Presented by the Mid-Atlantic Gateway • As Told by Blackjack Mulligan
Those legendary west Texas characters from the fertile mind and imagination of Blackjack Mulligan.
Part fact, part fiction; true lies and alibis.
Uncle Reba Joe could best be described as wild as the west Texas wind! If one has ever seen the movie "Hud" with Paul Newman, then you know my Uncle Reba Joe.
He was raised on a ranch in Cross Plains, Texas in Callahan County Bright red hair, wore a flowery western shirt with the sleeves half rolled up, and a pair of the fanciest western boots you ever seen called Apache Flower. Had his pants tucked in the boots and a large silver buckle he won at the Concho County rodeo for bull ridin'. He was always driving an old Cadillac convertible with the top down come rain or shine. Always had 2 or 3 senoritas with him. He loved Jack Daniels, women, and fightin' - not sure in which order, didn't seem to matter!
Well Uncle Reba Joe was the coolest thing I had ever seen and he was (unfortunately) my hero. He took me to Mexico with him one weekend and there in Rosie's Cantina I fell in love with a 50 year old senorita and wanted to marry her. I was 13. Uncle Reba Joe had to drag me outta there. He assured me there would be others. Not that I knew what to do!
We had a large family and every year Uncle Reba Joe and Uncle Red would get in a fight at our family reunion. Uncle Reba Joe would promise every year no drinkin' or womanizing, and Uncle Red, Christian man he was, burly 6'5'' medal of honor winner in World War II, didn't stand for no B.S.! Well every year Uncle Reba Joe would get to drinkin' and messin' round with all the women folk and call out Uncle Red. And every year Uncle Red would K.O. Uncle Reba Joe and we would have to carry him to his Cadillac! My Hero!!
Sara Jo Puckett was voted the Concho County Rodeo Queen and from that moment on, fame and fortune would lead the path to wealth and eventually back to running her own saloon in Eagle Pass, Texas. I actually found her there while working on a ranch in Concho County during summer break. She accompanied me back to Odessa and went to work at the Ace O' Clubs. I had to return to school, but our lives crossed paths many times through out the years.
She was a Dolly Parton look-alike, an unbelievable beauty. Down through the years she would call me, and to the rescue Blackjack would come, rescuing her from gamblers, bums, sheriffs, and rift raft! As the years passed, her beauty started to fade and Blackjack decided to immortalize her in promos and interviews. She took on a few pounds over the years, but the beauty was still there. I actually took her to Madison Square Garden and few other places so she could go home and have braggin' rights!
Never a prettier woman; she could ride a bull, chew tobacco, drink whiskey, back you up in a fight, and all the things a good woman does! WOW, what a woman!
Spider was raised somewhere in Concho County, Texas (county seat is Paint Rock, population 231, about 200 miles southwest of Dallas). He just showed up one day. He stood about 6'1" weighed about 135 lbs. and was the rangiest looking critter that I ever did see. Looked like it had been a while since Spider had had a bath.
Spider was working as a ranch hand and moon-lighted as a rodeo clown for the RCA (Rodeo Cowboys Association), keeping the bulls away from the thrown riders.
I had met Spider while working on a ranch as a youngster. He was the toughest man I ever saw. A water moccasin bit him one day at the crik. Spider just grabbed him and bit his head off, sucked the venom out of the bite, and kept on working...and then he told me to get back to work!
Spider got gored by a bull named Chilli Dog and died shortly afterwards.
Slim Gabriel was actually sheriff of Ector County, not Duvall County as ol' Mully once represented. He was elected under some very questionable circumstances, some of the voters were...well let's say they had passed on. Slim actually had a piece of the action at the local saloon and the local brothel! Whenever you crossed Slim, bad things could happen. Like disappearing.
As the story goes, Cooter Watson
(like the rest of us) had a
hankering for a young saloon girl by the name of Sara Jo Puckett. Well,
so did Sheriff Slim. Cooter was invited out back by deputies one night
where she worked at the Ace O' Clubs and Cooter
was never seen again! He actually had it out with Sheriff Slim over Sara
Jo, and needless to say that was that for Slim and his political run in
Ector County. They say he has been seen in Mexico working as a smuggler
with one eye and a messed up arm! That's my story and I'm stickin' to
Scrap Iron Adams was kind of broad in the shoulders and narrow at the hip. You didn't give no lip to Scrap Iron. Born one morning it was pouring rain; one arm like steel and the other like a chain. Don't give any lip to Scrap Iron! No body knew where he came from, and nobody asked! My lifelong friend!
Puss Daniels was our boss when Scrap Iron and I branded cattle during the summers as teenagers at the Double Cross Ranch near San Angelo. Puss was a very evil man and very hard to work for and we were continually pulling antics on Puss just to drive him nuts. Like throwing live rounds of ammunition in the campfire and hollerin' "Run Puss, Run!"
I believe ol' Puss is still alive. Passed by a bar when we were home and saw a tag on an old truck that said "I LUV PUSS". I assumed it was him, although others have made the same claim!
Luther Daniels was a tough ol' buzzard. A meeting with Luther out back usually meant a bottle, and I don't mean sharing one, I mean one up side your head. Luther was Puss Daniels' daddy.
Everybody has someone in their family they try to hide, but in the early 1980s, I got Luke out of the Terrell Mental Institution and brought him to TV with me and he helped me conduct some business! Luke has since been locked back up for many years. We would bring him out for family reunions, but he became so violent we had to discontinue his visits altogether. Luke loved popcorn, carried bags of it with him everywhere. Became a real distraction!
"Skinny" Pace went on to build the Pace food company that makes Picante salsa dip and chips! He was followed by heirs that I am quite sure wouldn't be able to hang with the gang!
The Eagle Pass Biographies are part of
The Eagle Pass Biographies were written by B.J. Windham in emails to Dick Bourne.
Edited by Dick Bourne Copyright © Mid-Atlantic Gateway
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