The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35911   Message #496255
Posted By: Joe Offer
01-Jul-01 - 10:43 PM
Thread Name: Strawberry Roan - ( & Sheepherder version?)
Subject: Add: He Rode the Strawberry Roan
He Rode the Strawberry Roan

"The Strawberry Roan" inspired many sequels and parodies, both sentimental and bawdy. This one is about Harry Knight, former top bronc rider and now one of the world's largest rodeo producers. My first clue to this song came during George Williams's editorship of the Rodeo Sports News, the official publication of the Rodeo Cowboys Association. In his column and elsewhere George Williams got in a lot of rodeo history and scraps of songs and poems. I finally got the words from D. K. Wilgus of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation at UCLA.
This parody was written by Canadian singer Wilf Carter (better known in the States as "Montana Slim"). Carter was at one time a dude wrangler at Banff, in the Canadian Rockies; he tried bronc riding at the Canadian rodeos and was a friend of many great rodeo hands through the twenties and thirties. A Canadian friend, Jack Lauder, says that a lot of good bronc riders came out of Banff in Harry Knight's heyday. Wrangling dudes was their primary occupation, however.

(Wilf Carter)

We're all layin' round, spinnin' some yarns.
Up rides a stranger and stops at the barns.
His chaps were gold-spotted, on the leg at the right
Was a name in gold spots, `twas Harry H. Knight.

He looked like a kid that had just left his home,
And I says, "Say, young feller, how long have you roamed?"
He says he's no phony and loosened a cinch,
Took a seat in the shade on a rickety bench.

Then up comes the boss. "Whose bronco is that?"
"That kid's over there in a ten-gallon hat."
The boss looks him over, "S'pose you wants a job?"
He said that he did, so he says, "See here, lad,

"In the mornin' we're roundin' up a bunch o' mustangs,
I think I can use you if you're a good man."
Next morning we started on the old prairie trail,
To round up them horses back to the corral.

Fin'ly we sights `em, starts chasm' `em back,
But the kid he's done missin' in a ten-gallon hat.
So we sees him come on a horse white with foam,
An' ahead of him, snortin', come a strawberry roan.

"Say! Here's one you missed, he sure made me ride."
We tells him no man livin' can stick to that hide.
"I'd just like to try him, doggone that ol' hide,
I've never seen a pony that I couldn't ride."

Well, right after chuck, took a good snort o' rum,
We sit on the corral bars to watch all the fun.
He uncoiled his rope like a hiss of a snake,
Ol' Strawberry ducked just a second too late.

Well, he gets his ol' saddle, screws her down tight,
Ol' Strawberry stands there a-shakin' with fright.
He woke with a snort when he felt the sharp spur
Rake down his two shoulders an' back to his rear.

Across the corral he goes like a shot,
While the kid started fannin' that ol' ten-gallon hat.
The way that horse bucked no man can describe,
His tail's all that saved him from losin' his hide.

We kept a-yellin' with all our might,
"Ride him, cowboy, you're winnin' the fight!"
He lay down an' rolled, squealed like a rat,
But the kid kep' a-fannin' that ten-gallon hat.

He turned an' looked back, just seemed to say,
"It's all right, ol' feller, you've won out today.
You're the first guy that's ever been known
To stay on my back, I'm ol' Strawberry Roan."

Poor ol' Strawberry Roan,
All the guys tried to board him got thrown.
But a kid came from Banff, an' he took a big chance,
But he rode the ol' strawberry roan.

Source: The Hell-Bound Train: A Cowboy Songbook, Glenn Ohrlin, University of Illinois Press, 1973.