Thursday, August 28, 2014

Stormy Adventure

Adventure has been a part of my life since I can remember. My father had an adventurous job with the State Fish and Game. And he was a very adventurous man. He included his family on his many hairy, scary, wild, and exhilarating adventures as often as he could. Summers spent in mountains, camping weeks on end, riding horses, canoeing on lakes, rafting the rivers, hiking, fishing, hunting, participating in war games, counting deer, chasing ufo's and poachers. That does not include all the other times adventuring at home and around our neck of the woods. All six of us kids and mom had the rare privilege of experiencing a very adventurous life! 

I am about to tell you, in my dad's own words (from his journal), about a very STORMY ADVENTURE that includes me!
It was the year 1965. While reading the newspaper an advertisement caught my eye. "Little Buckaroo Rodeo". I thought that sounds like a prime idea and perhaps we could engage them to come to Carbon County. I got a hold of Mr. Bernice Hunsaker of Tremonton, Utah and after some negotiating around he agreed to bring his outfit to Price and help us support the Ward budget. I had the responsibility of getting the rodeo grounds, advertisement and signing the riders on. A Shetland pony is a small animal, but a large one as viewed by most of our riders--6-9 year old. Boy! When those ponies came out of the chute, nostrils flaring, eyes a bulging and doing their best to dislodge the little culprit astride--those kids knew they were in for the ride of their life.
At the start of the show Bernice would have a pony catching contest, where the small children in the crowd would chase down the colt of their choice. There would be 15-20 colts turned loose in a small arena and the children turned loose to chase after them. Carol (that's me!) entered the contest and was the first to lasso and catch her pony. She was broken hearted when she brought the pony to the gate and found out she didn't get to keep it--they only had the privilege of chasing it around the arena and making a capture. Big tears flowed down her cheeks--not unnoticed by Bernice.
That night when the show was over he told Carol to take her pick of Ponies and wouldn't you know it she picked a little Palomino stud colt. I was sure grateful to Mr. Hunsaker since Carol felt so bad--she was only about seven. It didn't take us long to find out he was a small piece of dynamite and very temperamental. She immediately named him "Stormy". We loaded "Stormy"  into a full sized horse trailer and headed for home.
On our arrival at the house--Stormy was gone. He must have jumped out of the horse trailer somewhere along the way. Carol got her heart broke again--twice in one night. The imagination can conjure up all kinds of things about the location and condition of the colt. I must have been going a good clip when he managed to clear the trailer bed. It was a pitch black night, but we started to back track. We finally located the little feller about half way between the rodeo grounds and the house and examination of the little critter didn't reveal any more than some minor scrapes and a bruise or two. Carol was once more the proud owner of a "Rascal".


Amazing what a young child will remember about the same event! The entire event--leading up to, participating in, and "winning" the prize--was done with much anticipation and excitement. Done with hard and diligent work for a youngster. And so emotional--- experienceing all the ups and downs that led to "final outcome!" I don't know how I ever survived such an adventure!

My memory recalls being part of selling  tickets to the Little Buckaroo Rodeo. I remember going from door to door, in my neighborhood, selling as many tickets as I could. I don't know if it was in my mind at that time, but for some reason I thought whoever sold the most tickets won a Shetland pony. And, it was going to be me! I was determined to win my "pony!"

I remember running around the arena trying to catch a pony. I ran with vigor and intent to capture one-- because it was the pony I was going to keep! Yes, I had my heart broken when I found out I couldn't keep him. It was so disappointing. I cried big crocodile tears. I thought I earned him! I sold tickets and I did everything possible to keep the pony I caught. I worked hard for my prize, just to find out I couldn't keep him.

At the end of the rodeo, you can imagine my young hearted joy, when the nice man, who brought the rodeo to town, took me to the corral and let me pick a out a Shetland pony to call my very own. 

He had beautiful, shiny, golden brown hair. And, he was just my size! I named him STORMY. And, it wasn't long before he literally lived up to his name. In fact... he proved his name on the way home that very night! Even with his feisty attitude, Stormy was my friend. I would often ride him five miles to a cousins house where we would ride our Shetland ponies for hours. There was a stretch of pasture grass that ran along side and in between the old highway and canal going to Carbonville, where Karen lived. When we reached that grassy path, it became a race track. I'd let the reins down and Stormy would take off like a "bat out of hell" and run like the wind! It was so thrilling--Stormy and I running and riding like lightning! We would surely win the race! 

As time went on, and I grew older, I rode Stormy less and less. But I still continued to greet him on occasion, in the pasture behind the house, with a bucket of oats. I don't know what happened--maybe I wasn't giving him enough attention, but he started to lash out at me when I put the bucket of oats down for him to eat. One day, while I was setting it down, he pushed back his ears like he was mad and pawed me hard with his hoof. He sensed that it scared me and from then on took advantage of it. He continued to get more aggressive with me with each visit. He wasn't as kind to me as he once was, but I still loved my pony. He brought adventure into my young life and gave me the memories of some of the best years of my childhood. 

Writing prompt #2: Write a blog post inspired by the word: adventure

Hosted by

Mama Kat's Pretty Much Famous Writer's Workshop


  1. What a great story! And to have your side and your dad's was really cool. What a treat that you have his journals. My best memories of my dad are when he took us camping and fishing too.

  2. I have always heard that Shetlands can be very cantankerous. Sounds like Stormy was just that, but oh, that photo! He was gorgeous.
    Little Buckaroo Rodeos....they must have been everywhere during the mid-1960s. I remember see an ad in my hometown paper about Little Buckaroos!~May

  3. Stormy was an ornery critter!!! I didn't ride him much because of it. I preferred the neighbors pony, Smokey. I remember Stormy kicking up his hills to buck Leslie off more than once as she rode him. He also had the nasty habit of taking off on streak while simultaneously pulling at his riders pant leg until they were dislodged. He ran under tree limbs and mailboxes just to swipe riders off. He was a rascal! I enjoyed your story, those were good times riding our ponies all over tarnation with our friends. They had much more stamina than a horse and could run all day.

  4. Loved your post. I loved Stormy. He never did get very mean with me. He, Sparky , and my baby duck were my best friends. Loved those care free days.

    1. I'm glad you had a few good years with Stormy and were good friends!

  5. Wow! What a treasure to have that story written in your dad's own words! You'll never find an arena full of kids chasing down ponies in today's world. What a shame. I would actually pay money to watch that!