Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs If you’ve always wanted to be a cowgirl, but your parents never bought you a pony, you really ought to stop by the Lockharts’ combination yard and Western collectibles sale at Eleventh and Yampa streets this weekend. Cookie and Jo have some surprises in store for you.
No, they aren’t selling ponies. But cowgirl and cowboy wannabes can shop for genuine used Western belts and silver rodeo trophy belt buckles. All of them have a story to tell.
Can anyone tell me where the Rodeo Bible Camp was held in 1979? I’m imagining Enid, Okla. That was the year Kalene Joss was named runner-up in the all-around cowgirl competition.
I know this because Kalene’s silver belt buckle is among a dozen or more in a box that will be for sale at the Lockharts’ this weekend. What I don’t know is who Kalene is and what takes place at a Rodeo Bible Camp. What I know for certain is that there is a story all wrapped up in that belt buckle.
If your name happens to be Mary Lou, Jo Lockhart has a box full of gently used Western belts, two with the name “Mary Lou” on the back. Another handsome belt labeled “Linda” was made by Silver King, a sign that the metal letters on the back actually are silver.
Hundreds of pieces of Western memorabilia with stories to tell are on display at the Lockharts’ this weekend. You’ll find them in the small pole barn attached to the circa-1932 house that Cookie’s father, Si Lockhart, built near the Yampa River in downtown Steamboat.
Si was a longtime auctioneer with an eye for horseflesh and a gift for gab. His daughter and granddaughter followed in his auctioneering footsteps.
“My grandpa came to Steamboat from Kansas in a covered wagon when he was 6,” Jo said. “When he was 18, he worked in a logging camp at Encampment (Wyoming) and drove a team of horses that dragged the logs.”
The heavy horse-drawn wagon that Si used to drive in the Fourth of July parade in Steamboat still sits in the yard where today’s sale begins at 10 a.m. You also can get a close look at his favorite one-horse sleigh, though I don’t think Cookie will part with it.
The Lockharts used to maintain a clutch of tourist cabins on the opposite side of 11th Street where visiting anglers congregated. They based horseback rides at the pole barn for four decades from the 1930s to the 1960s. That meant rounding up a string of 16 to 20 horses every morning from a pasture close to the present U.S. Highway 40 interchange at Mount Werner Road. How I wish I could photograph those daily horse roundups with a modern digital camera.
“I feel like Steamboat was 100 years behind the times,” Jo said. “People were watching Roy Rogers (on television), and we were bringing cattle in with horses.”
Speaking of Roy Rogers, there are not one, but two Roy Rogers children’s guitars available at this weekend’s sale. One still is in its display box. Don’t let me mislead you, these aren’t high-quality musical instruments, but they do have stories to tell. You also can shop for tin lunch boxes featuring images of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger, as well as the Lone Ranger.
The list of treasures in this weekend’s sale appeared endless when I visited Si Lockhart’s old house Friday.
There is a steamer trunk dating to the 1850s that would make a fine coffee table. When you lift the lid, a haunting print of a glamorous woman is revealed.
If you like Western kitsch, how about making an offer on the matching table lamps with bases fashioned of stirrups? There are rows of vintage cowboy boots, well-used hats and boxes of collectible books about the West.
My eyes bugged out at a pair of big, hairy full gauntlet gloves made out of bear hide. The bear’s fur still was attached to the fingers of the gloves! Jo also has a bear rug made from an animal shot by Kremmling rancher Rose Cox up on Muddy Creek somewhere. If I were a fiction writer, I could base a chapter in a book around pioneer rancher Rose Cox, who shot a bear in the winter of 1902 and then used her sewing skills to make a pair of gloves out of the animal’s hide.
If you’re a fan of old-school country-Western music, check out the advertising poster for a concert by Eddy Arnold. Arnold was an established star when he played in the high school auditorium in Bell, Fla., on May 31, 1945. Sounds like another novel to me.
I’d love to tell you about more of the Lockharts’ collection of memorabilia, but the city editor is telling me to shut it down, so you’ll just have to find your way to 11th and Yampa this weekend.
Don’t bring more cash than you’re willing to part with.