H. Neal Glanville: Willing to ride, help pals
January 25, 2010
I'm still not sure which of the Manning brothers got the phone call from Sally, but that call was all it took.
The next morning, two pickups and a loaded four-up horse trailer left Cora, Wyo., headed south to Nevada.
I had no idea who Sally was and even less why it was so dang important to drive straight through Utah, the party state of America.
All that was certain in my mind — the Manning brothers had asked for help.
We didn't actually drive non-stop through Utah. "Mattress" had a friend in Grantsville, so we spent our first night there.
As we turned south on Highway 93, every conceivable thing the weak side of my brain could dream up regarding horses and some woman named Sally found its way in.
Most of the ideas were pretty dumb, but my imagination turned a couple into boring drive erasers.
Late that night, at a very small motel on the southeast side of town, I was introduced to Sally and the four of us walked over to see just how big her horse problem was.
There, in the middle of what appeared to be an unused portion of the fairgrounds, stood three oversized corrals plum full of ponies not in any mood to spend a quiet night together.
A couple of "green" pickups pulled onto the lot, so we started talking about space travel, muddy boots and headed for an old bar and restaurant in the old part of town.
There's something about the refuge found in a good old, stinky nasty saloon that makes you feel at home, and when I heard Sally's story, I was sure that's where I should have been headed.
Sally's problem was simple: find a way for those three corrals of ponies to casually find their way back to the south side of the Virgin River and a chance to become residents of Arizona, or be trucked further south for processing.
The problem was simple. The answer was a little more involved now that the "green trucks" and tree huggers thought something might be happening to spoil their twist on what Mother Nature should be doing with their wildlife.
"Buy you a drink Sally?" an old voice asked.
"Well sure, Boyd" she said without looking up. "My three young friends could use a glass of that shine you're hiding in the silverware drawer."
"No matter how long she's been gone, no matter where I hide it, she knows where it's at," he said.
As the old man stepped to his chair, his right hand shot out, "I'm Sally's friend, Boyd Pape."
His hand shook mine like it was meant to. He turned to the Manning boys, shook their hands and said "don't care which of you is called 'Mattress,' the waitress is my granddaughter."
"Yes, sir," one voice said.
"Well, boys," Mr. Pape said. "Sally and I are leaving for St. George when we finish our drinks, and you three are sending some of Sally's friends to their new home."
"You'll find your stock saddled and ready by the stock tank behind the motel," he continued. "If you swing behind the motel about a mile, you'll come up on the corrals. Mattress, you take the lead and keep the horses calm as long as you can."
"If there's any trouble, whistle and your brother and H. Neal will bring the rear up as fast as their ponies will go," Sally chimed in, as she got up.
"You'll find six mules loaded with salt and food alongside the road to Virgin Peak, head south to Bonelli Peak, dropping salt and counting stock. Work your way back up alongside the lake, and we'll meet you in Overton in five days."
"Night, boys" was all they said as they walked out through the front door.
Not much was said as we checked the cinches on our saddles, nor was anything whispered as we came upon the back side of the corrals.
As soon as Mattress opened the first gate, the horses started doing all the talking, and Keith and I opened the other two and the music of horse hooves filled the night air.
As we pushed the herd closer to the 190 bridge, headlights and horns started going off everywhere. Mattress had forgotten to tell us he couldn't whistle.
So in amongst them, we rode faster, then the fastest fast. A mile or so beyond the bridge, the vehicles quit following us. We let the horses slow to their own pace and they headed off into Arizona.
I'd like to take a bit of credit for the Mesquite horse raid, but I can only admit to a willing ride with friends that asked for my help.
Hey, you be careful out there.