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LUCKY WHIPPLE
Utah
About Lucky Whipple

 

 

 

Rodeo Red

Ol' Rodeo Red
Was a Cowboy's truck
No maintenance involved
We just run him on luck.

He's a '52 Chev
With a flathead six
There's everything broke
But there's nothin' to fix.

From Fort Worth to Cheyenne
On to Spokane we sped
He was soon dubbed the title
Of Rodeo Red.

He was quite well renowned
That old pickup truck
Here comes Rodeo Red
Powder River let's buck.

The floorboard was muddled
With mud, cans and trash
To-bacco spittle
And cigarette ash.

The hub caps are missin'
The left runnin' board's gone
And the right lamp's burnt out
When the headlights are on.
 
The emergency brake
Would never apply
So a rock hind a tire
Was our safety reply.

The battery's run down
And has been for a while
So we'd park on a hill
To insure the next mile.

The spare tire's gashed
With a three quarter grin
And the four wheels a-runnin'
Were pantyhose thin.
 
Had a rag in the fuel tank
Cuz we'd lost the cap
Had a cancered out muffler
And just one mud flap.
 
The right mirror's gone
Severed off from the door
Ol' Rodeo Red
Had been through the war.
 
The oil needs changin'
It's clabbered like blood
The old body's been bludgeoned
And splattered with mud.
 
Some boards in the bed
Were rotted away
But a weather worn mattress
Made a good place to lay.

One tie rod is rainbowed
From a rock in the road
The blinkers don't function
And the fuel gauge is blowed.
 
The windshield is cobwebbed
With multiple cracks
And the wipers shed rain
With whackedy smacks.
 
The front bumper's secured
With a balin' wire twist
A bullet hole through the cab
Where a jealous spouse missed.

The door handle's broken
On the shotgun side
So ya crawl through the window
If yer wantin' to ride.
 
Window roller don't work
On the driver's door
And the glass was knocked out
So - don't matter no more.
 
The radio's dead
And the heater don't blow
So we'd wrap up in blankets
To ward off the snow.
 
The ol' fuel pump
Is fixin' to go
And the water pump's leakin'
But still holdin' the flow.
 
There's a radiator seep
That makes travel a pain
So we'd plop in an egg
And we're mobile again.

There's a full roll of duct tape
On the radiator hose
Several lugs been sheered off
And the glove box don't close.
 
The seat is wore out
Till the spring's stickin' through
But the ol' saddle pads
Made it feel like brand new.
 
The steerin' wheel's loose
With two coils a slack
The ashtray's long gone
The exhaust's smokin' black.
 
The gears were worn down
In the transmission case
We'd just waller the shift
'Til it fell into place.
 
We'd grind metal to metal
Cuz the brake shoes are wore
The blinker don't work
And the headliner's tore.
 
Tail lenses are shattered
Not a bulb in a slot
Rides like a freight wagon
Cuz the shocks are all shot.
 
There's a miss in the engine
Couple plugs lost their fire
And the rings and the pistons
Are 'bout to retire.
 
The clutch needs adjustin'
Falls clean to the floor
The paint is sun bleached
Chrome ain't there no more.
 
The expired license plate
We kept smeared with mud
One engine mount busted
And the horn was a dud.
 
Speed-o-meter don't work
And they ain't no rear view
And if there's something I'm forgettin'
Reckon it's busted too.
 
Why we wasn't pulled over
The Good Lord could just guess
By Motor Vehicle Standards
We're an illegal mess.
 
It seems all was malfunctioned
But the wheels still rolled round
As he shuttled us safely
To each rodeo ground.
 
Four Rodeo Cowboys
That dwelt in ol' Red
We rode three in the cab
And one in the bed.
 
He'd freighted our plunder
For thousands of miles
Hauled broke bones - broken hearts
And much laughter and smiles.
 
So we're off in the west
Way up north and down south
Ol' Rodeo Red weathered
Blizzards and drought.
 
And many a party was staged
In a many a town
The bar was in service
When the tailgate went down.
 
Many a intimate relation
Had been spawned in the bed
Between cowboys and lassies
In Rodeo Red.
 
From the wild hippy brawls
And the dance hall disputes
He'd hauled off the injured
With blood on their boots.
 
One time in Nebraska
Had a disgruntled scrap
'Twingst two wiry bronc riders
And a soil tilling chap.
 
Ol' Chad pinned him down
I dropped a rock on his head
We fled off through the night
In deep fear he was dead.

But time and hard runnin'
Takes its toll on us all
And ol' Rodeo Red
Finally made his last haul.
 
Blowed a rod through the engine
Out of ol' Kalispell
For Rodeo Red
Was the end of the trail.
 
There's no doubt in one's mind
That ol' Rodeo was dead
And in the heart of each cowboy
A eulogy was said.

We felt rather heart humbled
Like a close pal had died
We was saddened with grief
And I think Monty cried.

But in the minds of four cowboys
Fond memories will stay
Of ol' Rodeo Red
As we hitchhiked away.

          2004,  Lucky Whipple
          This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


A tribute to Lane Frost and Red Rock:

Frost on the Rock 

Now you ask me about pride of a cowboy
Well I'll lay my line out to you
It's not something you learn - you're just blessed with
You can doubt me - but by God it's true.

Now I'll give you one glorious example
Of an Okie kid with the bull ridin' crave.
He was a cowboy bull ridin' contender
And he followed his lust to his grave.

Now this Okie child's name is a legend
We all know him by fame as Lane Frost
He now outshines all the stars in Oklahoma
He rode most ever bull he stepped acrost.

Young Lane was one of God's favored cowboys
And God blessed him with his own set of rules
Lane catered to kids and the low life
Be they wino's - or cripples - or just fools.

Lane would make comment of a stranger
"You can always get a man on the rile,
But it's always much simpler and pleasant
To leave a man wearing a smile."

Lane was schooled way out in Oklahoma
There he earned his cap and his gown
He was tutored by the greatest of professors:
The world renowned Freckles Brown.

Tuff Hederman and Lane Frost were partners
The pair were a bull ridin' team
And wherever you seen Tuff - you'd see Lane Frost
They were living their rodeo dream.

There's a pride in a cowboy's manner
That few other men can procure
He will jeopardize life for a loved one
Or whatever it takes to endure.

Soon Lane was bearing fruit as he ripened
He was kickin' bull hair from the skin.
He was recognized for good looks and his kindness
But Lane's big plus - was that wide cowboy grin.

Suddenly his rodeo career somewhat wavered
It had taken a twist for the worst
He was awarded - the world's hardest luck cowboy
But Lane never took heed of being cursed.

Lane endured through his times of bad karma
Though it almost left Lane in divorce
There he showed his true grit as a champion
Like a bull ride he rode out the course.

Lane Frost didn't hold back his convictions
He would give his heart - and smile - to the crowd.
And if you ask him who was his greatest mentor
He'd confirm it was Jesus - out loud.

Of Lane's rodeo bull ridin' paraphernalia
His most effective was his words to the Lord
And there was always a hushed whisper to Jesus
Before every bull Lane stepped aboard.

Lane had set down his priorities as a Christian
Son - husband - friend - cowboy - then man
He'd pay honor to each individual before him
And always had kind words - for a fan.

Other sports are without good role models
For our children - of these latter days
The rodeo kids all looked up to Lane Frost
As a hero and idol of praise.

There's a victorious scale of contentment
Installed in a cowboy's soul.
It's high stakes - one can't purchase or steal it,
One must earn this one ace in the hole.

At the 86 national Finals,
Lane scored high on nine bulls, for the crown,
In Las Vegas, Lane crossed trails with Red Rock,
And the grandiose bull whipped him down.

That next year, again National Finals,
Lane accepted his gold buckle with cheer,
But, one other world winner, was Red Rock,
He was nominated, buckin' bull of the year.

The best of bull riders, had all tried him,
And Red Rock, ushered them all to the ground.
He'd bucked 309 trips, unridden,
Then, he'd jog through his victory round.

Mr. Red Rock is an athlete, he's no eater,
But he's shore trashy and purdy damned rank.
So, if you ever do draw up on Red Rock,
You'd best hustle, when he turns his crank.

Just after this bull legend would crater
His contender down deep in the ground,
He would trot out, with his head held in honor,
It was labeled, as his victory round.

Red was cautious and considerate of contestants,
As he'd watch where they'd light, in the dirt.
He would avoid any possible injury,
This bull's nature was to buck, not to hurt.

Old Red Rock was a meticulous entertainer ,
He'd only buck, to bring pleasure, to his crowd.
His profession was to put a great show on,
And to do his job well, made him proud.

Lane seemed smitten with lust, to consume Red Rock's dust,
He needed this one claim to fame.
But, if you can't ride the best, and still win on the rest,
You'll never extinguish the heat from that flame.

And it made not a damn, on Lane's eight second scam,
Most the bulls he got down on, he'd score.
But the bull he most craved, was the bull he can't ride,
That's known, as cowboy rapport.

The PRCA set up the Challenge of Champions,
Competition between Frost and the Rock.
The two shrines were to meet up in Red Bluff,
There, Lane scored high on his rodeo stock.

As the challenge, Lane slid down on Red Rock,
Then set his bull rope just back of the hinge.
Then they pulled his rope tight, for the champion,
As Lane tucked back his chaps and the fringe.

Then Red Rock hurled out like a comet,
Then quickly dispersed, in mid air.
The great force of Red blew out Lane's handhold,
As he reluctantly lost in despair.

The audience roared out, with a standing ovation,
For Red Rock was their home town child,
And in Red Bluff, this bull's reputation,
With God's help, would not be defiled.

But, to Lane, without defeat over Red Rock,
His life would not and could not be complete.
That meant more to Lane Frost, than God's promise,
To lay down the whole world, at his feet.

And to miss out on life's grand finale,
Would sure leave Lane's ambitions at lost.
It seemed Red Rock was Lane's greatest parlay,
And he'd ride him, no matter the cost.

Now this bull's recognition was luring,
And lay haunt on this young cowboy's mind.
We're all cursed with some greed, be it bad or be good,
Lane's fetish, was of the best kind.

Their next skirmish was to be held at Clovis,
Once again Lane Frost would buck down,
But the next meet was put on at Redding,
And Lane covered Red Rock in that town.

Then at Livermore, and again at Sisters Oregon,
Lane's victories, set their score at two and three.
But at St. Paul, Red snapped a kink, in Lane's winning,
He bucked him down, which evened the spree.

Their last spar was in Spanish Fork Utah,
With three buck off's, three rides, a locked tie,
So, Lane bared down and hustled to ride him,
And the aftermath was Lane's victory cry.

Ol' Red Rock just stood still in the arena,
Then bobbed his head toward Lane, as tribute.
He seemed to accept his defeat with great honor,
As Lane threw his hat high, in salute.

Lane's instant won fame, as an icon,
Left his image too strong to offend.
But, down deep in Lane's heart, he felt sorrow,
As he had just conquered a very dear friend.

Well, then Red Rock went back to retirement,
The contractor put him back out to breed.
No other riders could proclaim Red Rock's honor,
He was left out, to make bulls of his seed.

In Cheyenne, all the elements were against Lane,
He'd drawed up on a ox of ill repute.
Taken Care Of Business was bad business, regardless,
He was hell, in both arena and chute.

Lane had confidence, this time, he could ride him,
And maybe spur up a good score.
He'd bucked off this same bull, at San Angelo,
Preceding just one month, before.

This bull, they called Takin Care Of Business,
He's a hooker, and plum bad to the bone.
He could whirl in mid air, and come hunting
His victim, the second he was thrown.

Chute gate number seven swung open,
And Lane spurred the brindle stripes from his hide.
Every jump the bull made, Lane sucked back to his rope,
And, he scored up an 85 ride.

He gave his rope tail a pull, then departed the bull,
He rolled over the bad toro's left hip.
Lane lit with a splash, in the gravy soup mash,
But couldn't move, with exception to slip.

He tried to stand up to flee, as he crawled on his knees,
He couldn't gain his footing or traction
For the arena was wet, and the mud was not set.
Soon, behind Lane was the mad bull's compaction.

As the bad bull give poor Lane a hookin,
From the back of the bull, his rope fell.
As it scrolled over Lane's dying body,
Lane heard the last ding of his bell.

The clowns finally detoured the savage spree,
They drew the bull off at a charge.
Lane got erect, but was obviously broken,
Like a fishin' vessel, bashed by a barge.

Lane then walked almost back to the chute gates,
Then collapsed, without sign of decease.
At Cheyenne' s Memorial they rushed to revive him,
But Lane had surrendered his life, for God's peace.

Lane was sent as a evangelist angel,
And I pray we'll not forget our great loss.
Like the tree Christ died on, at Calvary,
That bull's skull, plus his horns, was Lane's cross.

Tuff rode out his bull, at Las Vegas,
Then spurred on, to even a score.
The spirit of Lane Frost was now riding,
He spurred the bull eight seconds more.

Lane left us his true love and compassion,
And his Heavenly stretched smile, to proclaim,
That life is for learning, not losing,
And God's promise will fly you to fame.

It seems Hollywood made a misrepresentation,
Of the bull rider hero, Lane Frost.
He was too good to make fit for their image,
So they dirtied his name, at Lane's cost.

Well ol' Red Rock, was a big gentle giant,
They would put little kids on his back,
He'd let them ride him around like a pony,
He loved all the children he packed.

And Red Rock was there in Lane's honor,
When he was inducted in The Rodeo Hall Of Fame,
Also, Red Rock, was a same year inductee,
They'd both lived out their rodeo game.

Now, way up on God's prairies their spirits linger,
Having only their own lives to portray,
Now they're both in the limelight of Heaven,
This act, Hollywood can not lead astray.

2005,  Lucky Whipple
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


About Lucky Whipple:

Lucky Whipple was born in St. George, Utah, and grew up in a cattle-ranching environment.  His father owned two ranches in northern Arizona - the larger of the two was located along the rim of the Grand Canyon where Lucky was raised.  In 1961 his father sold out and bought a ranch in southwest Colorado where the family lived until 1965, then he sold that ranch and they moved to Gila Bend, Arizona, where he worked in a feedlot. Lucky also worked there part-time while going to school.  In Coachella, California, Lucky worked pasture cattle, then in 1967 his Dad purchased a small ranch in northeast Washington, where Lucky cared for the cattle and broke horses for different ranchers.  He spent about 4 months with Dixie Valley Cattle Company at Dixie Valley, C.A.

In 1969 Lucky entered the Marine Corps, did a tour in Vietnam, and came out early - wounded in service.  He went to work back in northern Arizona, for Esplins Floatin' Dart Ranch.  He rodeo'd a few years, went to school on a V.A. grant, worked a while in Searchlight, Nevada - Wykal Ranch, gathered wild cows off the river north of Yuma, Arizona, moved to Hereford, Texas, worked feedlots.

For a while, he moved back and forth between Texas and New Mexico, punchin' cows: Floyd Lee Ranch, out of Grants, N.M., Merl McNeal Ranch, Hobbs-Bell Ranch.

He day-worked a bit, ran a steer operation for Cowden's at Skellytown, Texas, spent a summer in South Dakota punchin' cows for Newhouser Ranches out of Hays, then back to Texas pasture cattle for Sugarland feedlot.  Lucky broke horses in Denton, Texas, trained race horses in Madisonville, Texas, broke horses and day-worked for ranchers, and worked at the sale barn.  Since then he worked in the Panhandle of Texas - feedlots and pasture cattle, moved to Cortez, Colorado in 1995 and went to work punchin' cows for the Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch.  The last ranch he worked for was Majors Ranches in Dolores, Colorado -  eight years ago.  Lucky is now self-employed and runs horseback tours out of Bluff, Utah. His creative nature expresses itself in Cowboy poetry and short stories, and also in sculpture, sketching, and painting.



Click to view at Amazon.com  Two of Lucky's poems were published in Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering, by Hal Cannon (Editor) Publisher: Gibbs Smith Publisher 

Lucky also has two poems recorded on cassette, compiled by Hal Cannon, ("Chukalooski Mare" and "Bucking Horse Ballet").

He illustrated the book of his father's poetry, Echoes of the Past: the cowboy poetry of Melvin Whipple / Melvin Whipple. Edited by Jim McNutt. San Antonio, TX: Institute of Texan Culture, 1987.

Lucky has presented poems at Elko Gatherings two different years (1986 and 2002); also in Alpine, Texas in 1986, then Lubbock, Texas in 1989, and -- lately -- Cedar City, Utah in March 2004.

 

 

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