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Massacre At Loon Lake

We tourists were standing around the fire ring in a clearing on a knoll above Loon Lake trading stories about riding in the horse-drawn cove

To Love or Loathe?

A woman waylaid me at Cactus Pete’s casino in Jackpot, Nevada, and almost derailed my assignment to Elko. Together, we guzzled free drinks

Moving On

If only I had recognized the severity of his coughing and wheezing. I worked at a local guest ranch, the Rocking R, where part of my job wa

Pickup Men

The gate jerked open on bucking chute #2, and out came a 1,000-pound equine convulsion. The cowboy spurred out hard over the saddle bronc’s

My Eight-legged Muse

All summer, I holed up in my bedroom behind drawn curtains. With pen in hand, I sat hunched over my desk, an island rising from a sea of can

Stick Racing Champion of the World

Before stock cars barreled around paved tracks, Alabama boys raced sticks down creeks. We graduated to racing June bugs, frogs, horses, and

The Life & Death Parade

Morning at Driggs Vet Clinic. A man arrives carrying his red dog, Rebel, not much bigger than a pack rat. Two days earlier Rebel had consume

The Executive Whisperer

6 feet 4 inches. 230 pounds. Navy veteran. Not the crying type. But Dave Makowicz sniffs and wipes his cheek. “This is one of the most impor

Boot-scootin' Good Times

“Let’s burn it down, burn it down” sings the lead singer for One Ton Pig, an outlaw Americana band that has packed the tiny dance floor with

The Invisible Man

I sat on the sidewalk outside the Wilma Theatre, where congregants of Lion’s Den Ministries were arriving for worship, and pretended to be s

Chasing A Dream

The gelding, Cisco, hung limp from his lead rope, his head two feet off the ground, his legs splayed. I had tied him to an aspen tree where

The Evolution of Ricky Quinn

Boys are like colts: their potential begins with their genes. Lineage is crucial. A foal by Peptoboonsmall out of a High Brow Cat daughter

A Propitiation for Sins

I knew what Mama wanted by the look on her face: apologetic and needy. She had cracked my bedroom door yet again, peering through the gap an

The Direction of Water

We had trudged nine miles up that mountain, panting, sweating, and leaning uphill postholing through snowdrifts for the final two hours. Ben

Clay Wright and the Art of the Aha

Is Clay Wright a horse clinician or a shaman? His students describe him this way: A “leader to the horses.” “Horses listen to him [and] peo

The High Note

Pilot Kristine Ciesinski stands next to the glider and gazes across the airfield at the dirt devils swirling in the distance. “Rising air,”

Aliens Among Us

The call came into the police department at midnight. Fanny Lou Murphy had seen a UFO land in her pasture. “What’s it look like, Ms. Murphy

The Horse Called Bird

Mine That Bird sprang out of the starting gate into the mud at the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Before the first turn, the gelding fell nine lengths

Turning the Page

Before I knew Judy Blunt the person, I knew her as a character on the page, a hardscrabble young ranch wife who broke away because she wante

Gator Bank

Another of Wayford’s redbones, the one missing half an ear, had vanished. He had heard Old Buster on the far side of the swamp, baying with

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