There’s a lot to be said for tradition. Things we remember, things that bring us together can add meaning to our lives. Maddenfest in Brentwood is one of those good traditions. Even months after the festival, people talk about the experience. One of the people truly touched by the tradition of this year’s parade was Maureen Wheat. The thing that moved her to tears was a group of exquisite horses ridden by extraordinary men-Silver Spurs.
Silver Spurs horsemen are an amazing group who exemplify the characteristics of the cowboy way. Each man is an individual, yet they share a single purpose, a spirit of excellence and camaraderie visible to even the casual observer. These gentlemen are kind and proud. They are skilled and modest. They treat their horses and their “fans” with respect and patience.
For the Maddenfest Parade, eight cowboys came to ride. It was obvious from the first man out of the first truck that these gentlemen had it together. Tall, dark and handsome, dressed in embroidered denim shirts, hats and boots with horses decked in rodeo show gear, they got plenty of attention. As they made their way down the parade route, children and adults from as much as a block up the road were shouting for the horses…”look, here come the horses and cowboys, real cowboys!”
Let’ introduce you to the Tennessee Walker riding Silver Spurs cowboys:
Robert Hamilton is the point man for wrangling the riders for parades and such. He is a big man with a big friendly smile. He has been riding over 15 years. He loves horses. He loves sharing his horse experience with others. He rides a beautiful Appaloosa.
Louis Brown has only been riding for two years, but he is no novice. He rides with an air of direction that makes both horse and rider look good.
Jackie Robinson is a quiet man. He has a twinkle in his eyes, as he tends to his horse Gypsy, that says the two may seem all business, but it would be a different story among just friends.
Charles Wright has been riding for over 15 years also. He takes his time with a horse. They know each other. You can see the trust between this team.
Gerald Williams has been riding horses for 30 years. He is a retired fireman who still serves others. The “Guys” say Gerald is always there when you need him. He has a beautiful “Walker”. He said it was easy to like their even gait. It delivers a good ride.
Henry Callicott got his first horse in 1973. He says he has been through 5 horses to get to the perfect one. Shamrock is the perfect horse for him. After 39 years of riding, you know a perfect horse when you see it!
Frank Gardner has been a horseman all his life. Walk-On Ranch in St. Louis County is a place where gentlemen riders on Tennessee Walkers can introduce young people to a different lifestyle. It is a place where the cowboy way is the right way for life. Amid the suburban sprawl, it is an island of sanity. A wise philosopher once said, “there’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.” Many a man or woman could use a lesson or two on life from Frank.
Lloyd White has been riding for 15 years. He is a family man and a showman. His family has horse people too. He speaks proudly of his daughter who shows their horses. He is happy to share his horse knowledge or an up –close horse opportunity with the people at the end of the parade route.
Well, all the gentlemen allow children and adults to pet and nuzzle the horses.
So it was with Maureen Wheat. She was from Brentwood. She cried as she said things had been very rough lately. But the horses changed her outlook. As she nuzzled Mr. White’s beautiful horse, she thanked the cowboys over and over. Seeing them had spurred on a catharsis, she felt it brought her life full circle.
They bring a smile to children’s faces. They excite the wild imagination of adults. They cause many to stand enrapt in the beauty of the moment. There really is something about the outside of a horse…especially when they are shared by the genuine cowboys we have come to know as the Silver Spurs riders.