Cowboying with Woody, the Greatest Stick Horse Ever, And Battling Evil Black Bart


Whoa, big felluh.

It took every ounce of strength I had as a three-year-old to control Woody.

He may not look like a massive steed in the photo, but, trust me, he was the greatest stickhorse who ever lived.

Strong. Fast. Fearless. Loyal. Bulletproof.  And he could talk.

In fact, our relationship was similar to what Calvin had with Hobbes.

Except that Hobbes was into existentialism, and Woody was more into kicking Black Bart’s butt.

Black Bart (see photo) lived in my backyard most of the time.  As you would expect by his name, he was always up to no good.
black bart 2

Pretty much every day of my young life, I had to strap on my Fanner Fifty cap pistol, put on my cowboy shirt and red cowboy boots, grab Woody, and then shoot it out with the nefarious Black Bart.

It was lonely, thankless work.

Mom never once provided covering fire for me as I raced from behind one living room chair to the next, sometimes on foot, most times riding Woody.

My older sisters were no help either.

Not only were they not interested in helping me capture Black Bart. But, if you can imagine, they actually got mad when I used their Easy-Bake Oven as Black Bart’s jail cell.

Black Bart was the meanest, toughest bad guy ever, and plain impossible to kill.  By my estimation, I must have shot him at least a million times.

He was also frequently sentenced to hang from the neck until dead on the clothesline.  But, like most nefarious outlaws, he escaped every dang time.

Sometimes with the help of my sisters.

I would string up Black Bart, but my sisters would demand that he be freed so they could have their jump rope back.

It was not easy being their brother or the sheriff.

When Woody and I were not battling Black Bart, we spent a huge amount of time rounding up cattle.  You have no idea how ornery and dangerous Nebraska Street cows could be.

To this day I have scars on my stomach from where one bit me.

One day we were rounding up strays in the north forty (my front yard).  A particularly difficult cow, played by Duchess, the big, black collie that lived next door, was not cooperating.

She was a lovely old dog, but she simply refused to stampede so I could rope her.  She got downright ugly when I used my lasso, not so much to rope her, as to thrash her for not stampeding.

That’s when I was bitten across the mid-section by a mad cow. (Sorry Duchess).

Through it all, Woody was a great, great horse.  He would do anything I asked of him: taking Black Bart’s Bullets for me, stomping rattle snakes,  even leaping over the Grand Canyon (from the big living room chair to the couch).

But even a super horse has his faults.

Seems Woody hated bad weather, because it meant that he and I and my best friend Steve Madden would get caught up in a twister.

Every. Dang. Time.

Steve would run wildly through my house hysterically screaming “PONADO COMIN’, PONADO COMIN'”.

All three of us would be slammed up against the walls, knocking over furniture and, for some reason, laughing hysterically, until my Mom had had enough.

Mom and my sisters — all being of the female persuasion, you will notice — just did not understand that collateral damage was part of Ponadoes and cowboyin’.

They’d get all shouty when we broke stuff, and we’d be banished to the bunkhouse for hours.  It was so unfair.

I don’t know whatever happened to Woody.  Actually,  I think there were several Woodys over the years, with each being put out to pasture after his stuffing had been knocked out.

But I do know what happened to my red cowboy boots.

They are about 20 feet away from me as I write this, stored in my grown son’s old toy box.

Eli and red cowboy boots

Sheriff Eli and his vintage red cowboy boots

Like his Dad, Eli wore them every single day back when he was a young Cowboy in Houston.

Hopefully, his son will do the same thing one day, keeping the local townsfolk safe from the likes of Black Bart!

Click here for big boy cowboy stuff and Wacker’s Department Store!

Click here for more Oklahoma memories.

2 Responses to “Cowboying with Woody, the Greatest Stick Horse Ever, And Battling Evil Black Bart”

  1. Pippi says:

    I LOVED reading this story. Aren’t you the cutest?! And I’m glad the cowboy boots remain. So sweet.

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