Big Al's View Of The World
COWBOY SPORTS NEWS MAGAZINE APRIL 2017
Harry Vold passed away this past month at the grand ol’ age of 93. I never met the man but his reputation preceded him in everything he did. Can you imagine the things that he had seen over his lifetime in the rodeo world. I saw him once at the Odessa rodeo many, many years ago and I could have sworn it was Elvis. When I saw him I couldn’t believe my eyes that he was there in front of me. I get a little star struck sometimes but only because I’m a history buff and to me Harry Vold was “rodeo history” in all its glory.
His love for his animals is well documented. He had numerous bulls and horses buried on his ranch. Many tv shows have visited his ranch and the bucking stock graveyard that was home to some of the world’s greatest rodeo animals. Every time I watched an episode with him and his passed animals you could see the sincerity in his tone. I loved it when they would sit down at the table in the house and interview him. The walls and tables were full of everything rodeo. From buckles to banners to bronc halters and awards.
The people he had met, the horses and bulls he had seen, the places he had been and the things he had done would be enough to fill a book and movie and many sequels after. The generations of rodeo families that grew up going to his rodeos and the champions he had seen come up through the ranks must have been immense. From the days of Harry Tompkins and Jim Shoulders to Phil Lyne and Larry Mahan all the way up to Trevor Brazile his eyes had seen them all at one time or another. I bet he took great pride in knowing he had helped make many of these champions what they were.
To live 93 years and then to pass away in your sleep should be everyone’s ideal way to leave this place. To be called the “Duke of the Chutes” you had to be more than a legend in your own time. You had to be Harry Vold.
I’m sure everyone knows the story by now. Eddie Rabbit had a little cold one night and he was supposed to play this little dive in Houston called the rodeo. He called in sick and they couldn’t find anyone to fill in so they called this young guy with a catchy band name from San Marcos. He just happened to not be doing anything so he said “what does it pay?” They said “a little bit” so he said, “sure, we’ll come play.” The rest is history. Eddie Rabbit faded off into 80’s memorabilia shows and George Strait went on to have more number one hits than Elvis.
I was way too young to have witnessed that night first hand so when the opportunity showed itself this year I wasn’t about to miss history being made. Some band that I had never even heard of was going to have to miss the rodeo because of a death in the family. On speed dial was this kid from Huntsville. Let’s hope the rest is history. I’m really not a big fan of having to drive into the big city but I figured when I was old I could tell my grand kids that I remember the night Cody Johnson got the call to play the “rodeo” in Houston. It was a great show and I’m sure they’ll have him back again next year. I’m pretty sure George will tell him to “hang in there kid, it’s going to get better now.”
In true “King of Country” fashion he had to ride out of the concert on a horse. I guess for an old bull rider he didn’t do to bad. The only thing I thought he needed to work on was his hat throwing skills. He might want to hang out with Cody Ohl for a few NFR rounds to perfect that skill. When he fired off his Black Gold it didn’t quite make it to the fence. I’m going to assume the spotlight was in his eyes and he couldn’t guess the distance to the fence on a fast running horse.
Never thrown my hat,
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