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My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Updated: May 5, 2021

I’ve been sitting on this one, because to be honest, I’ve been scared to death to write it. I knew this was going to hit close to home. I’ve always admired and respected this man and I’ve been afraid of not doing this piece justice….

I had been noticing for a while old structures that resembled small “out houses” or the back of old milk trucks that seemed to be strategically placed throughout and deep within the canyon. When I asked Woodrow, “why there were Out Houses” in some places, he laughed and replied “Nikolyn those are “Cake Houses, if you want to know about “Cake Houses”, there is one person you need to go talk to….

Daddy Doug

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys……

“People used to ask me all the time, aren’t you afraid, out there all alone?’ When Doug Forbes aka known affectionately as “Daddy Doug” said this it stopped me from taking notes. I put my pen down and quit writing dead in my tracks. I knew what he meant when he tried to answer that question. I get asked that all the time myself. I’m not sure there are words to fit the unequivocal “NO” of an answer you give. “I’ve seen things, he paused, as the gateway opened up in his mind, and through that faraway look in his eyes, I could see he’d entered “that realm”, a realm I visit often myself. Once you’ve spent time out there alone on the river bed or canyon trail. There is no mistaking that look of shear peace, the oneness you experience with everything around you, the wind, the sky, the sun, the grass, the images of the “canyon walls changing colors” as “Daddy Doug” described it, and painted a portrait of words that described a Bald Eagle that flew directly over his head. A spectacular image that will forever be etched in his mind and on his heart, and now mine. When I looked up in that moment I could see it as plain as day, he was there, in that canyon, on the river, on a beautiful, perfect day, riding a young colt that would soon become a great Ranch horse. I can’t begin to tell you and I certainly will not be able to portray the amazing adventure he took on that day, in just one newspaper article.

Trained by none other than Tom Blasingame. A man he loved and admired. Doug passed on some words of wisdom directly from Blasingame, “There is a right and wrong time to do something” If you ride into a pasture, and you can tell the cattle may be a little flighy that day. You need to just ride on there will be another day” “ Tom taught me that” said Forbes.

In 1965 literally the year I was born, Forbes lived on Turkey Creek, Blassingame lived on Camel Creek. They had a string of young colts, which had 6 or 8 saddles on them. Every November they’d start riding these young colts. From what I understand they each had about 24 sections with 10 cake houses strategically placed. Forbes could feed half one day a horseback and half the next. In these cake houses they stored 100 and or 50 pound sacks of cake, along with some salt. They literally broke these colts on the job. “There are no good ranch horses anymore, not like there used to be.” “We’d start in November, time winter was over, come spring they weren’t broncs anymore. “They were ranch horses you could do anything on them, well the ones that had brains anyway.” “Plus back then we was being real Cowboys, and riding the horses saved fuel” laughed “Daddy Doug”. “Cattle got gentle, it was way quicker, I could feed faster horseback than I ever could in the pickup, because I didn’t have to stay on the roads.” Those Trip Hop Cake Feeders, in Doug’s opinion were the ruination the Ranch Horse.” Forbes explained back then cattle were territorial in nature they stayed in groups of 25-30. They could hear, Forbes and his horse coming and would follow that horse just like they follow the modern day “Cake Feeder Pickup Trucks.

Forbes explained they were not supposed to roping off these young broncs, however if ya’ll know “Daddy Doug”, well like all true Cowboys, he can be a little ornery. He told me about a one time it had rained up on top and he and Jerry Stevens and Hump Davis who bachelors at the time and lived at Dinner Creek, were throwing cattle down the cattle down the south side of the Tule Creek. Four little ol calves wouldn’t cross.” The Boss man yelled,” rope em if you can.” They looked at each other, because they all had been tracking and roping off these young broncs. Forbes thought, if we can?! He just knew they were about to get their butts chewed. Because, his horse laid his ears back and tracked that calf like a world class calf roping horse. As did Humps and Jerry’s. Forbes said the boss man, said “I didn’t know if yall could get them caught off those young broncs?” Forbes and Hump, kind of made out like “Oh that calf just jumped in front of my rope.” Jerry however, excited and as proud as he could said, “Man my horse just tracked that calf and I laid in there and caught him!!!! Forbes said, laughing, Jerry told the truth.

Writing this has been one the more meaningful experiences of my life, I will never pass another “Cake House”, and not think of the afternoon I spent with Doug and Elaine Forbes. It was truly….well there are no words.

Love Always,


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