Above: A young cowboy keeps an eye on the rodeo action during the 2013 Truth or Consequences Fiesta. This year’s event is May 5–7, with a parade, live music, and the Sierra County Sheriff’s Posse Rough Stock Rodeo.
It was inevitable that I should go through a cowboy phase. Several of the boys I knew in the community had pretty good riding equipment and horses, and two or three of them actually did part-time work on the numerous ranches around Cloudcroft and down on the foothills and plains. They had silver-mounted bridles and Justin boots and Stetson hats and leather chaps, all properly buffed and scarred by either hard riding through rough country or by assiduous scratching done at home with the point of a rusty nail-the object was to look like a working cowpuncher, not a guitar player from Hollywood. Even the boys who, like myself, were farmers’ sons during the week and only did their riding on holidays were able to get together fairly authentic outfits and reasonably good saddle horses. When Cloudcroft had its big annual summer rodeo, all the Mountain Park–High Rolls sons of toil were able to clatter up the mountain in a posse and cause the tourists, who watched the rodeo from shiny cars, to think that the whole countryside consisted of ranches and that there wasn’t such a plebian thing as a farm within 50 miles.