October 9, 2011
A spectacular day in Ruidoso, New Mexico at the 22nd Annual Cowboy Symposium. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is dressed cowboy. Virtually all the guys in cowboy hats, boots. All kinds of hats, including buckaroo style from Nevada. All the women are blinged out with Navajo jackets, jewelry, short-waisted fringe jobs. Really stylin'. Of course, lots of Texans from Dallas, Austin, Lubbock and El Paso. And of course from all over New Mexico. Even from Phoenix.
It's held at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track where they have the Billy the Kid Casino. Mr. Bonney would most certainly get a kick out of that. I have a hunch he rode right up through this area with the Coe brothers and if one of them would have said, "You know Billy, someday there's gonna be a giant gambling casino and race track right over there with your name on it," everyone would have laughed and asked what he was smokin'.
One couple came all the way from Germany. Flew to Dallas and then drove (22 hours total trip!). This is their sixth year! Met some great people, sold some books (could have sold more if I had brought more stock). Just the nicest people and they love the West. I spoke in the Cowboy Tent at 12:30 and the crowd was spirited and fun. A Texan from Hico asked me what I thought of Brushy Bill and I paused and attempted to give him some slack, finally settling on, "Well for one thing, if you believe it, you're full of. . ." Got a big, rolicking laugh, even from the guy who asked it. Afterwards he came up to me and we talked for some time about crazy myths and history.
The music was especially good, with a wide variety of Western music in two tents. We were right behind the main entrance stage and I enjoyed every group that played. Songs were as divergent as "All MY Exes Live In Texas" to "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan. Sue Lambert and I grooved all day to the tunes.
Going back tomorrow at 8:30 for the chuckwagon breakfast. Speaking at 10:30 this time. Will try not to swear this time.
"Poor New Mexico, so far from heaven, so close to Texas."
—Old Vaquero Saying