school bus

          September Meeting September 18th, 2013

      Board Meets: 5:30 p.m. General Meeting: 6:15 p.m.

Message from our President: Heather Hollandsworth

Welcome Fall!!! I know that it is hard to believe that we are already into September. Last month we celebrated our 75th Anniversary in style. Thanks to Shirley Herrin, our program/public relations director, and her crew of helpers…we had a great party. Shirley and Marcia Gray were on the radio promoting our club on Coffee Break. And there was a very nice article in the Independent Record by Curt Synness detailing the history of the Helena Trail Riders. There were two overflowing tables full of silent auction items which were donated by members as well as business from Avon, Elliston and Helena. Shirley’s sister, Fee, baked and decorated a spice cake, a yellow cake, and a chocolate cake. Then of course there was Nashville recording artist Paul Alan Coons who performed with the Bell Cross Band (Sonny and fellow band member Ray). Lots of people took advantage of the live music and danced the bottom of their boots off!! There were so many people going in and out of the clubhouse that I finally lost track of how many people were in attendance.

With Labor Day weekend came the State O-Mok-See in Townsend. I have not heard yet from any members how the O-Mok-See went. I do know that Shirley took so many pictures that her battery finally called it quits…on the first day!!! I will be looking forward to hearing about it from some of our members, so please come to the meeting and let us know what your impressions were. If you took pictures, be sure to send them to Cheryl Bryant so that she can post them on our website.

The September meeting will be the last one where you can earn participation dollars for this year. So be sure and come to the meeting. Once again we will be serving dinner at the meeting. We are going to be having a baked potato bar for our next meeting.

Next month (October) will be our Fall Fest. With this activity comes our auction. Gather up all of your participation dollars because you will be using them to bid on the items. Since we are getting closer to the end of the year, and only have two more general meetings (September and November), I am going to start looking for volunteers for a couple of different things now:

1) We need 3 people who are willing to call and find people willing to run for the board of directors next year. Which means that we also need people to run for office (President, Vice President, 3 directors)
2) We need one/two people who are willing to put together a holiday basket and organize raffle tickets for members to buy/sell. The winning raffle ticket is drawn at our annual Christmas party.

If you are interested in any of these or have questions about what is involved, please feel free to give me a call. Looking forward to seeing you at the meeting!! Heather

This Month’s Program:

Wade Cooperider, Brand Inspector from the Montana Department of Livestock will present a program on the history of brands in Montana. I had drawn brands and typed the owner’s information for a brand book for three counties in Eastern Montana several years ago and have always been interested in how to read brands. You can search Montana Cattle Brands Book on the computer and come up with some fascinating information. Shirley Herrin

From the Directors

O-Mok-See Director: Candy Score There were many wonderful donations for the auction at the 75th Trail Riders celebration! What fun it was. I would like to plug my friend Ron Zbinden AtoZ Leather for his after-the-fact donation. When I came in to pay for the set of barrel racing reins that Lisa and James Warfield, JLW Performance Horses and myself donated, he paid for half of them! He is a very nice person and will help you find a used or new item. Check out his little shop. Thanks, Candy

Trail Ride Director: Chris Warren

I just wanted to let everyone know how nice it has been this year having the opportunity to lead all of the wonderful rides. The end of most peoples riding season is soon approaching and can completely understand that given the amount of metal still in my leg; however Pete and I ride the majority of the year so when there is a clear day and little wind (understandable when it is cold) we ride. Keeps the horses as well as ourselves outside and a little less argumentative come spring.

I have had many adventures with several people this year and please allow me to say thank you; getting people and horses the opportunity to get out and to see and experience our great wilderness that we have in an abundance around our home is the greatest thing in the world for me. We get to visit and have had the opportunity to learn about new friends and to learn about a few new spots to ride.

So today I was looking for maps and info for one of our new members and came across a spot on the USDA Forest Service site I wanted to share so figured the Pony Tales would be the easiest way for everyone so please see below the link to different trails in the Helena Ranger district as well as Townsend and Lincoln Ranger district. I hope it will be of some use to those that would like to ride in the wilderness but have not had the opportunity to join us. Here is hoping that everyone has some wonderful rides in store and that you will have the chance to join us at some point and time. Our rides are pretty laid back and usually very uneventful since our horses (except my Dancer) are all pretty experienced trail horses. I am hoping next year to plan a couple overnight rides and am looking for a little input as to places people may want to go, so please fill me in if you have any ideas. Sooner rather than later as I would like time to plan and coordinate. Here is hoping all are doing well with little worries and hopeful futures. Chris Warren

Fun Facts: DID YOU KNOW? Horses tend to colic (get stomach aches) more in winter, when they drink less water and there is often less moisture in the aged, stored winter hay.

DID YOU KNOW? It is commonly reported that horses exhibit odd behavior (flighty and distracted) prior to storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Some believe this phenomenon may be related to ultrasonic waves or electromagnetic signals. Before one major volcanic eruption at Mount St. Helens in the U.S., a herd of horses was reported to have safely migrated away from the area, prior to the eruption.

Upcoming Events:

9/18/13 HTR Meeting
9/21/13 Cromwell Dixon Ride
9/28/13 Hanging Valley Ride

NEW From the Members:

Please send information, tips, stories, or jokes that you would be willing to share in the Pony Tales to Angie Johnson at: or call 439-6072.

Life's Experiences As mentioned in the title for these articles, some of my life’s experiences have had to do with being married to a wild land fireman. Since we are into the fire season now, I might as well talk about that. I could always count on it, any crises in my world occurred while Stiger was gone someplace far away on fire duty. The season usually started with our wedding anniversary, which is in July. The first 25 years or so, I think he was only home for one anniversary, and that was because he had the flu. That was fun. How the heck he ever had time to get married in July is something I’ll never know, it must have been a wet year. If I don’t want to hear the brutal answers, I’ve discovered through the years there are two questions I don’t ask Stiger: #1 is: “Would you give up this fire call to take me to dinner for our anniversary?” And #2 is: “Do I look fat in these pants?” Don’t go there.

One memorable occasion, the fire call came while we were camped out in the Beartooth Game Management Area, complete with two pickups, one with the camper, and one pulling the horse trailer, three horses, and three friends who slept through it all. Stiger never went anywhere without his radio and he was always “on call”. This time it was at 1:00 a.m., since dispatchers rarely call to arms in the daylight. He bailed out of bed, loaded the horses in the dark, headed home to dump them and the horse trailer off for me to deal with later, grabbed his firepack and took off into the smoke.

Being of a far more sound and rational mind, I decided to wait for daylight to break camp and wake up my comrades. Before leaving, however, he dutifully locked up my pickup so the boogieman couldn’t get in – with my purse and keys resting comfortably on the seat. So my first order of business at daybreak was to gain entrance to the truck.

Now, if you ever need to get into a locked Ford pickup, without a trace, call me. For a hefty consulting fee, in line with the talent and dexterity necessary for this task, I’ll share my secret. I didn’t survive high school in Butte, America in the 1950’s without learning a few things! Break-in and Entry 101 was a required course in Butte High. Stiger still wonders how I got in that pickup, but he don’t get that information until he forks over the fee. Now he says he don’t need to know ‘cause he’s driving a Dodge. Well, I’m not so sure the old Ram Tough is immune from my nimble fingers either.

Next on my agenda, after breakfast for remaining 3 campers, who then loaded their two horses, waved goodbye and good luck and headed to Great Falls -- was to dispose of 5 days’ accumulation from the holding tank in the camper, a monumental task, given that the closest RV dump was located in Helena, 40 miles away. A minor inconvenience, says I, just rinse and flush at home with a large bucket and a garden hose. Bad plan. I made a mental note here that holding tanks are Man Stuff and can wait until the fireman returns, even if that’s in November.

I arrived home to a neatly parked horse trailer, still loaded with all the crap required for a five-day horse trip, and three hungry horses surplus to my needs. Since we were nearly out of hay, I needed to hook up the trailer and transport these beasts to the pasture, but first, I must remove the camper from the pickup. You see, it is virtually impossible for me to align the ball hitch on the pickup with the receptacle on the trailer tongue when the camper obstructs my view of the trailer. Trailer might as well be on another planet. The three starving horses were leaning over the corral fence encouraging me to hurry. I managed to get the camper off the pickup and on blocks and the horses hauled.

When I unloaded, the first two hopped out and went to eating, easy to remove halters when heads are on the ground. My old Koko horse who’s seen it all, done it all, knows it all, comes out front feet on the ground, back feet still in the trailer and commences to munch away. He’s thinking he has to eat fast in case I come up with something else for him to do. I took his halter off, he continued to eat that way until I booted his butt out of there.

Mission accomplished, now go home, unhook and park trailer, and clean out the manure, which I did with no problems. Congratulations would be forthcoming, I thought, or candy, or flowers, or SOMETHING! I live in a Dream World! When old E. M. Stiger finally appeared on the scene two or three weeks later, he was quick to point out that the camper was a little tilted to one side and could blow over in the wind, and the horse trailer was parked a little too close to it. So be it.

Prior to our camping trip, the Fireman had arranged for 12 tons of hay to be delivered in a week or two. He hadn’t been able to find the time yet to clean out the hay shed, and you guessed it! As luck would have it, the hay hauler called to say he was coming with the hay in a day or two on his way to somewhere else, ready or not, here it comes. Several hours of pitch-forking in 90-degree heat produced this huge mound of old hay, mouse nests, rat condos, and other assorted debris a cowboy stockpiles for reasons known only to himself and the resident packrat, who loves his technique.

He always plans to burn these great heaps of old hay in the Fall when the time is right, after the first snowfall, or when the stars are properly aligned, or however he determines when to do that. If we wait until it snows, we could practice our skiing skills down this unsightly mountain of dead hay. I did figure out though, sometimes he’ll cut fire duty short a day or two if I threaten to torch this pile myself. I figured by then I knew people in high places in various Fire Dept.’s and I could always call someone to help extinguish any escaped embers. This thought always makes Stiger tremble, he worries too much about seeing his name in the paper in a negative way…….and he’ll fog up the driveway in a few days, greeting me not with, “Hi there, how are you doing?”, but more like, “You didn’t light that pile, did you?”

Anyway, the 12 tons of hay was delivered, out front, where the semi could maneuver, with thunderstorms predicted, of course. Not wanting it to get rained on, my daughter and I faced the formidable task of piling it in the shed. Al Milliron, the neighbor, had the misfortune of driving by quite often during one of my crises (we lived on Hwy. 434 then), and sure enough, he lumbered up the road, said he’d go get his wife and be back to help. Usually Stiger is fresh out of friends when it’s time to pile hay, but Milliron’s felt sorry for me. So I promised them old Sonny would help them roof their house when the time came. It seemed only fair for me to make this trade.

When he was gone that year on Fire #3 or Fire #4, I lose count, I had 25 tons of used paving delivered for the driveway. When they resurfaced the Interstate, they needed places to dump the peeled-up paving. Why not?, says I, it will save What’s-His-Name from his yearly chore of hauling and hand-shoveling a pickup load of gravel to repair our erosion.

I tended bar in Wolf Creek at the time so I was in a position to cut a deal with a couple of the road construction crew guys to bring a load. Again, delivery was supposed to happen in a week or so, after Stiger’s return. Dream on! As usual, the truck could only deliver on a certain day, ready or not here it comes. I ended up with a 4-foot-high, 8-foot-wide, mound of munched-up paving material in the middle of the entire length of driveway. Belly-dumper truck did a superb job of dumping it, but couldn’t spread it (they hadn’t really emphasized that part). Plan B – have Old Stiger spread it with his handy-dandy tractor with hydraulic bucket on the front and blade on the back. In the meantime, I could hike up to the house from the road. Not going to happen. Since the paving was still warm from the peeler-upper process, the truckers told me I needed to get it spread before it sets up like concrete and can’t be moved. “Good Luck”, they said, as they drove off. I said to myself, “Self, you need to fix these guys a drink they’ll never forget next time they belly up to your bar.”

Old Stiger had never found the time to teach me to operate Trusty Tractor, but I courageously looked it straight in the bucket, with its formidable array of various and assorted handles and knobs that make its bucket lift-tip-tilt-scrape-dredge-dump, and its blade on the back twist and turn – and promptly called Neighbor Milliron. My reasoning was maybe I should make my tractor operator debut on something easy, like manure, and then work up to road construction. Milliron couldn’t come for a couple hours, probably his own wife needed something done, and I was headed into the house to call Bob Wirth for advice and hopefully, some assistance, since I know for a fact, he can move mountains and has his very own road grader.

About that time, Ye Olde Fireman pulled up to what used to be our driveway. Did he greet me with, “Hi there, how are you doing?” Nope. He says, “Where the hell did you get this stuff?” My loving reply – “Don’t ask no dumb questions, Stiger, just get on the tractor and start spreadin’ if you ever want to drive up to this house again.” If he needs in on the decision-making process around here, stay home, right? He spread paving until about midnight, and we had the only driveway in town built by moonlight. Romantic, yes?

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