Sunday, January 28, 2024

Cowboy Pranks

Story by Terry McGahey

Sometimes funny things happen when just going to town or running errands. One example of this is when two young fellows had moved to town from New York City (get a rope). These two brothers had moved to Tombstone. Why, I never knew. While they were actually very nice guys, they're babes in the woods knowing nothing at all about Western life. Both liked to play funny pranks on people once they had been there awhile and got to know you well enough. Of course all in fun.

One evening, while I was having a few beers, they told this older half-crazy woman that I didn’t like Arabian horses. This old woman came over, sat next to me, and started going off on me about it because she had an Arab. Being as polite as I could be, I told her, "Lady I don’t even know you."

I looked over and these two city boys were looking at me and laughing. So I thought, ok, I’ll just wait for my time.

Well, about two weeks later I got my chance. I had to run over to Sierra Vista, Arizona, to pick up a ton of hay and they asked if they could go along. While on our way I pulled over at one particular cattle guard, got out of the truck, and held my hand over my eyes as though I was looking for something. They thought it was odd but never asked why.

On the way back, I did the same thing at the same cattle guard and they finally had to ask, "What are you doing?"

I then began to tell them, you see that sign that says cattle guard, well I am looking for that fellow and he is not here doing his job keeping the cattle from crossing over on the road. I then began telling them that I heard that the cattle guard positions were going to be opening up soon. I told them how good the pay and benefits were. And I told them how when we get back to Tombstone, if I were them, I would hot foot it over to City Hall and fill out an application because even though it’s a state job the city has the applications and would forward them on.

Pretty much, all the way back to town I pumped those two boys up about the job. And when we pulled into town, I parked in front of the bar, they got out and walked over to City Hall to apply while all the time I was chuckling all to myself.

I then went into the bar. And of course, I knew everyone in the place and told them the story, and the whole place busted up laughing.

About five minutes or so later those two walked in and the whole place erupted in laughter and those two boys' faces turned beet red. I then looked at them, laughed, and said, "Well boys, did you get the job?"

With that, the whole place erupted in laughter again. I then said, "Maybe that will teach you boys not to pull pranks on someone when you are in their back yard" and chuckled some more.

They sat down near me. And taking it all in good stride, they said, "We won’t prank you again that’s for sure."

I then asked them, "How did they react at City Hall?"

The older of the brothers said he asked for the application for the cattle guard position and everyone in City Hall began laughing so they knew they had been had.

The following Sunday, we headed to the bar, and a friend of mine by the name of Ron had taken a large piece of cardboard, cut it into the shape of a star, covered it with aluminum foil, and wrote in big letters, "Cattle Guards!" and hung it on the wall. To say the least, those two boys didn’t live that one down for several months, which goes to show you, that when you are in someone else’s back yard you should watch what you do. Because it could very well come back to bite ya on the butt.

Terry McGahey
Associate Writer/ Old West Historian

Terry has been a working cowboy, writer, and historian. He is best known for the fight that he waged against the City of Tombstone and their historic City Ordinance Number 9. He was instrumental in getting the famous Tombstone City Ordinance Number 9 repealed while at the same time forcing the City of Tombstone to fall in line and comply with the laws of the State of Arizona.

If you care to read how he fought Tombstone's City Hall and won, check out:

The Last Gun Fight -- The Death of Ordinance Number 9 (Chapter One)

1 comment:

  1. Jack, from Texas
    I heard of an issue from before my time, the depression and FDR’s attempt to micro manage every business. A rancher filed an expense report which listed, among other things, 4 cattle guards at $500 each. The government’s response said “four is too many cattle guards, fire two of them.”


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