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Riding into the SUNset

By Jim Smith
SUN Columnist

As I write my last column for the SUN, I want to reflect on some enjoyable experiences that I have had as the interim Archuleta County Extension Agent.

Words can’t express how I have enjoyed working with Terry Schaaf and Becky Jacobson. They are truly a great asset to Archuleta County, CSU Extension, 4-H’ers, Master Gardeners, Extension homemakers, county fair participants and others who use Extension.

When I accepted the job in late November as Interim County Agent, the staff and others were under stress due to the sudden death of Extension Director Liz Haynes. Liz had held this position for only six months and had made a positive impression on many Extension users. Terry and Becky were doing an outstanding job of taking hold of the many activities happening in the Extension arena and providing the leadership needed to get the jobs done and continue to do so.

I have met many dedicated Extension volunteers who are the backbone of any Extension activity. I want to thank the Archuleta County commissioners for their support of the CSU Extension office. Extension would not be possible if it wasn’t for the financial support that the county provides. Roberta Tolan will be filling the position as the new county Extension Agent beginning around June 1. I worked with Roberta when I was the county Extension director in Weld County and she was the horticulture agent for Larimer County. Roberta is an outstanding educator and a wonderful person.

In closing, several of my articles written for The SUN have revolved around horses. I want to share a story about a great Colorado horseman, Leonard Stroud, and his horse, Van.

My Granddad Joe H. Smith raised and gave Leonard the red and white spotted horse. Van performed from “Calgary to Madison Square Garden, and from Ft. Worth to Belle Fourche.” Van carried Leonard Stroud to six world championship titles in trick and fancy riding from 1919 to 1927. My Granddad said that Van was the toughest horse he had ever ridden and felt he was too high strung to make a rodeo horse. Leonard retired Van on his ranch at Rocky Ford.

“The little cold-blooded paint pony was born a ‘Nobody’ and carried world notables on his back. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Ken Maynard and Will Rogers rode him in parades in Hollywood that proved horses, like men, can reach the zenith of activity regardless of background or breeding.”

The quotes that I’ve used came from a story titled “Rodeo Horse-No1” that my Uncle Joe Smith wrote in a 1950 issue of Cattleman Magazine. Leonard and Mamie Stroud moved to Amarillo in 1947-48 to work at Boys Ranch where he taught trick roping. Leonard could stand on his head and rope four riders as they rode by. The “Stroud Layout” is still used today by many trick riders.

Leonard and Mamie visited my parents often. On my sixth Christmas, Leonard picked out a palomino horse at the slaughter plant, which Santa brought me. Also, Leonard was a World’s Champion- All-Around Cowboy. In 1937, he was rodeo director and manager at the Colorado State Fair. He and his wife are buried in Green Mountain Cemetery, Boulder. I wish that I would have been old enough when he was in Amarillo to have learned some of Leonard’s rope tricks. It sure would have helped my roping ability!

Calendar

May 9 — Mountain View Homemakers, noon.

May 9 — 4-H Poultry Project meeting, 4 p.m.

May 10 — 4-H Cloverbud Project meeting, 2 p.m.

May 10 — 4-H Rabbit Project meeting, 3:30 p.m.

This story was posted on May 9, 2013.