turkey in the oven
Next Meeting: November 19, 2014

Board Meets: 5:30 p.m.
General Meeting: 6:15 p.m.
We have a special speaker scheduled for this months meeting to give us all the 411 on Search and Rescue.
WHO? Deputy Alan Hughes
WHAT? Search and Rescue.....What it is, how it operates, and how you can help if you want to
WHERE? Trail Riders building
WHEN? Weds November 19th at 6:30
Deputy Hughes will also be giving us tips on back country safety, and what to do if you get lost.

Message from our President

Well folks we are rapidly approaching the end of yet another year together. So far I have only had one person volunteer to run for a board of director position next year. We have two other positions to fill in addition to the president and the vice president spots. We really need folks to step forward. If you have any questions at all about this give me or any of the other directors a call. We would be more than happy to chat with you about it.

I would like to express my appreciation to Carol for putting together a great obstacle course down at the West Arena. There were not very many riders who took advantage of this, but those of us who were there had a great time with our horses. There were barrels to weave around, a bridge, a tarp, jumps, a bell … and several other obstacles. I would love to see more of these … it was a great opportunity to see where we could put in some extra work with our horses…like mine who really does not like go across tarps.

We had our Chili Cook-Off and Participation Buck Auction last month. First we had folks milling about in the kitchen tasting chili and other assorted goodies. Then we got to the auction… Our auctioneer this year was Bill Gray and he did a fabulous job. There were some friendly bidding wars going on providing a lot of entertainment for the rest of us. I want to thank everyone who came to the Cook-Off. More importantly I would like to thank everyone who participated all year long in whatever capacity … Trail Rides, O-Mok-Sees, our monthly activities … it was great to see you all out there.

Vickie and Cynthia have volunteered to put a Christmas Basket together again this year. For those who haven’t been with us before when we have done this, the tickets are sold for $10 each. The basket contains the makings of a Christmas Dinner for at least 4 people. Usually there is a little treat in there for your equine friend as well. We will hand out raffle tickets for folks to sell at our meeting on November 19th. Don’t forget our Christmas Party on December 7th at 2pm. This event will be held at the clubhouse. Details will follow in your November newsletter… As always, any questions give me a call…406-461-9339
Heather Hollandsworth

turkey and donkey

From the Directors

Questions regarding trail rides please contact Chris Warren chris.warren@fib.com or dizzywarrenusa@yahoo.com or 406-461-6257

Vickie Blixt, O Mok See Director

Dear HTR members, If you would like to order T-shirts, please contact me soon. So far, there is only one order for shirts and it wouldn't be cost effective to proceed with that amount. Call 443-2679 or email jambat@3riversdbs.net to let me know your order. The Christmas party is coming early in December. I hope to see you enjoying the festivities there. It is one of my favorite Helena Trail Riders social activities. Marcia

Candy Score has proposed to conduct a tack sale, scheduled for November 29, beginning at 10:00 a.m and running until 4:00 p.m. At the meeting on the 19th more discussion will be held to firm up the date and times. For now, just a heads up that we are really gonna do it. Thanks. Bev

This Month’s Program: I have contacted the Deputy involved in Search and Rescue, and have not heard back from him in regard to speaking at our November meeting. It is still not confirmed if he will be able to attend. Thanks, Cynthia Warner

horse cartoon
horse cartoon

Pictures from the obstacle course.
west arena trail course Sonny Stiger and Rocky
Bev Stiger and Rocky Bev Stiger and Carol Ham
auction pictures

Pictures from the auction.
auction pictures auction pictures

Life's Experiences by Bev Stiger Well, Old Stiger has been “retired” from fire-related stuff now for almost 11 years. Ha! You believe that and I got some stuff to sell ya. It seems the “fire community”, county-wide, honored Sonny in January of 2004 at what has become known as his “annual retirement party”. His first retirement was from the Forest Service in 1984, complete with huge win-ding party, but he seems unable to stay home and mind his own business when disaster strikes. You’d think he owes it to these people who keep staging these retirement parties to just quietly ride off into the sunset..but no, he just keeps getting involved in one fire venue or another, and he’s still at it!

He’s a “speaker” (oh no, they might be sorry they asked!) as I write this, at the annual Mutual Aid Meeting of State-wide fire departments and various people from high places in the fire world. And he loves this stuff! Even when it’s winter and nothing much is burning………..male mentality, we’ve discussed that many times before. He’s been doing fire stuff since the rocks cooled, and that’s not likely to change. Some people have asked me, a semi-intelligent being, how and when I got tangled up with this old fireman/cowboy. Well grab a cup of coffee or a couple of beers, I’m about to tell ya. This could be a three-beer novel.

I met Sonny when we both worked for the Forest Service in Colorado over 40 years ago; he was the Timber/Fire staff in Fort Collins, and I was in the secretarial end of things (where the work is done) in Golden. We had a lot of common friends and interests, were both recently divorced, and it seemed like a good thing to pursue. Little did I know at the time that wild-land firemen were a little elusive, especially in the summertime, so the relationship just sort of simmered on the back burner. A woman always needs a back-up system, so there were a few other personalities who came and went in my life, all of them professionals, with big hats and boots, and all with various and assorted talents to keep me on track. Women have choices when living on the outskirts of a city like Denver.

Now, a single, 30-something woman with a job, a house, two horses, and a four-year-old, on very limited income, must get creative and proficient in survival tactics. These personalities I spoke of included a guy with a flatbed truck who loved to haul hay; a horseshoer; a veterinarian; a carpenter with a passion for rodeo weekends, country music, and dancing; and a mechanic who raised and trained Quarter Horses. I never found anybody who liked to mow grass…….I’m still lookin’ as a matter of fact.

Anyway, offer these newly divorced professionals a home-cooked meal in a spotlessly clean house, homey atmosphere, horses and dog in the back yard, cats on the porch, and a little four-year-old girl dressed in frilly shirt, bluejeans and boots, playing with her trucks and farm set. Her dolls sat on a shelf, never played with – her favorite toy was a pink Tonka truck that pulled a little white horse trailer with two removable black horses. This storybook scene got ‘em every time. Why, they’d fall on their faces to do chores and the Man Stuff. When the wheel came off the Tonka truck, the mechanic was Johnny-on-the-Spot, and if I had the hood up on my car, standing there looking pathetic, I could get an oil change and the motor tinkering done in a flash. When the little girl slammed the cat’s tail in the screen door, the vet bandaged it up to make HER feel better, and Lord knows, two horses always needed some medical attention. And the horseshoer got all gooey-eyed when the little girl sat on a bucket, handing him the nails as he worked, and he’d spend hours saddling and unsaddling old Koko, and standing there while she rode around and around the corral.

The carpenter/rodeo guy did a few minor house repairs occasionally, but mostly he was for my amusement and entertainment; and the flatbed truck hay hauler was just a sometimes necessity. But you get the picture……….life was good, I could handle the fireman being gone a lot.

Then along came winter, the fire season was over, and Stiger began to flit in and out among these other entities more often, and I began to realize I might be able to down-size some, as there was a possibility, with a lot of work and guidance, he might be trained to fill several of the above positions. Also……….the annual Forest Service employees’ Ski Weekend was coming up in Winter Park, Colorado, (all at cut-rates, of course, sort of tenant/landlord perks – don’t tell me this doesn’t happen among Government workers; as a secretary, I lined it up!). I needed a date for this bash.

I went through the list and found that none of the men in my life were skiers. Minor inconvenience. I figured Stiger was the best candidate because, even if he didn’t ski, he worked for the Forest Service so he’d know everybody, a definite plus………and just maybe I could talk him into learning to ski. When approached, his reply went something like this: “I’ll take you to this party, but no way in hell is somebody gonna strap two little boards on my feet and point me downhill!! I’ll bring my snowshoes and take a hike through the woods while you go try to break your neck on the ski slopes.”

Okay, compromise. Some counselor told me that’s what relationships are all about, compromise. But, figure out Plan B. Plan B went like this: Get cowboy among friends, mellowed out in front of fire in ski lodge with drink on Friday night, then kick it into Charming Mode (and I can get charming, contrary to popular belief!), suggest cross-country skiing as an alternative to trudging along on snowshoes, much easier, more miles covered with less effort, more pristine scenery seen, blah, blah, blah. I could line up equipment, a skier basics lesson, and I’d take the lesson too and ski with him! He was wavering, friends added encouragement, and he agreed. In the blink of an eye, I had the equipment reserved and we were signed up for the class early Saturday morning. Charming worked good.

The Saturday cross-country ski day went well, weather was wonderful, lesson absorbed, groomed trails in excellent condition, and Old Bowlegs had a great day. My devious little mind was working, thinking about downhill skiing the next day, but the timing wasn’t quite right. Timing is everything.

He was still on his Colorado High Country high at the cocktail hour and dinner that evening, and he was expounding about the great day in the snow and how much fun it was, especially going downhill where all you had to do was stand on the skis and slide! Seize the moment! Timing is everything. I kicked into Charming Mode again and said, “Well, Cowboy, have I got a deal for you! Tomorrow I’m gonna buy you something that will change your life forever – it’s called a lift ticket! And we can take another lesson and you can stand on your skis and slide a long ways!”

Now, you have to remember, this is early-on in our relationship, and Stiger was still too polite to refuse such as offer, especially when presented in such a charming way in front of his co-workers and peers, some of whom were the Snow Rangers. While he was still being polite and sort of agreeing, I switched into Secretarial Mode (secretaries get lots of practice at making “arrangements”) and I excused myself to go line up equipment and lessons for Sunday. It’s not what you know, but who you know, and I knew a couple of lift operators, several ski patrolmen, a guy in the rental shack, and a lady in the administrator’s office. Two or three phone calls and 20 minutes later, I had him lined up with a complimentary “Learn to Ski” package, and we were set! Life is good. This guy is filling more positions all the time!

Next came the after-dinner dance and the after-ski crowd. Live band, of course, and maybe I’ve told you before, Stiger never went anywhere without his fiddle, the car wouldn’t start without it. The more he drank, the more the band needed a fiddle player, and the more the Snow Rangers demanded it………..

So up on stage he went for the balance of the evening. This should have been a red flag alert for me, but I was naïve enough to think I could handle this problem later……..

In anticipation of the ski day Sunday, most of us were winding down the Saturday night festivities about midnight – except for Stiger. When the band took a break, I announced that I was going up to my room, and he said, in front of everyone within earshot, as he downed another Southern Comfort, “Well, you do whatever you have to do, I’ll see you in the morning – it takes a hell of a woman to keep up with Sonny Stiger!!!” I’m not speechless very often, and usually not for long………but that did it. Every instinct said, “re-think this thing”; reality said, “but not this weekend”. I went on up to my room as he was belting out another song, but not before thoughtfully stopping by the front desk to leave a wake-up call for 0700 for Old Golden Throat in Room 222, where I knew he’d be face-down in the feathers come breakfast time.

Sure enough, all Forest Service personnel and Snow Rangers were assembled in the restaurant, some of us halfway through our meal about 0830 when The Entertainer stumbled in, trying to get both bleary eyes open. He drank about a gallon of coffee and swallowed some eggs, all the while apologizing profusely for his behavior the night before. I looked all hurt and soaked up all the apologies he could muster, then I became all vivacious and bubbly, almost disgusting, actually, and he had no choice but to pretend he could see and hear and chew while holding his aching skull with both hands. The crowd was tittering and tee-heeing when about 0915 I graciously arose and said, “C’mon, Cowboy, it’s time to hit the slopes! It takes a hell of a woman to keep up with Sonny Stiger!”

Well, some forty years later, I’m still keeping up and getting even. But I’ve got to hand it to the Old Boy. After years of training, and short of the grass-mowing, he’s filled all the slots. Here’s to you, Cowboy! It’s been a hell of a trip! Remember, if you get bored in your old age, I can make some arrangements. The Secretary. Thanksgiving punkin

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