Cookie Lockhart: Fourth of July magic | SteamboatToday.com

Cookie Lockhart: Fourth of July magic

Ahhh, the magic of Fourth of July.

To some it is barbecues, picnics, family get togethers, whatever they do best.    

Fireworks, ball games and though most off work, very little rest.

Flags flying in the air,

Red, white and blue everywhere.

No matter your name or game,

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Like Christmas, there is magic in the name.

Respect, dedication, honor we see much,

Independence Day deserves treated as such.

Commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, the opportunity to do better is what freedom means.

Fabulous displays of fireworks from the Washington Monument to Miami to New York and across the nation

You already know all of this, so back to my own world.

Rodeo is big across our land, with respect for our special day, where our hats are taken off, hand on heart to hear our national anthem play.

I used to think maybe I was jinxed on the Fourth of July as it seemed every year something happened, almost drastically.

When I was about 8 years old, I entered the Fourth of July pony race for those 12 and younger. I was on Thunder, a feisty brown and white pinto Welch pony, and I was on my way headed fast down Yampa Street, across the bridge for the rodeo grounds, and I nearly knocked a guy down as I run through a gate. He turned out to be Jim Thompson, a member of an old native Routt County ranch family.

Jim had just returned from the service. He yelled, "Hey, little girl, where are you from anyway?" 

Galloping fast ahead of him now as I was headed for the starting gate, I turned backward on my horse and said, "Fella, if you don't know who I am, you haven't been in this county very long."

I made it just in time for the race, and that year I won. 

After the rodeo, I headed back to the saddle livery as we were very busy that time of year with no time to dilly dally. The cars were coming out in bunches, traffic was thick. Thunder was still excited and knew we needed to get back home so we were on the east side needing to head down Yampa.

Cars were not stopping to let us or any rider through so Thunder proceeded to try to jump across a car hood just as we got across the bridge. I'm not sure what happened next, but the cops must have picked me up off the street and took me home where Thunder already had arrived waiting.

Another time, when I was about 11, on July 2, I was headed east on Lincoln Avenue right across from the courthouse, rising Smokey, who was named for his color. A few feet in front of me, a car went by and threw what I thought was a cigarette out the window, which was fairly common in those days before "No litter was in effect."

As I got smack on top of that so-called cigarette, bang!, the cigarette turned out to be a firecracker.

The last thing I remember was Smokey jumped about 5 feet in the air. Yep, I lit on the pavement on my head, knocked unconscious.

Yep, the cops took me home again. I have no idea why they always took me home as there was a hospital, guess they didn't think my injuries were serious enough to be treated.

That incident was followed by our usual participation in the parade on the Fourth of July where she had me rigged up on one pony leading another she had tied a huge doll on. As I've said before, my mother was the first real marketing person in Steamboat, sending me up and down gathering customers to rent out horses.

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.

This land is our land. I love my freedom, I love America and I love the Fourth of July. Got to go now and get ready for the parade. Where's my helmet?

Cookie Lockhart

Steamboat Springs