By Rod Miller, columnist
Rod Miller is a life-long Republican and Wyoming native. Born into a ranching family that has been in the Cowboy State since 1867. He ran against incumbent Liz Cheney in 2018.
The rumor around the ol’ campfire is that we’re fixin’ to get a visitor! Word has it that Oath Keepin’ Frank Eathorne, titular head of the Wyoming Republican Party, has announced that ex-president Donald Trump will grace the Cowboy State with his presence.
At some unspecified time. At some unspecified place.
Presumably this move, if it ever happens, will give Harriet Hageman, Trump’s annointed challenger to Liz Cheney, a chance to get a public pat on the head from her leader. That’s what Rawhide thinks. Rawhide is that unshaven, surly cowboy sitting at the edge of the campfire light…rough lookin’ but with a heart of gold.
Bo, a young reject from the Casper College rodeo team, is less sanguine. “Horseshit”, he says, “Trump already signed a proclamation replacing King Ropes hats with those weird little red ones. He’s just coming here to enforce it.”
Ol Grease, the chuckwagon cook, growls through his whiskers, “Bet y’all didn’t know that Trump’s a HUUUGE, and I mean bigly, CSU fan. He’s just gonna land at Fort Collins, drink beer at the Town Pump, and draw a big bulge on the map with a Sharpie that annexes Wyoming to Colorado.”
This made all the boys stop chewing for a moment.
Our crew doesn’t have many filters, and when Trump is the topic of discussion, things get emotional. I could see hackles rising and tense jaw muscles.
Casey, our buckaroo wonder who dresses like he was in Elko, spat out his coffee and exhorted us in that high, thin voice of his, “Listen you stupid sonsabitches, Trump built that wall to keep Mexican rustlers out AND he got Mexico to pay for it. Don’t forget history!”
This got Jake’s blood up, and chewed food spewed from his mouth as he shouted, “Trump won TWO elections, TWO impeachment votes, Super Bowl MVP and Trump Steaks rock! Winning, I tell you, WINNING!”
Peyote Pete, the bronc peeler from Buford, rose to his feet and preached, “Trump picks winners! Like Putin and that fat li’l North Korean dude. Jake’s right….winners!”
Our wrangler is little more analytical than the rest of the boys, and he opined, “Naw. Trump’s comin’ here to congratulate the Wyoming Legislature for passin’ a law outlawin’ crossover votin’. That was Trump’s centerpiece legislation, and he just wants to tell the Legislature that they done good.”
.My sharp elbow in his ribs shut him up before he could dig himself deeper.
The campfire burned down to a bed of glowing coals, and we all huddled closer to it. We grew pensive out there on the prairie at night, with that big upturned bowl of Wyoming stars looking down on us.
“I just had a thought’, said Duke, our trail boss and the wisest among us, “so hear me out. I’ve been watchin’ this fella Trump, studyin’ his moves. He don’t need to come to Wyoming. Hell, he don’t even need to leave Florida. All he has to do is tell folks that he did and they’ll believe him.”
Of all the dangers out here in the Big Empty….and I mean lightning, stampedes, rattlesnakes, prairie fire, Mexican rustlers, outlaws, you name it…nothing makes a bunch of tired old trail hands get quiet and crawl between their blankets quicker than unvarnished truth.
So, we all turned in as the campfire died out. Ready for another day on the trail and an important visitor. Or not.