Guest Ghost Graces Gunnison for Rodeo

(Gunnison) His spirit will move you or at least get you ready for Cattlemen’s Days, July 12 -1 4. Yes, Tom Mix is back again and expected to participate (as much as a ghost can take part) in this year’s rodeo. The revelry has been going on since 1900 and Mix has been stopping in since the early 50s according to local lore (and maybe a bit more).

The PCA contest, held in this pristine Western Colorado town, offers the perfect venue for summer nights. There’s bull riding, bronc riding, barrel racing and an uninvited, yet welcome, guest who comes every year to see what’s going on in Gunnison.

It’s the ghost of cowboy movie star, Tom Mix and his horse Tony, who visits Gunnison each year from the Great Beyond to catch a little rodeo. He says it’s good for the blood and what keeps him coming back for more. Readers will recall Mix as the star of the Westerns in the early days of film. The good guy-bad guy plots and the rough mountain scenery were trademarks of the time and Mix was at the top of an impressive assortment of cowboys, saloon hall girls, gunfighters, sheriffs, chiefs, school marms and outlaws galore. The movie goers couldn’t get enough.

Although it appears Mix has no strict agenda fans might likely get a glimpse of him early in the morning at the site of the former Cattlemen Inn, his favorite local lodging and at lunch at Palisades. Later as the rodeo gets going Tom can be observed in the stands or near the entrance watching the rodeo and smiling. As darkness falls the ghost ventures further and joins in at after-rodeo festivities.

“That’s when he really comes out,” said Maryanne Gillhooley, Gunnison County historian and professor of genetics at Western State University. “People see just a silhouette or get a sniff of his cigar. Sometimes they see him riding Tony out into the dense forest or the massive sage lands.”


Filed Under: Lifestyles at Risk


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