Sunday, January 24, 2010

So Long, Spud!

Spud Cremer took his last ride with his beloved team and wagon on Sunday, January 24, 2010 when he was laid to rest at the Big Timber Mountainview Cemetery. Spud’s life cannot be summed up in a few lines, but the following is Susan Metcalf’s tribute to one of the last true cowboys.

So Long, Spud!

Born in the shadow of the Crazy Mountains in 1929, the sixth child of eight.

Patrick Thomas Cremer was better known as Spud, son of Cornelius and Kate.

He rode for the Spear-O, the Antler Ranch, and the Padlock,

For cowboying had been his calling since the day he could walk.

Spud liked good looking cowy horses and longhorn cattle.

He counted it a good day if he spent most of it in the saddle.

He was quick to befriend young and old, rich and poor—

Folks felt welcome to hang their hats beside Spud’s door.

He inspected cattle, spent 14 years sheriffing, and owned the Cort Bar.

He never lacked for life experiences in his travels near and far.

The twinkle in his eye betrayed the fact that a saint he ain’t,

But the work had to be done before the town he would paint.

Spud loved to share a Whiskey Sage and spin a tale or two;

Though they sounded stretched a might, they were mostly true.

He never bragged on himself, because he didn’t have to.

He was a top hand as true as the fancy loops that he threw.

At 80 years of age, his backhand loop was envied in the branding pen.

In the remuda, we would watch Spud throw the hoolihan once again!

Spud was a living legend who never backed down from man nor beast.

He was pound for pound fearless—bulletproof and ten feet tall at least.

Spud has loped the long circle, and back to the roundup wagon he went.

We are thankful for the memories and the good times with him we spent.

He rides where the grass is belly deep and there’s no such thing as dust or mud.

One day the Chute Boss will call our name, and we will ride again with Spud!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This tribute was written by Susan Metcalf of the Lower Deer Creek Ranch and published in her column “Cooking for the West” which appears weekly in the Western Ag Reporter (formerly Agri-news) reporting agriculture news in Montana, Wyoming, the western Dakotas, and Nebraska. Susan wrote:

The era of the true punchers is passing, and we lost another one January 12, 2010, when Spud (Patrick Thomas) Cremer left us. I had heard of the legendary Spud Cremer long before I met him in June of 1985 when he and my father were among the featured teamsters in a documentary called "The Last Ride" filmed on the Vassau Ranch out of Forsyth. I was pregnant with Brooke at the time, and although as one of the wagon bosses, Spud had a million details to oversee, he kept a vigilant check on my welfare throughout the wagon trip. I was impressed by his genuine concern for all of us as well as his adept skills with teams and saddle horses and his rope.

Shortly after that, Spud moved home to Big Timber from Garfield County where he had spent 14 years as the sheriff. Though he was not a big man, he was afraid of no rank horse nor ornery bovine critter. He threw fancy loops--not to showcase his skills but to get the job done.

As I got to know Spud, I understood why he had become a well respected cowboy icon. Spud was always there to help anyone who asked, and he was a top hand.