THE END OF A DYNASTY OF GREAT PARTNERS
Today I’d like to pay tribute to the string of rodeo-champion horses that were instrumental in the careers of the Camarillo boys. Some were more famous than others, but all were equally valuable in the shaping of our success.
As I think back on each of the horses we shared through our 20-year run (1968-1988), it’s hard to single out or place one above the other. They were all better than average horses, distinct in very, unique ways. I did, however, have my true favorite.
Picking up the leg just after my full-time career was a palomino gelding I almost passed by. I was leaving my good friend, Dan’s (Fisher) place, and as we were shaking hands and hugging good bye, he went and loaded the horse in my trailer. I tried to explain how I didn’t need a heel horse, but Dan would not hear it. He insisted I needed this one, telling me, “That’s alright. You take him anyway, use him, and if for some reason you still don‘t need him down the road, well then, just bring him back.”
When I first got on this horse, we struggled, because he could run, I mean RUN. He ran harder than any horse I’d ever been on. He ran so hard all the time that I had to recondition my roping. But, the more I roped on him, the better I got. And the better I got, the better we got. Soon we just seemed to fit each other. Not only was he the fastest horse in the pack, he could really square up to help me heel a steer as fast as possible.
Commencing semi-retirement, I’d begun toning down my tour, weeding out the county fairs, etc. and just going to the better ropings. This was also the time when team roping was making its transition from yester-year’s methods to modern-time heeling. Because I was semi-retired and not going so hard, plus I had just turned 50, it was easy to fall out of the momentum of progression, so I needed a horse who could make up the difference for me. This (Danny Fisher) horse was “Magic”. He was the golden ticket, one of them horses that just “got it.” He knew the play and got off on giving it to me. I took him to the Timed Event and won my second Timed Event Championship (1989) on him. I took him to Salinas, and won on him. The Mike Booth match roping in Oakdale, was no match for us--Cha Chinggggg. I roped on him at the Cal Palace with Walt Roddman. We were one of the first teams out and we strung our steer in 4 (seconds), when 4 was unheard of winning ourselves the first day-money. I would’ve won the Bob Fiest on him, but my header broke out on our last steer. These are just a few of a long list of triumphs Magic and I accomplished together. I think I ended up giving $6,500.00 for Magic, but I wouldn’t take a million.
God works in mysterious ways, they say, and you never know where a blessing’s going to show up. The least expected ones seem to offer the greatest rewards, hence I was extremely fortunate to have Magic come along when he did. He is the reason I was so competitively successful at age 50 and semi-retired. He was a modern-type heel rocket, that really squared up to help me heel a steer in the first jump. Magic fulfilled my need to out-mount my competitors, he met all my progressive demands, and he made doing what I do…fun..
To have a great horse come along in life is a genuine blessing. My brothers and I have always been grateful for the dynamic, 4-legged partners we were multi-blessed to have throughout our career. And with each one’s passing goes a chunk of our hearts. Losing Magic, the last of our champions-dynasty, brings the deepest sorrow. He was to me like one of my favorite songs, “This Is The Last Cowboy’s Waltz” (Ed Bruce & Willie Nelson)…and I’ll never forget our dance.
That’s all I know…