Left photo: Both Cliffie and Montie Montana are dressed-to-the-tees as they sit in their limousine on their way to the 1992 Golden Boots Award Show in Beverly Hills, CA; Montie received a “Golden Boots Award” that night. Montie’s wife, Marilee, and I sat on the other side of the limo while I took this picture. Right photo: Montie performing and delighting the audience with his roping skills/tricks at Cliffie’s “Hometown Jamboree Today” show that he produced and emceed for the Santa Clarita community at Newhall Park each year. Marilee and Montie lived on their ranch in Aqua Dulce, which was twelve miles from our ranch. They knew each other for decades; in later years, Montie would perform his rope trick act in many of Cliffie’s shows. In Cliffie’s talent show book, he wrote about the importance of performers’ ‘dressing the part’ whenever they entertained, and here are excerpts about Montie: “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with many Western cowboy (and cowgirl) icons such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Montie Montana (world famous trick roper). Whenever any of them appeared in motion pictures, rodeos or any other public venues/events, they proudly dressed-to-the-hilt in Western attire, and so did their horses with their fancy silver saddles! I’ve known Montie since I was in my teens, and if anyone was born a cowboy, it was Montie Montana! Joan Carol and I have attended numerous Western functions with him and his lovely wife, Marilee. Whenever he was performing with his lariat on stage or horseback, he always dressed the part with class and style. Because of his stylish Western dress code, he gave the world a wonderful image of the American cowboy when he roped President Eisenhower during the 1953 Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. which was in every newspaper worldwide. This image prevailed for decades because millions of viewers would also see him perform his rope tricks on his horse in the annual Pasadena ‘Rose Bowl Parade,’ which he did for over sixty years. One of the most memorable ‘Hometown Jamboree Today’ concerts that Montie and I ever did together was on July 24, 1997 at the Ramona Bowl, which is an outdoor Western-style amphitheater that’s nestled at the foot of the mountains overlooking Hemet, CA. My other guest stars were Molly Bee and the Riders of the Purple Sage. Talk about a cast of well-dressed Western folks – we were it! An old pro like Montie knows how to get the audience’s attention with his trick roping and witty cowboy sense of humor. However, his three-year old grandson, Jason (who was dressed exactly like him in boots, hat and a fancy red cowboy shirt) stole the show when he came out on stage with his mother, Trudy Johnston, to do a few rope tricks! It was quite a visual sight and a showstopper!” A brief background: On June 21, 1910, Owen Harlen Mickel (aka Montie Montana) was born in Wolf Point, Montana. To quote Montie, “A rope was in my hand all the time - at home, at school, everywhere. I roped anything that moved - chickens, dogs, cats and kids.” Early on, he learned to respect and love horses as well as how to train them. When Montie was fifteen years old, he became a professional cowboy when he rode his horse, Rex, into an arena and performed his rope tricks in Miles City, Montana. Undoubtedly, Montie was a horse whisperer because down through the years, he would personally train his special show horses - all of whom he named Rex. They were a big part of his act and he trained them to do numerous tricks such as rearing up and/or bending down to take a bow. Above all, his show horse had to become accustomed to his array of twirling lariat tricks, especially when Montie stood up on his horse’s back. He became a rodeo trick rider, stuntman, actor and a true cowboy in every sense of the word. For years on end, Montie performed in rodeo circuits throughout the United States and Canada. When Montie wasn’t touring the rodeo circuits, he would travel around the Los Angeles district’s grade schools, and put on a trick roping exhibition, which was sponsored by ‘Webers Bread.” His act included lassoing a number of kids in the audience, which always delighted them. As he was doing his rope tricks, he’d interweave stories about the early West and its cowboy values. It was a wonderful and memorable experience for these youngsters, which obviously helped to shape their own character values. At the 1953 Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C., he roped President Eisenhower (he had gotten permission to do so) and that photo was in every newspaper worldwide. Over sixty times, Montie and his pinto horse, Rex, participated in the annual ‘Tournament of Roses’ parade held in Pasadena, CA, which was and continues to be televised worldwide. As an actor, he’s played the role of a cowboy in countless movies, which are too numerous to mention; however, they include a number of John Wayne movies which includes the 1962 classic, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.” The numerous TV shows that Montie has appeared on include ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘The Rifleman.’ He was also the technical director for a Warner Brothers’ movie called ‘The Will Rogers Story,’ who was a famous cowboy humorist. It was Montie who performed the fanciest horse rope catches in the film, but you never saw his face because the scenes ended up with Montie’s back to the camera, which were immediately followed by a close up of Will Rogers Jr. As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and there are numerous historical celebrity photos in Montie’s autobiographical book entitled “Montie Montana (Not Without My Horse)” which is available on various websites such as Amazon.com. (The testimonial that President Ronald Reagan gave for Montie’s book: “You have the skill and independent spirit that embody the Western tradition that we love!” As Roy Rogers wrote: “Montie’s love of the West will inspire you!”) This book lists all the awards he’s received down through the years which include: the “Rodeo Hall of Fame,” 1989 (sponsored by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum); the “Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame,” 1994; the “Golden Boot” Award, 1992; the “Newhall Walk of Western Stars,” 1992; and in California - the “Golden Palm Star” on the “Palm Springs Walk of Stars,” 1996. This book also lists the movies and TV shows that he’s appeared on. Montie gave such a unique cowboy testimonial for Cliffie’s talent show book: “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket! My brand of entertainment is trick roping and riding. Every new artist needs a stage and an audience. Mine was small town rodeos where, as a youngster, I stood on a platform and gave a rope spinning exhibition while learning to smile and be at ease in front of people.”…Montie Montana.