Cowboy Ken gave children at the Beaumont Library a taste of what it was like to be an American cowboy in the late 1800s.
Ken Frawley, who portrayed Cowboy Ken during the hour-long event, lasso-ed up some fun times Monday morning for the children.
Cowboy Ken started out telling the youngsters that he grew up on a dairy farm and explained the difference between dairy and beef cows.
He said that dairy cows are like big dogs and they don’t like change.
“They’re very friendly. They like for everything to be exactly like it is,” said Cowboy Ken.
He said that he was used to drinking raw milk while growing up in Toronto and that he just couldn’t get used to pasteurized milk from the grocery store.
After the introduction, Cowboy Ken started talking about the evolution of the American cowboy 130 years ago in Texas.
In 1865, there were cattle drives and cowboys were out of work so they would round up the millions of cows. Cowboys worked hard – five to seven days a week, 24 hours a day, in any kind of weather.
Cowboy Ken asked the children if there were street lights, roads and bridges back then? The kids said no.
He also told them that the cows could be five feet tall and weigh 1,300 pounds. The cowboys had to be careful because many cowboys died in stampedes.
Cowboy Ken sang a couple of cowboy songs and taught the children some Spanish words, such as la reata (lariot, or rope); other words, such as ranchos, rodeos and BBQ, are based in Spanish.
One of the fun tricks he showed the children was trick roping. There were two types that he demonstrated – one is the butterfly, with the wings up, and another is the moth, with the wings down.
Cowboy Ken also surprised the audience by jumping without getting his feet caught in the ropes.
One of the tricks involved seven of the children. Each had a different role. One was a trail boss, who did the hiring and firing of cowboys and cowgirls; the point rider, in charge of steering the herd from Texas to Kansas; the swing rider, who rode the first half ; the flank rider, who rode the back half; the drag rider, who rides the back end of the 5,000 cows; the wrangler, who handled up to 600 horses; and the cook, who the cowboys didn’t want to make mad because their chili won’t taste right.
The children did some trick roping, during which Cowboy Ken advised them to use their wrists.
Another fun skit involved 7-year-old Grace Buie, of Beaumont. Cowboy Ken enlisted her to participate in a fishing contest involving a fish also named Grace.
She portrayed her namesake (holding a multi-colored fish) while Cowboy Ken and the Great White Bear (polar bear) competed against one another.
After the show, Grace Buie, accompanied by her mother, Elana Buie, and her 20-month-old sister Paige, said she liked being a part of the show. “I got to swim,” said Grace.
And mom Elana also pointed out a coincidence. “And the fish shared your name, which was exciting,” she said.