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Atrocious salary sends shock waves through the pasture

(Gunnison 1890) Brackey Toate started working on his father’s tiny ranch near Parlin in 1878. Little did he know he would be a wealthy man in less than ten years. Today he signed a lucrative multi-year contract for what amounts to $95 per month.

The free agent jumped ship in Baldwin last September to try his luck in the burgeoning market. The expansion of ranch land has left the industry with a diluted wrangler pool and seriously short of cowboys familiar with the round-up. Some ranchers have turned to other countries for manpower while the larger ones simply tighten their belts and pay the higher wages.

“This is outrageous!” said one pot-bellied rancher from Quartz Creek. Wild Bill Hickock only makes $150! This kind of money sets a dangerous precedent! Who will pay for these kinds of salaries? It’s the consumer.”

Beef prices have skyrocketed over the past year partly due to the competition for cowboys.

“We have to compete,” said Crystal Alripe, matriarch of the Yellow Tail Ranch near White Pine. “The boys and I can’t run the place on our own so we have to hire seasonal help at least. The cost has become prohibitive. I remember when a cowhand was happy to get a dollar a day and board,” she quipped. “Now they’re looking for the big dollars! Where will it all end?”

Toate’s contract includes incentives, health benefits, horse expenses, a clothing allowance and his own bunkhouse entrance. In addition he gets first crack at the dinner table and holidays off.

“This marks a new day in agriculture,” said Alripe. “The next thing you know the cows will want a piece of the action.”

Besides his daily chores on the ranch, Toate will train to compete in the National Western Stock Show Rodeo which opens in Denver in January. Fiscal wizards say that his performance there will determine future bonuses.

“This scandalous salary is only the beginning,” explains banker Tom Watchitt of Gunplay Bank and Trust in Vulcan. “Besides the income Toate is looking at endorsements, perks from special interests and investment opportunities that would choke a bull. If he plays it right he could be quite wealthy and look forward to an early retirement.”

Already Toate has been groomed as a spokesman for Cheeky Chew, a popular brand of chewing tobacco and may be featured on advertisements for the Million Dollar Boot Company of Ironton. According to close friends he plans to buy a spread near Ohio City and raise Herefords.

“It’s a whole new world that we live in,” continued Alripe, “one where a simple cowpuncher can make his fortune overnight and where others don’t seem to grasp the value of a dollar.”

Toate is expected to report to spring training in February after completing a conditioning program here. If all goes well he will start against the Longhorns on Opening Day.

– Slim “Fats” McGovern




(Montrose) The Wal-Mart Corporation announced today that it will get tough with insubordinate, mutinous employees who do not live and breathe the company’s philosophy. Starting in 2019 a slew public of executions have been slated for the store’s massive parking lot, located south of here.

The move, called radical by even the staunchest of Wal-Mart supporters, will take on an experimental flare and may lead to the adoption of similar measures at other locales. Employees in jeopardy are said to be those who resist tried and true corporate brain washing techniques and flirt with heresy concerning the divine rights of the discount giant.

“We don’t expect management personnel to be affected by these developments,” said a regional executive who once washed Sam Walton’s feet during a trip to South Korea in 1985. “The people are simply not team players.”

Others in line for the end include persons who hesitated when instructed to give part of their meager wages to charity.

“We love those pictures in the local papers where our employees make donations to good causes,” said the executive. “It makes us look good without costing us any money. I for one can’ believe people are so quick to buy this crap but that’s what makes this country what it is.”

The concept of public executions emerged with the proposed Wal-Mart Super Store, slated for construction next to the massive Mormon Church south of town. Company heads are concerned that negative publicity as to the construction will prevent the mass retailer from securing 100% of the trade in the region.

“We don’t want a fair market share,” smiled the executive. “We want it all. We want to turn the traditional downtown into a slum and ship all the profits out of town and our customers are helping us do just that. It’s really quite simple.”

Many residents of the area do not comprehend the damage done to a community when leeches like Wal-Mart latch on. Some even defend the noxious corporation since it creates jobs and convenience. They do not address the cost of to the quality of life and the impact on the social structure here.

The first executions, scheduled for dawn on January 15, will skirt the jurisdiction of several law enforcement agencies since they will be held on private property. Condemned persons will have their choice of firing squad, lethal injection or guillotine. Family members will be admitted free and commemorative photographs of the event will be available (at 20% off with charge card) in the store’s camera department. Accrued retirement benefits will revert back to the corporation’s stockholders at the time of passing. Everyone is invited!

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

– H.L. Menoken

Winker Convention in Town Next Week

(Sawpit) Over 2000 members of the International Brotherhood of Winkers will be arriving in Telluride Monday for a four-day stay. The Winkers, who have perfected over 350 types of distinct winking/eye gymnastics, are expected to have an extreme impact on sales of sunglasses and eye-drops here. Residents are reminded that this group spends quite freely and asked not to take their curious behavior seriously.

While in the region many leading Winker officials will conduct experiments as to the affects of bright light and premature darkness linked to the continued application of Daily Shavings Time. Local resident are encouraged to participate in a host of festivities sponsored by the group. All are free with the exception of the daily alcohol-fueled symposium held in Elks Park.


(Poncha Springs) After a month-long postal investigation it appears that Melvin Toole’s newly acquired store teeth may be cooling their gums over in Salida. He can’t eat anything but baby food. He’s losing weight. He’s upset.

On Thursday, August 6 Toole mailed his new false teeth from his Cranor Hill address to a dental office on Slaughterhouse Road for cleaning. Toole was not aware that all mail sent in town in Gunnison travels to Salida first. The teeth never made it.

“In all fairness to the postal service, this is a rare foul up,” said Karma Stampe, a third class administrative assistant from Denver. “We just don’t lose mail.”

Whether the chompers are in Salida or somewhere in between is still not clear. Toole admits that he did not include a return address or buy insurance on the teeth.

“They were only traveling across town, or so I thought,” he whined. “If I would have known it was going to be an epic journey I would have at least packed them a light lunch.”

Several citizens groups including the Highball Dance Ensemble and the Gunnison Association for Fallen Away Hibernians have come forward offering to chew Toole’s food for him. Officials hooked up with the heralded War on Slugs have also promised to throw a little weight around in Salida.

“Maybe the teeth are in Colombia or even in the Golden Triangle,” said one slug buster.

In the meantime Toole languishes under the perfumed awning at his marmot ranch north of Gunnison, a man once motivated, once a major character in an unfolding drama.

“He can’t even brush his gums without breaking down,” said Nettie Twyne, his live-in companion of 86 years. “I can’t believe the postal service could do such a thing.”

Officials in Denver told The Horseshoe that they planned to remedy the situation by sending all Gunnison in town mail to Montrose rather than Salida before returning it to its point of origination.

“That should prove more convenient,” said an official who demanded anonymity.

– Dinty Moore

Toddler’s Triumph!

Bigfoot, Bear Extend Confrontation

(Silverton) A Mineral Creek Bigfoot and local bear have exchanged harsh words in the past but nothing like today when a heated altercation stormed out of the woods and down into the town.  Clearly the problem stems from habitat issues, with the big foot demanding local bears stay out of his terrain while the bears say Bigfoot has no rights here.

“Bigfoot is a pig,” said one bruin. “His camp is a mess and he throws garbage into the creek. He has no sanitation skills and howls at night keeping other animals awake. We’re gonna get him this time,” he pledged.

This morning the conflict spilled into Silverton frightening train passengers and halting traffic on Greene Street. When police finally chased the participants back into the wilderness, crumbled asphalt, chunks of fur and deep-seated resentment filled the air.

According to eye witnesses the Bigfoot/Yeti was surrounded by as many as three bears and, despite the initial assault, stood his ground.

“That boy is one tough sombitch,” said a guest at the Triangle Motel. “He run off them bear like they was those little plastic jars of honey.”

According to a police report the Bigfoot then made his escape through a back alley with the bear in pursuit. Despite climbing to safer ground, he suffered inflicting blows and a nasty bite on the lower calf. Officers following a blood trail watched as the fight moved to a more wooded venue toward Kendal Mountain where the warring parties disappeared from view.

“They are all out of town for now,” said one officer, “but they’ll be back when the last of the autumn food chain is kaput  and the dumpsters glisten in the melting snow.”

Local black bear contend that the Bigfoot is not only trespassing but that he is not indigenous to the area. (He is commonly believed to be from the San Luis Valley). Bigfoot feels that because stands on two legs and can use tools he should dominate. He also says the bear are stupid.

The Big Foot that has been wintering up Mineral Creek for some five years and until last month there had been no incidents involving the fiercely territorial Bigfoot and other wildlife, real or imagined.

And if that’s not enough to whisk one’s bristles, Montrose County officers report another Missing Link sighting on the Uncompahgre Plateau near Columbine Pass.

According to an official report: “We had him corned in a eucalyptus grove but he slipped away when it got dark,” “He was a big one and his personal hygiene was an issue, especially after the monsoons and high winds.” said one deputy. “It was enough to make you want to go stand over on the other side of the meadow.”

It is believed that the possible Missing Link hitched a ride into Naturita to avoid capture. A manhunt and pancake breakfast is scheduled for Saturday morning in the town park.

“This kind of thing is normal,” said one resident, “especially during fall season when we have all these hunters running around in these woods.”

In a related piece, Confront Range authorities are expected to announce the results of their mega investigation aimed at determining shell phone use in packs of Neanderthal-Americans who once roamed the Rockies. Until a few years ago, the technology seemed out of reach for these primitive beings but recently discovered artifacts, as well as extravagant cave dwellings suggest otherwise.

Piles of shells, presumably left out in the sun to charge by hopped up antediluvians, further suggest that evolution of sorts was in progress or it could be no more than another round of monkey business. Anthropologists here are attempting to determine if there is a further link in these episodes or if they are only isolated incidents. – Small Mouth Bess

“I invent nothing. I transmit.” – Confucius