This past week I saw an article about a cowboy who was recently inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. It was Bob Schall of Arlee, Mont.
In rodeo circles Bob has been a legend for several decades. I had the chance to meet him one time in Denver at the North American Rodeo Commission Finals.
We were producing rodeos at the time and I had hauled a semi-load of horses to the coliseum for different contractors in Montana and North Dakota.
One of our horses was a stud called Matador. He was bad. He was hard as rock and never made an honest jump in his life. He would bite at you, kick at you, or strike you if he had a chance. He would ding around in the chute, lean on your leg, and when they threw the gate he would duck and dive and was danged hard to ride.
Bob Schall drew Matador in the bareback riding. I didn’t know Bob, but had heard of this all-around cowboy from Arlee. Over the years, he had won dozens of saddles in every association that he competed in. In virtually every event.
As Bob was getting on, Matador started jacking around in the chute. Bob turned to me and asked if we should neck him. That is put a rope around Matador’s neck to keep him from flipping in the chute. Me, being about half full of beer said, “Nah, he just dings around like that. He never flips.”
As Schall started sticking his hand in the rigging, Matador reared up, slamming Schall into the back of the chute. At the same time Matador spun around in the chute. Schall slid to the bottom of the chute and Matador squealed and started striking him in the head. Before they could get the chute gate open Matador nailed him pretty good a couple of times.
The gate flew open and Matador made a proud lap around the arena. Schall had lost his hat and his balding head was leaking pretty badly. Blood was streaming down his face. They quickly brought Matador back around and stuck him in the last chute. Schall crawled up on the chute, blood streaming down his face, stuck a finger in my chest and said, “Neck this s.o.b. this time!” I swallowed hard and said “Yes Sir!”
Somebody stuck a hat on Schall’s head and they cracked the gate. Matador ducked and dived and Schall spurred him every jump. Never missed a lick. When the whistle blew, the whole coliseum heard Schall yell at the top of his voice, “Get me off this son-of-a-bitch!”
The pick-up men got him off and he ran for the timed event chute. He was the last bareback rider out and the first dogger in the next event. Won the bareback riding, and then with blood still streaming down his face, won the steer wrestling.
I thought he might want to visit with me, so I snuck out the back door. I tell you what, when they make a list of tough cowboys, Bob Schall heads the list.