Monday, October 29, 2012

The Passing of A Legendary Cowboy

October 29, 2012

Marshall Trimble and Jana Bommersbach are driving up for our True West staff 60th anniversary photo today. True West turns 60 in 2013 and we're working on the January issue, which goes to press this Thursday. The office is teeming with activity. Dan The Man Harshberger just came in. Jana is here and helped rewrite a lead for our True Westerner of the Year.

Got up this morning and finished a Doc Holliday study:

Whipped Out #24, "One Dead-eyed S.O.B."

Had a very fun weekend. Kathy and I went down to Scottsdale, on Saturday, to pet dogs, drink wine (Scottsdale Art & Wine Festival), see a movie ("The Paper Boy") and try a new restaurant (Barrio Queen, featured in Esquire magazine as one of the best new restaurants in the country).

My uncle Choc Hamilton, 98, passed away last week. According to his granddaughter, Brenda Hamilton, he may have been the last cowboy who knew the legendary Tap Duncan. I am doing Tap Duncan's 1894 Classic Gunfight with William Hayes in Bruneau, Idaho in the next issue of True West. I heard Tap's version of the fight from Choc's son Billy, and had every intention of going to Kingman to video tape Choc telling the story, but now I'll be driving home for his funeral later this week.

Here's a family photo from 1955.

This photo was taken on our visit from Iowa to see if there was something for my father in Kingman. We came through Vegas and my mother bought me a Western outfit right on Fremont Street downtown. I can still smell the leather in that store. After our three day visit we went out into the side yard for a photo. I sure was a skinny little twit. That's my dad back row, left and my mother in the skirt far right, my grandmother Guessie and her new husband Ernie Swafford behind me (my grandfather died in 1945) and Choc Hamilton, his wife Mary (my mother's sister) and their son Billy Hamilton, well on his way to becoming a world champion steer roper. That's Choc, back row, far right, with Billy in front.

Only Billy and I remain standing.

"Well begun, is half done."

—Old Vaquero saying