I long suspected that my mother was an outlaw. She goes by Josie sometimes; “Jo” to others. It shoulda been no surprise that even when we walked into the Cross-eyed Gun Fight at the Old West Festival, the sheriff sought her out with a warrant for her arrest in his hand. The charge? Wearing one earring instead’a two. Her son-in-law got thanks for turning her in. And despite her pleas and excuses, they threw her in the county jail.
Okay, so we paid $5 to have her arrested. But She didn’t see it coming and we had a lot of fun. We followed up those antics with a medicine show and a covered wagon ride (which was a Little House on the Prairie dream-come-true for me).
Then we had some root beers and vanilla cream sodas to wash down our rattlesnake chili before we headed into the Long Branch Saloon to see Rider Kiesner in action.
Story has is that Kiesner got a Will Rogers trick-rope kit for Christmas when he was 9-years-old. He practiced and practiced and began performing at age eleven. Now 20, he’s a three-time WWPAS (Wild West Performing Arts Society) World Champion trick roper. He got up on the saloon stage and twirled ropes and cracked whips and started spinning guns like nobody’s business. He even cajoled a few audience members into getting on stage with him. He cracked two bullwhips around a nervous young teen-aged girl while he was blindfolded. She was visibly shaken when she got off stage, but it didn’t stop Kiesner from slicing the head off a flower sticking out of a saloon girl’s mouth moments later.
It was a wonderful show. We couldn’t get over Kiesner’s talent. Eventually we caught up with him outside and he even roped our daughter into a picture.
After that, we got outta Dodge before my mother could commit any more crimes. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure that even if the sheriff couldn’t catch her, Kiesner’s lasso could.
Any Wild West fans out there? What would you want to see at an Old West Festival?