Roy Nevada (Blackie) Walter was a free spirit who lived life pretty much on his own terms and in his own way. He showed no hesitation when it came to trying new things or going into risky situations. There are many stories of his exploits and an ample number of witnesses to verify their accuracy. Having been born in 1893, he was in his prime in the early years of the twentieth century.
He grew up riding horses and his ability to stay on top of a bucking horse was legendary. In the days before rodeo associations and contest rules there were only a few unwritten rules for making a successful ride. About the only rule regarding style was that pulling leather was a no-no but there was no eight second limit. To be a qualified ride, the rider had to stay in the saddle until the horse quit bucking and a minute on top of a mean bucking horse would be similar to a minute in the ring with a heavyweight boxer. Men have been known to be bleeding from the nose and badly disoriented after staying on a bucking horse until it quit bucking.
In those days before formal rodeos bucking horse contests often developed at community picnics. These picnics were a popular social event, especially on holidays such as the 4th of July. Folks who had a horse with a reputation for bucking would bring it to the picnic and challenge anyone to ride it. Probably a hat would be passed to collect a small reward for anyone who could make a qualifying ride and side bets made too. It was at one of these picnics in 1936 that Blackie took the challenge. A makeshift arena was set up by making a circle with the vehicles that were there. The way it was usually done was to blindfold the horse and hold him by the ears while a saddle was put on and the rider got settled into it. Then the horse was turned loose and the rider was on his own until he was bucked off or made a qualified ride. On this occasion Blackie was making a good ride in the makeshift arena but the horse decided to expand the territory and sailed over the hood of one of the vehicles. Blackie stayed in the saddle and made a clean ride. It was a ride that was talked about for years afterward.
There was a time in the local town when someone had a horse that could readily dump most riders and Blackie was approached with a bet that he couldn’t ride it. Blackie maneuvered the bet to a higher amount and accepted the challenge. There was no arena or other confinement and the horse had wicked bucking ability as well as exceptional stamina. He took a brutal pounding on the back of that horse but he made a clean ride. He finished with his nose bleeding and badly shaken. After collecting the bet he got on his horse and rode home. It was eight miles to his home and it was told that, when he got there, he went to bed. I have no way of knowing if that is true but it is certainly to be expected.
As years went by, rodeos became regular and planned events with arenas and regulations. Like all new ideas, there was a learning process where improvements to facilities and regulations developed slowly. Rules were perhaps just a little lax at our local rodeos and enforced even less. Many spectators would sit on the arena fence and some would even stand along the inside of the fence where they could have a close-up view of the action. And get a generous helping of dust! There was a definite lack of equipment for watering down the arena so it was often very dry and dusty.
We are talking about the days when Blackie had eaten enough birthday cake to take the edge off his ability to ride bucking horses. He still had a keen interest in the sport and attended as many rodeos as he could. At the local rodeos he could always be found among those who were inside the arena eating dust. There was a day when a horse was trying so hard to get out from under the rider that it outdid itself and fell. The crash stirred up such a cloud of dust that the horse and rider couldn’t be seen. Everyone was watching intently to see if the rider was still on board when the horse came out of the cloud. When the horse broke out into view the man in the saddle was Blackie!
Year after year Blackie continued to appear inside the arena fence at every rodeo. Even after he was walking with a cane. There finally came a time when the officials decided it was too risky and told him he had to stay outside of the arena. It wasn’t long until they decided not to let any spectators inside the arena.
Then there was the time when Jack, George and Boss were at an auction sale, standing on the outer perimeter of the crowd. Blackie wandered around to where they were, carrying a bullwhip he had bought. He had stopped to visit with the other three men when an item came up for bid that Boss wanted. Boss tried several times to get the auctioneer’s attention but they were far enough to his side that he didn’t catch Boss’ signals. Blackie asked, “Do you want me to get his attention?” When Boss indicated that he did, Blackie shook out the bullwhip and deftly removed the auctioneer’s hat with it.
For one last story we go back through the years to Blackie’s younger days. He was staying at a cabin in the mountains where he was looking after the cattle that were grazing in the area. With no other people for miles, the isolation made boredom a constant companion. Blackie would sometimes, during a long summer evening, lie on the bed and shoot flies on the ceiling with his 22 pistol. As long as the cabin stood it displayed the evidence for everyone to see.

Roy Nevada (Blackie) Walter

Roy Nevada (Blackie) Walter

About authorjim

I grew up in the country near a small Montana town, I have spent a lot of time in the outdoors, working, fishing, hunting and camping but have always been interested in mechanical and electrical things. Most of my life has been spent in the use, care and repair of things mechanical, electrical an electronic. After being retired for several years, I began writing and published my first novel at the age of 79. Now, at the age of 82, I have recently published my fourth noveland it is available from me or from the pulisher or book distributor.
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  1. gpcox says:

    Planning on posting here again, Jim? Or are you busy writing another fantastic edition?


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