From the Archives, November 13, 2016

Cows in the Field!!

We’ve talked before about Boxwell’s farming operation (  But it shouldn’t be all that surprising to anyone that if you have a bunch of young men out at camp for nine weeks and cattle roaming around, hijinks are likely to ensue.  So, this week, a story.

In either 1965 or 1966 (it is hard to know which for sure), a group of Stahlman staff members hatched a plan.  As Charlie Ray Smith explained, “We went out one night and we decided, I don’t know why, it must been something about a rodeo or something, but we was going to ride part of the cows. We was going to ride a cow.”

So, plan in hand, this group of Stahlman staff, including Charlie Ray Smith, Jerry Barnett, and Mike Rice, headed down Tyree Access Road, but never even made it to the curve.  Over in what is today Percy Dempsey Camporee Area, down past the pig farm, past Akers Lake, on the right, there were cows (at least, according to Charlie Ray Smith!).  So, driving a 1955 Chevrolet, the group headed into the field.

According to Barnett, “It was a bunch of us… I wasn’t in the car.  It seems like I was sitting up on the hood, had a lasso, trying to lasso a damn little steer.” Smith continued, saying, “And we was driving down through there.  There was four or five of us standing on the hood, and in that big open field, and we was going to jump and bulldog us a cow and ride a cow.”

Smith later confirmed, “I’m glad we didn’t catch nothing,” but the mental image is still unmistakable. Of course, to be fair, there is some debate as to whether Barnett was actually on this expedition or on another similar cow riding attempt that took place on Explorer Island.  Nevertheless, riding cows was apparently the thing to do during Boxwell’s farming days!

“Cows in the Field”
Collection of Kerry Parker
Recorded Roundtable Conversation, February 19, 2000.
Participants: Kerry Parker, Russ Parham, Jerry Barnett, Charlie Ray Smith

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