Goodbye to a "cowboy and a friend"

Dan Taylor, left, and Bill Rush sit on Chute 9 during second go round of slack calf roping at Frontier Park in this July 17, 2003 file photo. WTE/File

Friends paid tribute to Dan Taylor, longtime Chute 9 boss, who died last November.

CHEYENNE — Dan Taylor cared a lot about Cheyenne Frontier Days.

"I don't know of anyone who has been or will probably ever be a better advocate of Cheyenne Frontier Days than Dan Taylor was," Shirley Churchill said Saturday.

Churchill and other friends of Taylor gathered Saturday to salute the man they call the cowboy's cowboy.

Taylor, 87, died Nov. 3, 2010, in his hometown of Doole, Texas.

He served as boss of Chute 9 at CFD for 49 years. Chute 9 is home for the timed rodeo events. He made sure the right cowboy got the right animal.

Stock contractor Harry Vold spoke of Taylor's high regard for CFD.

"Dan Taylor lived and breathed Cheyenne Frontier Days," Vold said. "If ever there was a person who dedicated his life to Chute Number 9 at Cheyenne it was Dan Taylor.

"He loved this place. He called it home. He felt he was part of the family."

Taylor was involved in CFD for 64 years as a contestant, judge and chute boss.

Those who spoke talked about memories of their friend. Many choked back tears, while others continued speaking while wiping tears from their eyes.

Some of their stories drew quiet, appreciative laughter from the crowd in addition to tears.

The salute included a Power Point presentation with photos of Taylor.

Churchill said Taylor was a cowboy and a friend. "To me, those two words go together," she said.

She liked his plainspoken ways. "When he spoke, it was how he felt and it was how he was. I always knew where I stood with Dan, and I appreciated that," she said.

It took guts to run Chute 9, she said. "He could make a decision without worrying what someone else thought. Dan was a phenomenon to run Chute 9 because his reputation was never for sale."

Craig Haythorn was a young boy when he met Taylor about 55 years ago. His father and grandfather knew Taylor well.

Haythorn said that Taylor was a great horseman and calf roper.

Information provided at the salute noted that Taylor joined the Cowboy Turtles Association in 1941, which was the predecessor of the future Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

In 1950, Taylor placed third in the world calf roping standings.

Jim Mueller of Cheyenne said Taylor strongly supported the Toes during CFD. The Toes are young people who volunteer to move stock to Chute 9.

"He'd work with those kids. He'd never get crabby with them," Mueller said.

Tom Hines, who coordinated Saturday's event, volunteers with CFD. He experienced "Taylor time" many years ago.

Taylor told him to meet at the arena by 6 a.m. the next day.

Hines showed up on time, but Taylor and another man were already at work. Taylor time was always faster than real time, Hines said.

E.O. Davis of Cheyenne met Taylor in 1967 when Davis served as contestants' chairman.

Taylor stayed with Davis and his wife while he was in Cheyenne. One day, Taylor asked Mrs. Davis whether she had a metal dishpan.

"He used it to magnify the sound of the biggest damned alarm clock you could possibly imagine," he said.

The Big Ben-style clock came complete with large alarm bells on the sides.

"When he got that thing hooked up, at 4 (a.m.), he never overslept," Davis said of the noisy alarm.

Then, Davis stopped for a moment before he spoke again. "I'm like you people," he said. "I miss him."

comments powered by Disqus