Rowdy Paint Ball prompts PopsiclesI used to ride broncs in rodeo but not anymore, at least not intentionally. On Sunday I rode one of my horses named Paint Ball, just for fun.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
I used to ride broncs in rodeo but not anymore, at least not intentionally.
On Sunday I rode one of my horses named Paint Ball, just for fun. He’s a sorrel quarter horse gelding with a white spot on his rear end where it looks like someone shot him with a paintball gun, thus the name.
I picked him up for a song a few years back and he’s proof that you get what you pay for. He’s big, mean, bosses the other horses around and is hell to ride, primarily because he has an aversion to work and he bucks.
So why do I keep him? For a couple of reasons: To save the rest of mankind from his tirades and because, if you take him out with the other horses and just walk along, he’s fine and you can put a 2-year-old kid on him. But if you try to make him do the work of a typical ranch horse, he’ll go psycho, like he did on Sunday.
You see, as we were galloping across a pasture at full speed he suddenly rose up and slammed his front hooves into the ground, kicked out mightily in the back end, reared up high again at a side angle and then slammed his front feet back down again while spinning around. If he’d done that in a rodeo arena they’d have called him a trashy bronc. Of course, I called him a lot of other things.
Somehow I countered his moves, relying mostly on instinct and felt like I had come out OK until that final front-end slam to the ground which split my pelvis, or at least felt like it had, for a while. Nevertheless, I stayed in the saddle.
Ultimately, I’d like to ship Paint Ball to Indonesia, Tibet or at least Sentinel Butte. So if anyone out there wants a horse for a song and has time to ride him into complete submission, give me a call; knowing that you’ve been appropriately warned. Still, Paint Ball is not the main topic of this article, because, oddly enough, Popsicles are.
You see, Paint Ball was the third horse I rode on Sunday and by the time I was done with him I’d worked up a big enough thirst to want to slurp up most of Lake Sakakawea and part of the Missouri.
Now nothing cuts the dust better than a cold beer, so I had one of them, a bottle of water and was still thirsty, which led me to the grocery store where I picked up six banana-flavored popsicles that quickly disappeared.
It made me wonder where popsicles came from so I did a little research and found out that, like a lot of other things, Popsicles were invented by mistake.
You see, one day in San Francisco in 1905, Frank Epperson, an 11-year-old, mixed some soda water powder with water and left it on the back porch overnight with the stirring stick still in it. Meanwhile, the temperature dropped to a record low and the next day Frank had a stick of frozen soda water to show his friends, family, favorite dog and the cat it chases.
But it wasn’t until 1922, when Epperson was a tie-wearing grownup and had established himself in the real estate business, that he did anything with it and the first thing he did was to serve it to some people attending a firemens’ ball in 1922 and it was such an enormous hit that he applied for a “ice on a stick” patent in 1923, which wasn’t approved until 1924, proving that nothing good comes quickly.
At first he called it the Epsicle Ice Pop and produced it in different flavors on birch wood sticks and sold it for a nickel each until his kids coaxed him into changing its name to “Popsicle,” I guess because it was a flavored icicle invented by their papa.
In 1925, Epperson sold his Popsicle rights to the Joe Lowe Co. in New York when he needed to liquidate all of his assets and during the Great Depression they created the twin Popsicle, which allowed two people to share one Popsicle.
Consolidated Foods Corp. obtained the Popsicle brand in 1965 and in 1986 the U.S. operations of Popsicle Industries became part of Gold Bond Ice Cream, which was in Green Bay Packer country. Then in 1989 Unilever bought Gold Bond Ice Cream and the Popsicle became part of Unilever’s Good Humor division and that’s where it sits today.
Now hundreds of millions of more than 30 flavors of Popsicles are consumed in the United States each year with Epperson earning royalties on 60 million during his ownership alone. Proving, I guess, that Paint Ball can’t be all bad if he can steer you toward a refreshing Popsicle after a hot day in the saddle, even if other horses can do it with a lot less fuss.
Holten is a freelance columnist and cartoonist from Dickinson.