Since You Asked

I was watching the inauguration on TV and the newspeople were discussing the security being so tight. George Stephanopoulos was telling a story about an inauguration parade in the 1950s when the president (Eisenhower, I think) was watching the parade from his viewing area close to the route. According to Stephanopoulos, there were some cowboys on horses in the parade and when they passed in front of the president, he stood up and one of the cowboys roped the president. This is the only time I have heard this story and if Stephanopoulos told it, it must be true.

My question is: What was the name of the cowboy? My guess is it was Montie Montana. Montana was a famous trick rider and trick and fancy roper in those days, and he rode and roped in many parades like the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena.

— K.C. Maddox, Ashland

Oh, K.C., you know your cowboys!

Indeed that was Montie Montana. The cowboy roping legend was born Owen Harlan Mickel in Wolf Creek, Mont., in 1910. He appeared in a number of John Wayne movies, including "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence."

He was a fixture on the rodeo circuit in the U.S. and Canada and also appeared in more than 60 annual Tournament of Roses parades in Pasadena, Calif., waving to the crowd from a silver saddle, according to his obituary in Variety on May 26, 1998.

Montana made headlines in 1953 when he roped President Eisenhower as a gag during the inaugural parade. He had asked the president's permission first, but Secret Service agents were not amused by the incident, Variety reported.

An Associated Press photo of the gag is available online, although the AP spells Montana's first name Monte, the spelling also used in a home video of the Eisenhower parade that's also available online.

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