Ruby’s Cowboys

A Lifelong Fascination

By Les Tanner

I never did know when or why my wife became interested in cowboys, but then I don’t recall ever asking her, either. The only horses she’d ever been around were two old plow horses her family had on the small Kansas farm where she’d grown up. Maybe she had known some real cowboys in Kansas. Maybe she’d met some after the family moved here to Idaho in the mid-1940s. Most likely, however, it came from watching movies or listening to the radio.

My first inkling of Ruby’s fascination with cowboys in general, and Roy Rogers in particular, came soon after we were married. She learned that Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were to be the star attractions at the state fair, and she didn’t let a day go by without reminding me about it, especially about Roy’s appearance there.

Being somewhat “fiscally conservative”—my term, not hers—I balked at first. I was still a college student, and money was tight. But if nothing else, Ruby could be persistent, and I finally caved.

I know whatever seats we had at the fair were so far away from Roy and Dale they were hard to see—somewhere in my hoard of old photos, there’s a shot of two very distant folks on horseback—but that didn’t make any difference. She’d seen her hero and it was good enough for her, at least for the time being.

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Les Tanner

About Les Tanner

Les Tanner is shown here with his late wife, Ruby, to whom he was married for more than sixty years, and who also was on the staff of IDAHO magazine. When Les, a retired teacher, isn’t working on the magazine's calendar, proofreading, fishing, writing, playing pickleball, or pulling weeds, he’s out looking for Jimmy the cat.

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