Polo Players Edition

NOV 2011

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/44977

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Page 15 of 67

FU L L M O O N SAM MORTON SMILING COWGIRL Wyoming roper puts up with a lot, including me I guess my first memory of Vicki Johnstone was being at a roping at some dusty arena back in 1981 and seeing her walk out of a house next door. She was team roping and I thought, now there is one good looking girl. It turned out she was a better roper than half the men there. She smiled a lot and seemed to be friendly to everyone, but I never really had a chance to get near her to have a conversation. Later, I remember seeing her walk into a bar with a bunch of cowboys. She stopped and had a long conversation with an old man down at the end of the bar who was sitting by himself. She gave him a big smile and asked about his wife and kids. You could just see him light up as this young, pretty cowgirl stopped to have a long conversation with him. On another occasion, I saw her after a roping where she had been poured rain on for several hours. She had been paid to stand in the muddy arena and drop the flag when the steers cleared the barrier. She not only performed her job in the rain, she did it cheerfully. And when it was over, she stayed and picked up all the cans and cups out in the rain even though it wasn't her job. To say she looked like a million bucks soaking wet is something only a man who appreciates a natural beauty can see. The cowboys, drinking beer after the roping, told Vicki they would buy her lunch for her effort but when she walked in the Bozeman Trail Inn in Big Horn, a princess who was waiting for the cowboys, jealous that Vicki walked in with them, took her shot. "Good gracious honey, what happened to you?" she gasped. "Oh, hi Geri, I was just flagging at the team roping." "Why would you stand out in the rain and 14 POLO PLAYERS EDITION Quarter Horse at local rodeos. After high school, Vicki got a full academic scholarship to Casper Junior College in Wyoming and then a full academic ride to the University of Wyoming. She worked for a trucking company during the summer before getting a job with Kemper-Odell Advertising time that I was in Sheridan, Wyoming upon graduating. Ten years later she bought part of the company. It was around this get mud kicked up on you for those guys?" "They paid me $40," Vicki said through a smile. The girl looked Vicki up and down and took a long drag off her cigarette. "Good Lord, I hope I never need $40 that bad." Standing there in the middle of the room with mud splattered all over her Levi's and her hair starting to curl from the rain, she could have melted the heart of the most callous man. The thing we all admired about Vicki, even though we had all been around pretty girls, was that there was no one friendlier. She always has time to visit with everyone, not just the "in" crowd. She grew up in Kaycee, Wyoming, which is a tiny ranching town in northern Wyoming known for producing the most champion bronc riders per capita in the sport. Her parents, Gladys and Junior Johnstone, are horsemen and small ranchers. Vicki and her brother Casey grew up riding behind cattle, putting up hay, fixing fence and irrigating. Her dad was one of the top bronc riders in the area and her mother ran barrels well into her 60s. Vicki grew up around rodeos and competed in barrels and poles. She raced untacking my horses after a polo game in Big Horn. There was a steeplechase going on around the field that was over a mile in circumference. I wasn't paying that much attention until a riderless horse ran into my horses with a jockey saddle and a number pad. I took hold of the reins and led it to the field while checking to see if anyone was hurt as the rest of the pack raced by. There was Vicki in a jockey helmet and boots walking towards me. "You okay, Vicki?" I asked. "Yeah, he's just kind of nuts." I gave her a leg up and off she went. Knowing nothing about steeplechasing or jumping, Vicki agreed to help a 75-year-old cowboy who had a steeplechase horse that he wanted to enter in the race. Later, she was in the clubhouse talking with a Crow relay racer when she turned and asked me if I was going to go to the Last Chance Bar. The truth was, I didn't drink in Big Horn at the time but rather in Sheridan where I lived. For obvious reasons, I decided one drink in Big Horn wouldn't kill me. The next thing I knew, I had her bring her Quarter Horses to the polo field so she could do a few clinics. Later, I put her in for some chukkers. I was not on the field with her but was confident she could handle

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