The Bounty of Texas Page: 57
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The Bounty of the Woods
To a large degree I modeled Snort after a cowboy named Bellcord
Rutherford, who worked on ranches in the Midland-Odessa country.
Every oldtimer in that country can tell you a dozen Bellcord stories.
One of them concerns the way he got his nickname. I have heard
several versions, but the most likely is that when he was a boy he
wanted a rope, so he climbed up into the bell tower of the church and
took the bell rope. Ever afterward, he was called Bellcord.
I also borrowed just a little from an old cowboy and famous roper
of the 20s and 30s and 40s named Bob Crosby. Crosby was a big,
rough but honest fellow who had no pretensions about him.
It is hard to overstate the esteem in which he and others like him
were held in those days in the ranching country. In their environ-
ment, they were the equivalent of movie stars or rock stars.
I remember once when I was eight or ten years old, and Bob
Crosby was going to rope in the Midland rodeo. My Uncle Ben took
us kids over to meet him and shake his hand. I couldn't have been
more awed if I had met the president.
Bob Crosby kept his fame in perspective and did not let it alter his
chosen lifestyle, which was Spartan.
There is a story that he was once to be a star attraction at some
rodeo. The town leaders decided to throw a big to-do for him as soon
as he hit town. They prepared a barbecue and a whole blow-out,
which they would kick off as soon as he checked in to the local hotel.
They waited and waited, but Bob Crosby never showed up. The
barbecue got cold and the beer got warm, and the committee got egg
all over their faces. Time came for the rodeo, and Crosby never had
checked in. Everybody went down to the fairgrounds to start the
rodeo without him. They found him camped down there with his
horses under the shade trees, waiting for the show. Hotel? What did
he need with a hotel? He wasn't going to be in town but three days.
He used to tell a story about the time he hurt his leg somehow. It
got infected and must have verged on gangrene, because the doctor
said it had to come off. Crosby did not agree with that diagnosis. The
Lord had issued him two legs at birth, and he intended to check two
legs back in when his time came.
So he went home and treated himself. He made up a poultice of
horse manure, applied it to the wounded leg and wrapped the whole
thing with an innertube.
Here’s what’s next.
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Abernethy, Francis Edward. The Bounty of Texas, book, 1990; Denton, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38873/m1/69/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.