New Paltz are owned by the Huguenot Historical Society along with other stone houses on the street, which comprise a National Historic District. The 1814 Josiah Hasbrouck House outside New Paltz was owned by HHS from 1958 to 2010, when it was passed to Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, with which it previously shared a common ownership. HFA still helps to support it, as well as the Abraham and Jean Houses. Jonathan Hasbrouck's house in Newburgh is NY's first State Historic Site, still operated by the Parks Dept.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ukulele Superstar: Roman Tudela

Roman Tudela was twelve when he first started playing the uke. A musical guy, he was singing at his church, but wasn’t as serious about the ukulele. A trip to Oahu, Hawaii changed all of that; a trip that lasted for two years. On the island Oahu, Roman’s cousin gave him a real introduction to the uke, showing him the chords. Roman found himself constantly going online, listening to music and looking at chords. From there on out, he hasn’t stopped playing.

With a family so big on music, it’s no wonder. Uncle Roman Tudela has a few albums out. Uncle Roman and his sons are all into the music, as well as the younger Roman’s sisters and cousins, all singing and making music together. Sundays are like concerts; everyone hangs out, plays and sings.

Even with all of his experience, Roman wasn’t so sure he wanted to go public. Fatherhood changed that for him. When his two-year-old was first born, he had a hard time going to sleep, and he’d cry. Roman, outside relaxing and playing the uke, stepped inside while still playing, and the baby stopped. Now Roman plays for his son every night; a son that’s clearly interested in music.

Ludi and Renus Domingo, the owners of Island Kine Grinds in Nampa, knew Roman as the Firestone tire guy. They’d known and liked Roman for years, but had no idea that he could play. When they discovered him on a random YouTube video, they knew they wanted to have him play at their restaurant.

Roman started to play a lot, with friends, and when going out. He’d get invited to sing and play with lots of other people. Playing for Island Kine Grinds was a boost. Then he started to post more videos, and found that he got a lot of comments. A Portland man found Roman’s video through a friend, then invited Roman to play at a concert in downtown Portland during the United Nesian Fest, the fest for every ‘nesian. The Nesians flew paid for the flight, the hotel, and they drove him around, wanting Roman to to experience being in the music industry.

It was a huge event, and Roman was nervous, but told himself that he went there to practice being in front of an audience, so there it was. After singing an hour, he had them all chanting, “More, more, more!”

“When I came down from the stage,” Roman told me, “There were a bunch of people asking for my posters that they made for me, and they were asking me to sign it. Yeah, it was just weird, they started taking pictures and asking if I had CD’s.”

Back in Idaho at Island Kine Grinds on Friday nights, Roman is flexible, and sensitive to his audience. If he feels that someone doesn’t like the song he’s playing, he changes it out. He might play a country song that’s in a Hawaiian style, or a more modern song with an island twist to it. The restaurant’s customers aren’t the only ones who like Roman’s style; his co-workers are fans, too, even though they’re normally into rock.
The uke is Roman’s therapy; it’s relaxing to play, and he says, “It’s nice when you have your family into it. I might be playing, and they’ll come and sing backup, all freestyle. They’ll just make up their own stuff. Sundays are the fun time when we all have our ukes. Someone will start the beat and everyone joins in.”

Roman gave us a demonstration. The man opened his mouth, and out came pure music. Enjoyable, right on with the rhythm, and an obvious up and coming talent.

Roman Tudela; watch for him.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Twenty-Five and More Alive Than Ever: Nampa Festival of the Arts

What speaks to you?

No, I don’t mean the neighbor across the fence that never seems to STOP speaking, or the people at work who talk AT you all day long, rather than TO you…we’ve all had enough of that.

What I mean is…what gets you ‘right there’?

Is it the motion-like energy of someone’s excellent woodworking, the smell of a freshly turned-out masterpiece? The flow of a cleverly created, hand-blown offering of colored glass? How about the happy-go-lucky feeling of a reincarnated piece of metal yard art? Is it pottery, with that deep connection from clay gathered out of the earth itself? It might even be the artist who captured in paint or some other medium the essence of a scene from your childhood, or your happiest moment as an adult, as if they've read your memory.

August thirteenth and fourteenth is a great time for you to find out. Nampa’s lush, green Lakeview Park will be filled with a variety of treasures to choose from as over 150 artists, craftsmen, vendors and showbiz types all share a common goal; to entertain you through the art of expression. It’s time once again for the Nampa Festival of the Arts, in its 25th year and getting ready to host over 15,000 visitors. Make that 15,000 and one. You.

Question: What can you express through art?
Better Question: What can’t you?

“The more ways you find to express yourself, the happier you’ll be,” were the wise words of my Psych 101 professor, and she’s right.

While I don’t express myself through art on a daily basis like I could or should, spending a day or two at the Nampa Festival of the Arts each year often gets those creative juices flowing again. Finally; self-expression once more!

I might, just twenty-four hours later, find myself arranging a floral bouquet for no better reason than that the house needs some color, garnishing a dinner dish with flare as I serve it up to certain surprised familial recipients, or realize that I am absent-mindedly doodling out a landscape on my message pad as I’m kept on the phone, on hold.

The point is, life’s always a bit more exciting once I’ve been exposed to a few gutsy people who aren’t in the least bit afraid to express themselves, or to share their talent. The residual effects are pretty satisfying, to myself and those lucky beneficiaries around me. Bathrooms get repainted and redecorated. Outside shrubbery gets sculpted into a more flattering shape, one that suits my mood. Old furniture gets a new coat of color, then an added and unexpected flourish, bringing relief to the wannabe artisan in me.

They’re all symptoms of one who’s been to the Nampa Festival of the Arts.

What speaks to me? Glass. Colored. Sleek. Light-weight and thin. It’s taken me a few years to figure that out, but there you have it.

Visit the Nampa Festival of the Arts and go find out what it is that speaks most to you. You’ll know it when you see it.

For more information, see:

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Adventure Continues: Twin Springs Resort

Just about the time I began to pray I wasn’t lost in the wilds of Idaho, we found our destination.

Twin Springs Resort (population: 2) seems to come out of nowhere, which a driver might tend to feel that they’re in the middle of, shortly before arriving. The dubious sign letting you know that you’re now ‘leaving the Boise National Forest’, seen seconds before arrival, isn’t reassuring.

“Are we SUPPOSED to be leaving the Boise National Forest?” I nervously asked my two passengers. They didn’t know. Neither did I.

We’d gone by many an ideal fishing hole and campground; and I couldn’t help but exclaim as we bumped along, “We have to go check that out sometime!” While the gravel road was admittedly a little harrowing, I was betting it was all going to be worth the trip; knowing that great experiences often require sacrifice. The best thing I could throw out here would be to soak in the jaw-dropping scenery of the Central Idaho Mountains and enjoy every bit of the ride.

We’d taken Highway 21 from Boise up the hill, then turned right immediately after getting past the More’s Creek bridge. We passed a very populated Spring Shores Arena and kept going. And going. And going. Eventually we saw a sign for the Cottonwood Ranger station where the road split. We kept right, but that’s about where I began to have my doubts. Should we have gone left, instead? Twelve more miles, and I didn’t see anything that looked like the cabins our friends told us about.

As hope was dimming, we rounded the curve and there we were, just that fast. It was everything I’d imagined and then some. If you like rustic, authentic Idaho, this is your spot. Eclectic furniture on the front porch of the office/common area/ bar/ store. A welcome sign, assuring that there would be cold drinks and friendly conversation within. The store/tavern’s motto is that they’ll be waiting for you at the end of the road ‘with a cold one’. It’s up to you exactly which cold one that might be. The establishment also touts snacks, the game on tv, a pool table and a meal table surrounded by chairs, and a common area complete with that living room/ man-cave feel, encouraging friendly conversation. There aren’t many strangers by the end of the weekend, unless solitude is what you crave, and if so, this is your place for that, too.

“We are here to help you have a good time,” said the Twin Springs website.

Well, all right then, I was ready. Any place that can relax a slightly OCD, semi-uptight-at-times person of German descent would get my vote, not to mention a return visit.

Three roomy cabins or even a two-storied house await visitors (called the Gatehouse) to choose from; (providing they called ahead to reserve them.) Each has its own stunning location, peaceful view of the Middle Fork, and built-in hot tub out on the back deck. Hot water is never a rarity with each being heated by the geothermal system. Getting the perfectly-temperatured shower in the morning was not going to be any problem.

“Where are the power poles?” I asked the other guests. They shook their heads. I hadn’t seen any, either, and yet we had electricity in our cabin. I found out later that a lot of effort had gone into creating a hydro-powered community here. Clever.

With the somewhat magical and restorative mineral waters literally out our back door, the river rushing by that both calmed and invigorated the senses, and the sun setting behind the mountains, we had all the makings of a beautiful stay.

After a long soak, a hearty meal and a much-needed rest on a bed with a high-quality mattress, I was beginning to think I wasn’t middle-aged after all. Nothing but nothing hurt on me in the morning. I discovered that I was a much more pleasant person when not dealing with pain of any kind. As the others slept on, the gravel road beyond was calling me. Taking my pepper spray, sunglasses and camera, I set out for a morning constitutional (isn’t that what they used to call them?), or in other words, a walk.

Good that I hadn't read the information on the website about the bears in the area beforehand. Ignorance, in this case, was my bliss.

It would be honest to say that the views I witnessed as the sun came up inspired poetry. Not my own, mind you, but poetry all the same. Robert Frost, to be precise. Crunching up that road made me think of a similar walk I’d taken in Ketchum, some ten years before. It had been morning then, too. I thought about all that had happened in my life during the past decade, and felt both melancholy and gratitude for it all.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I---
I took the road less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.”

Any atmosphere that could bring out the tenderness in me was journal-entry material. It had been a long while since I’d been this in tune with both nature and my own thoughts.

This would be the ideal location to do some serious writing. I wondered if I could swing a trip back up here in the fall, when the men would want to do some hunting, and I’d want to do some creative wordsmithing.

The smiles abounded when I re-entered the cabin. Three out of four fishermen had been successful. One of them had just caught her very first fish, and was glowing with excitement. Multiple fillets were loaded into the little freezer in the kitchen with no small amount of pride.

A few more great meals, another soak, and another sound nights’ sleep saw to it that I was one happy camper in the morning. Another day of fun and sun did nothing to lessen the mood. The group took a trip up the road to a spot called Neinmeyer, a campground with good fishing and even better shade. We played in the water, snacked, and lazily talked and napped while the sportsmen threw their casts and reeled in from time to time.

The only thing that was missing from my complete happiness was the sauna. I wasn’t a sauna-nut until I visited Europe and saw the skin they were all wearing over there. It could be genetics, but it could also be the fact that just about everyone, even those living in the humblest of apartments, had an indoor sauna. It extracts toxins and hydrates the skin, making people look and feel years younger. I could only imagine what fifteen minutes in the sauna would do for me, added to the combination of everything else. But alas, I could not find the sauna. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t asked.

“It’s that stone house right over there,” another guest at the resort told me, but it was dark and I couldn’t see where they were pointing.

“Oh yeah, it’s that stone place thataway,” yet another guest told me, but they pointed too quickly for me to see which direction they were referring to.

I wandered from stone dwelling to stone dwelling, ignoring DANGER: KEEP OUT signs, thinking that was just to keep the place private. That’s how I wound up briefly in the pump house. I found the sauna thirty minutes before it was time to drive back down the mountain; my bad luck. I would save my visit to the stone house for next time. Of course, it was the same little hut that I’d been passing by on my way down to the river all weekend long. Missing it took some talent; perhaps I had simply become far too relaxed to notice details like that during my stay at Twin Springs.

Would I make the long, dusty drive back to visit that part of Idaho again?

In a New York minute.

All bets are that the same hospitality, friendly conversation, beautiful setting, and cold sodas will be waiting for me just around that last bend in the road when I return.

Twin Springs: Population Two.
Highly recommended by this once world-weary traveler. Drive up the hill and find the ultimate place to chill.

Happy Rejuvenation.

To view the pictures from my mini-vacation, see:

For more information and rental cabin rates, see:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cowboy Names

As per tradition, I always want to leave you with a little parting gift at the end of the Stampede season. For this rodeo season, it’s cool cowboy names.

There were so many fun things about the Snake River Stampede this year. One of them was glancing down the program and reading all of the nifty names. If you or someone you know is getting ready to have a baby, and are in the market for a name and want to make sure the kid’s a tough buckaroo, some of these might be worth considering. My faves are actually ‘Tuf’ and ‘Straws’. What are yours?

Monty Joe
See you at the Stampede next year!
It’s been a great ride.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Finals Night and A Favorite Cowboy

Ask almost any die-hard rodeo fan at the Stampede who their favorite cowboy is, and they’ll rattle off a name.

“Clint Cannon.” “Wade Sundell.” “Trevor Brazille.”

It only seemed right that I would have one, too. To choose from the many heroic and tougher-than-tough would be no simple task for me. One day I was in awe of one, the next day in awe of another. Bravery and decency were everywhere, making the decision that much more technical. Could I really choose a fave?

By Finals Night, I was sure I’d have my name. It was, contrary to prediction, a full house, even with three other major things going on within the Treasure Valley. Idahoans do love their rodeo.

Once again I marveled at the tenacity of everyone involved in the rodeo life.

When a Stampeder met with an accident, the lights went up, the music stopped, and the crowd watched and hoped for that rider. Many of us were practically in tears, we felt so bad for her. Our announcers, ever cool and calm, asked us once more to pray as a group. It felt like we’d been doing that all week; just the night before, we’d seen a man injured by a bull; the second to be knocked unconscious during this Stampede season.

“Uncurl your toes from the bottoms of your boots,” we were quietly told, “This isn’t the time to panic and clench up. It’s not going to do this girl any good. She needs your prayers and she needs your calm.”

We tried to do as advised, and applauded as is custom when she left the arena on a stretcher.

The Stampeders, with all the true grit they could muster, rode around the arena once or twice, waving to their fans. Although they are well-trained performers, it was hard for them to smile when they were so worried about one of their own. Understandable. Still, they smiled anyway. Incredible.

Minutes later, it was encouraging to see Joe Gunderson bareback bronc riding again after Wednesday night’s ride, where the horse he was riding threw itself onto its back to rid itself of him.

Davey Bayes, the Emmett cowboy, had a horse called Silver Lining Herbs that bucked so violently is flung the halter off.

When Brian Bain finished his ride, I was surprised to find myself on my feet, cheering wildly. I wasn’t alone; everyone around me was doing the same thing. The arena thundered with applause. Talk about an exciting display of skill.

“I have goosebumps!” said the friend sitting next to me. I looked down at my arm to find that I did, too. Could this be…my favorite cowboy? It seemed likely.

When Levi Berry’s gate was opened to begin his ride, we watched expectantly, but instead found a frustrated rider astride a horse named Mullen Hill that had wedged itself defiantly between the sides of the chute. It wasn’t going anywhere for anyone. Of course, this inspired comments about the horse being a female from the announcers; something they’d been doing all week long.

“You’re going to get a letter from some of the ladies in this audience,” one announcer told the other.

“Don’t I know it,” was the reply.

Some of those bucking horses had no qualms about rubbing their riders right into the gates, with other cowboys scrambling to get out of the way.

The program on Saturday was longer than the others; this was the night they had to wrap everything up, and determine the best of the best.

I continued to learn life lessons from the cowboys:

When dealing with a creature that’s crabby and difficult, the last thing they’ll attempt to do is change the creature, or that animal’s nature. That would have been a waste of time and effort. What they do is try to learn to ride what IS, and try not to get thrown until it’s time to get off. Instead of wasting their days wishing for the trip to be easier or smoother, they adjust themselves, and learn new tricks for coping with the situation. Wouldn’t we all do well to do the same?

When radio personality Dave Tester with Rodeo on the Radio had Brian Bain approach the media table for an interview, I was sitting in the seat right behind him. Since he was my new favorite rodeo cowboy, I had my photographer friend take a picture of us. Brian gamely matched my ‘thumbs up’ pose with his thumb, which was surrounded by an ice pack. Not only was he talented, he was very nice, with obvious manners that are great to see in a celebrity. I was satisfied. Everyone else had a favorite, and now I did, too. Brian Bain. Yep. He was my favorite. I could cross that off the list.

When Wade Sundell rode Lunatic Fringe the crowd was cheering so loudly that we couldn’t hear the eight-second buzzer go off. It was a ride that won him the title.

Justin Rumford entertained us once more with his antics, stripping off his usual garb to reveal the Evil Knievil suit beneath, which bordered on obscene. Only Justin could pull something like that off. (But just barely!) When his cowboy volunteers were lying beyond his mini-motorcycle ramp one more time, preparing to get jumped over, they threw clods dirt at Justin at every opportunity. I loved the passive-aggressive flavor of that. After Justin’s jump, they stole his mini-motorcycle and rode off with it, to the delight of the crowd.

We didn’t hear or see as much from Justin Rumford that last night, as he was busy filling in for bullfighter Will O’Connell, who was injured, knew it, and laid there for help while his partner Cory Wall put himself in harm’s way and as payment got slammed into the gates not once but twice in a bone-crushing manner. There was no way that guy didn’t have several broken ribs. Still, he kept on, and moved just as quickly as before to help his friends. Every now and then, he doubled over a bit, but stood ever-at-the-ready when it was time to spring into action.

Our Stampeder and Will O’Connell weren’t the last of the injuries on Finals Night; one tie-down roper twisted his knee sideways in a completely unnatural way. He knew all too well what had happened, and he wasn’t about to try to get up without help. We’ve had more than the average amount of mishaps this year; the nature of the beast, quite literally.

The beasts got it, too. When a steer charged with his horns toward a cowboy, the cowboy ducked and the steer did what looked like a dive-forward-roll into the dirt, looking like it landed on its head and neck. The cowboy rushed to its side and immobilized its neck, holding firmly to its legs as it struggled in an attempt to get up, which would have been the very worst thing for it at the moment. This big tough cowboy stayed with the steer until help arrived. The announcers said what we were all thinking:

“---And people say that we don’t treat our animals well. If anyone has any doubts after tonight that we love and care about our animals, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

It was evident. The steer got the same treatment that as anyone else who’d been hurt during the duration of the rodeo.

The report came back that Will O’ Connell, after his run-in with a massive bull, was stable but did not know where he was. At least we had that. Cory Wall, quite literally, had saved his life.

I felt my mind shift allegiance. Sorry, Brian Bain. I was going to have to change my pick.

For five nights I’ve watched the married father of a one-year-old risk life and limb for his friends. I’ve seen him get into the face of an angry bull so that cowboy after cowboy could escape terrible harm. On Finals Night, I saw him take blow after life-squelching blow from a devil of a beast, and still keep going like nothing happened, even though he had to have been in horrible pain.

When the Stampede was over, and people filed out for the party outside to dance, eat, and visit with friends, there stood Cory Wall, signing autographs and smiling a tired smile. Aware of who pays his bills, he wasn’t about to let his fans down, either, just like he didn’t let his riders down all week long. This is a man that can be depended on, no matter what. This is the sort of person that our children can look up to. This is my kind of hero.

Cory Wall is, by far, my favorite cowboy.

The Snake River Stampede was better than ever this year, because of men like him.
See you next year, Cory.
See you next year, Stampede Fans!

To see photos, go to: