The New Deputy
The early morning sun found Sheriff Stockton half heartedly hanging up the “Deputy Wanted” sign in front of his office. The previous evenings events had forced his hand, and obviously his own ’best’ efforts weren’t good enough for Rex and the frustrated ranchers.
“Just a formality” he thought to himself as he whistled a nameless tune. “One of Snake’s boys will be in soon to snag the job up, and then smooth sailing.”
“Morning sheriff” Pat Brady said as he passed by.
“Morning Pat” he replied barely taking the time to look up.
Pat turned around and stopped walking.
“Say, what’ya doing?” he asked.
Bill looked up and stopped tacking the poster down.
“Hiring a new deputy to catch the rustlers around here.” he replied matter of factly.
Pat stepped beside the sign and began to read.
“Dep-uty Wanted. Must be able to…. Must be able to” Pat read.
“Read tracks and be good with a gun.” Bill finished.
“You know sheriff, it’s about time I got me some of them new fangled reading glasses.
I can barely read the menu at Dale’s Place anymore. Good thing I got it memorized now, hope she doesn’t change it soon. Why, I remember one time, she switch page one and three, and I ordered a hot roast beef pie, and an apple coffee!”
“Well Pat, I guess you’d be the perfect tracker, as far as the rustlers are concerned. You want the job?” Bill asked.
Pat looked around quickly.
“No, not me. You know, my leg. Hurt it in a fishing accident. Cast off in my boat, fell into the water, and bruised my knee. Still aches when the weathers bad. Besides I don’t know the first thing about tracking other than mud on the kitchen floor.”
“Just thought I’d ask, good day Pat” Bill replied as he stood up and walked into his office.
Pat Brady turned and walked down the street again. Taking a few long strides, he suddenly stopped and smiled .
“Me, deputy! Who’d have thought of that!”
A few paces down the street, Ma Pringle was returning from the store. Dropping one parcel onto the street, she knelt down and picked it up. As she looked up, a tall lean stranger offered her his hand to help her up. She took it, and held her groceries tightly.
“Thank you young man.” she said.
The young man smiled.
“Excuse me ma’am, can you tell me where the sheriffs office is?” he asked.
“Yes, I can. Bill’s office is over there, past the bakery” she said pointing thirty yards down the street.
“Thank you ma’am. Appreciate that. “ Roy said as he strode towards Bill Stocktons office. Seeing the Deputy Wanted sign on the billboard, he read it closely, and grinned. Ripping the poster down, he covered the last few steps to the Sheriffs door with a spring in his step.
Holding the poster in his hand, Roy Rogers opened the sheriffs door. Stepping through the threshold he saw Bill at his desk, his feet resting on the scratched mahogany surface.
“Sheriff Stockton I presume-my name is Roy Rogers” Roy said as he offered his hand to the sheriff.
“Sheriff Bill Stockton, pleased to meet you Roy” he replied. “What can I do for you?”
Roy took his hat off and held it in his hand.
“Have you hired a deputy yet?” he asked
Bill looked at Roy. He sized him up quick. Tall, lean, and muscular, with bright squinty eyes, no quiver or shake in his hands, he seemed to be a good pick, perhaps too good.
“No, no I haven’t yet” Bill replied.
“ I’d like to volunteer for the deputy’s job” Roy said.
The heavy set man took a deep breath, then moved his feet from the desk. He stood up, and straightened his hat.
“Did I hear you right-you want to volunteer?” Bill asked, confusion in his voice.
Roy looked Bill in the eyes.
“Yes, that’s what I said” he replied.
Bill Stockton shuffled back and forth on his feet, crossed his arms and looked across the room.
“How’d you hear about the job, did someone send you?” Bill inquired.
Roy passed the handbill over to Bill across the desk. It floated silently to the mahogany surface, the words “Deputy Wanted” stared up at the sheriff.
Roy looked down at the poster.
“Saw the poster outside your door, besides, I was sent here, to give you a hand. That’s why I said Volunteer” Roy answered.
Sheriff Stockton crossed the floor and stopped in front of Roy. Roy stood two inches taller than Bill, but Bill’s size overshadowed Roy’s physical presence.
“Care for a coffee Roy, just made a pot?” Bill asked Roy as he walked over to the pot bellied stove in the corner.
He poured himself a cup of the hot steaming liquid, and then one for Roy as he nodded yes to Bill. Bringing the mug over to Roy, they both sat down at the desk, the sheriff stopping himself from putting his boots on the scuffed surface.
“What are your qualifications Roy, if you don’t mind telling me why I should accept your generous offer?” Bill asked.
Roy took a sip of the hot liquid, then started to speak.
“Tracker for the US army ten years, deputy in Amarillo three years. I’ve got letters from the army, and Sheriff Barry-if you’d like to see them?” Roy offered.
Bill looked over at Roy, his dark eyes searching Roy’s clean face for signs of dishonesty.
“Please, I’d like to.” Bill responded.
Roy reached into his deer skin ruffled shirt pocket and pulled out the letters, he handed them across the desk. Bill took them and opened the top letter. He read.
Major William Whitney
First Army Division
Fort Worth, Texas
May 19, 1875
To Whom it May Concern:
This letter of commendation has been issued to Roy Rogers, of the First Army of the United States of America, upon 10 years of exemplary duty above and beyond the call of duty.
In defence of his Country, and his fellow man, he has few equals.
Major William Whitney
Bill looked up at Roy and whistled.
“That’s some letter young man.” he commented.
He read the second missive.
Sheriff Don Red Barry
To: Bill Stockton
Sheriff, Kievers Creek
Hoping this finds you well. I’m sending Roy Rogers over to you as a favour. Some years ago you helped me, and I found my way to the right side again. You can trust Roy with your life.
If you have any questions, send me a telegram.
As the sheriff read the letters, his mind began to work quickly. Obviously Snake Larson hadn’t sent THIS man. Too honest, too many credentials. This was no time for a glitch like this in the plans, with the end so very near. I can’t say no, if the ranchers find out he applied and get a look at these letters, they’ll hang me. But if I say yes, I may hang anyway if he manages to find the truth. But there could be an accident…
Roy watched Bill read the letters, he saw concern cross the sheriffs face, and then it disappeared into a wrinkled forehead. He saw a glint in Bill’s eyes, then he looked up.
“Well Roy, if Don sent you, how can I say no.” he said as he smiled.
Bill showed Roy the office, desk in the corner, gunrack on the west wall, ammunition beneath in the locked drawer, coffee pot on the black iron pot belly stove in the opposite corner, and through the double door, the two sets of cells, complete with new mattresses.
“You’ll be wanting to see my files on the raids I suppose Roy?” Bill asked.
Roy looked around the office.
“Please, but after lunch.” Roy replied.
“Do you want your own desk?” Bill asked.
“No, no thank you Bill. We can share your desk, if you don’t mind. Besides, I’m not one for sitting down when there’s a job to be done.” Roy said.
“Suits me fine, I suppose you’ll be needing a place to stay in town ?”
Roy looked around again. A mighty nice layout indeed..
“Sure, know a good place?” Roy said as he turned to face the sheriff.
Bill replied quickly.
“Try Dale’s place, they’ve got good grub, and clean beds” he offered. “You can get there by turning left at the big oak on the corner and walking straight for about half a block. You can’t miss it.”
“Thanks-I will. But I’ll be wanting to start right away, after I get settled in. Do you know a good stable? Triggers a little picky, he likes his stall pretty clean.” Roy asked.
“Try Boyds, Bill’s got a great outfit. He’s a couple of blocks over. If you have any questions, I’ll be over at the Hotel Cafe for a couple of hours. Catching the pulse of the town you know.”
“Nothing like a little town gossip and a good meal.” Bill added.
“Howdy sheriff” a husky voice growled.
“Morning” Bill returned.
A squat fellow stood in the doorway, his wrinkled clothes and black hat were covered in trail dust. Tears and rips in his clothes showed he lived a hard life. His brown eyes, hidden beneath a wide black brim, looked hard and piercing. His face too was weather beaten and rough, a scar accented his left cheek. He walked in.
“I hear you’re looking for a special deputy sheriff. Do you have one yet?” the burly man asked.
Bill looked at Roy.
“Got one now-his name is Roy Rogers.” he said.
The man’s tone dropped a little.
“Ace Parker” he said as he offered his hand to Roy.
“Pleased to meet you Ace” Roy said. “Bill, I’ll see you in a couple of hours. Adios.”
Both men watched Roy walk away from the sheriffs’ office. He mounted Trigger, then turned and cantered towards Dales Place. They waited until he was out of sight, then sat down in the office.
The man called Ace Parker swore under his breath.
“Sheriff-Snake Larson sent me here. I was supposed to get the job, not some Roy Rogers!”
Bill wiped his chin off.
“Yeah, I know. He sort of caught me off guard too. If I hadn’t hired him with his credentials and Allen found out, the ranchers would have me strung up before the day was over. Besides, as sheriff, I could send him into an ambush, or arrange for a convenient accident. Roy Rogers, is only a temporary bump in our plans” Bill replied.
Nervous silence filled the air.
“Ace, when you get back to the hideout, send Snake into town. On second thought” he said thoughtfully, “I’ll meet you and the others at the hideout in a couple of hours. With the end so near, the loss of my NEW DEPUTY can’t come too quickly for my likes.” Bill finished.
Ace Parker stood up and started to leave.
“Good thinking not using my name when you walked into the office earlier Ace. That’s why you’re still part of the gang. Adios Ace.” Bill said.
“Adios sheriff.” Ace said as he closed the door.
“See you at the camp later” Bill replied, his mind already plotting his new deputy’s destruction! A treacherous smile crossed his face and a low laugh escaped his lips, a laugh that spelt doom for Roy Rogers!
Dale Evans was busy at her boarding house that morning. The drought of the summer had brought no relief to her dusting and sweeping duties, not that she minded but she’d much rather be sipping lemonade in the hot summer sun, at least once a day anyway. Her boarding house was the only one in Kievers Creek, which meant that there was no real choice if you didn’t want to live above a saloon. Her tenants were quiet and for the most part, kept to themselves, except one. Not that he was bad, but when George got ornery, he was intolerable. If he was in a good mood, he’d sit outside and smoke his fancy Ceegar, as he put it, cause that was the only thing God didn’t say you couldn’t do in the bible. But today he was out working so Dale swept the wood planked veranda and beat the fading rugs, the dust swelling over her delicate features.
Dale took a break from her rug cleaning and looked over the verandah banister, a tall lean handsome cowboy was tying his golden palomino to the railing beside the fence. Clad in blue denim, Roy struck a dramatic almost foppish figure. His buckskin shirt was neat and his hat was hat was white, and he almost looked as if it had never seen an honest days work in his life. His whistling echoed over the railing and caught Dale unaware. She began singing the words to the finely rendered tune, then stopped and waited for the cowboy to get up to the house.
Roy Stopped at the steps and looked at Dale.
“Is this Dales Place?” he asked.
Dale, still singing inside, replied.
“Yes it is.”
“Are you Dale?”
“None other” she replied.
“Nice place you have, any vacancies?” Roy asked.
“Yes, one room left.” she said.
“If the room is as pretty as the host, I’ll take it” Roy said, smiling.
“Well, the room is clean, and I hear my food is good, the pretty part I leave up to you.” she answered. “Do you always go around whistling catchy tunes?”
Roy tipped his hat back a bit, then pulled it down again.
“Only when I’m feeling happy” he said. “My name is Roy Rogers, I’m the new special deputy to Bill Stockton. I hear you make pretty good grub here, at least that’s what Bill said anyway.”
Dale put her broom down.
“That’s Bill for you, eats here almost every day, has for years” Dale said.
“How much?” Roy asked.
“How much does he eat? No more than the normal person, except for apple pie. Oh, how much for the room?” she carried on.
“Yes, how much for the room. How much Bill eats is fairly obvious” Roy said.
Dale put one hand on her hip, and wiped some dust away from her face with the other.
“Five dollars a month for room, and Seven-fifty with meals” Dale answered.
“It’s a deal, Dale” Roy said offering her his hand.
“Accepted Mr Rogers” she said, shaking his hand enthusiastically. “Lunch is on in half an hour.”
Roy smiled widely at Dale, “I’ll go get the rest of my gear. I could use a good lunch. It looks as if it’ll be a busy day.”
Dale looked at Roy quizzically.
“New Deputy? Didn’t know he was looking for one?” she said in a confused voice.
“I’ll tell you later, at lunch if you don’t mind” Roy said.
Dale turned around and went into the boarding house. It was lunch time, and the soup she started earlier that day would certainly be ready by now.
Roy, walked out to Trigger, and grabbed his bedroll, and saddlebags. Trigger whinnied in response to a gentle pat.
“She seems real nice Trigger, doesn’t she? I’ll be out in a few minutes, then I’ll take you over to Boyds stable. “
Some time later, Roy was sitting down in the dining room. Finishing his second helping of chicken and potatoes, he took a long sip of hot coffee. Placing his mug down, he wiped his face clean.
“That was some good meal Dale, Sheriff Stockton was right. You do make some good grub!” Roy complimented Dale.
Dale picked up Roy’s plate and cup.
“Thanks Roy” she answered.
Roy looked up at Dale.
“How did you ever get to run this place?” he asked.
“Dad left it to me when he died-he told me that if anyone could run a boarding house right, I could. So far, I have, but it hasn’t been easy.” she relied sitting across from Roy.
“Well, as near as I can tell you’ve done a great job. Do you have another cup of coffee left? I’ve got some riding to do this afternoon, may as well wash the dust down first.” Roy said.
Dale got up to pour Roy a last cup of coffee.
“Say, you forgot to tell me why the sheriff needed a deputy. “Dale asked remembering Roy’s promise.
“You’re right. As far as I can tell, he’s had some trouble with raids on farmers, settlers, and some cattle rustling. The rumours are that no clues or evidence of any sort has been found. He seems to think that I can help.” Roy remarked.
Dales eyes lit up.
“Yes, that’s for sure. About a dozen or so raids already. The towns folk are real upset about it too. If there were an election tomorrow, Bill would be gone. At least four or five ranches have been lost to the bank already. Two other families have sold out and gone on to other towns. It’s real sad to see, their hopes for a new life dashed. Hope you can help Bill out Roy, he done his best but the raiders are too smart.” Dale blurted out.
“I’ll try Dale. You said Bill eats here everyday almost?.” Roy commented.
“Yes, usually every day except Sunday. He’s not here today, and I made his favourite. That’s strange” she answered.
“Well Dale, thanks for lunch. I’ll try to be back for supper if you’ll have some of that apple pie again. A guy could get used to living here. See you later Dale” Roy said as he got up and left the dining room.
Roy found Sheriff Stockton at the office sipping the syrup like coffee.
“Yes Roy, nothing quite like old coffee to start the afternoon off. Care for some?” Bill asked.
“No thanks Bill, just had a feast over at Dale’s. Is that girl married?” Roy inquired.
“No, no she’s not. Did she make some apple pie today?”
“Yes, she did. None left though. Finished it myself. Might be some more later. What can you tell me about the trouble around here Bill. I need a starting point.” Roy asked.
Sheriff Stockton squirmed a little in his chair. He’d been rehearsing this for the last hour already, now it was time to set Roy up.
“So far there’s been twelve raids, five fires, four cattle rustlings, and three murders, and some things I don’t count, somewhere between five and ten families have been scared off before settling in to Kievers Creek. My files are here” he said as he pushed the stack of papers towards Roy. “Take the day and look through them. I could find no pattern, may be you’ll spot something we missed.”
Roy looked at the papers.
“I see the last attack happened a couple of days ago, to Jim and Margaret Autry” Roy said concerned. “Where are they now?” Roy asked.
“At their Uncle Rex’s a couple of miles out of town. I’ll give you directions out there if you’d like” Bill offered “seeing as you’re not familiar with the territory.”
“I’d appreciate that” Roy replied.
Bill looked seriously at Roy, then scratched his head.
“One thing though, the tracks always led in the direction of Blindman Plateau, then disappear without a trace. “he said, a hint of co-operation in his voice. “You going out to Rex’s are you?”
Roy looked at the stack of papers, flipped the top few back down, and breathed deeply.
“Yeah, I’ll start there and follow my nose. Now how do you get to Rex’s?” he asked, his hands on the stack of papers.
Reaching into the top right drawer of the desk, Bill pulled out a piece of paper and pencil, and drew a map for Roy. He labeled the directions, and town, folded it up and gave it to Roy. Roy got up from the chair, put the map into this pocket, and grabbed the files Bill gave him.
“Thanks Bill. See you later if I find anything out.” Roy said as he headed towards the door.
Bill reached into his top centre desk drawer, and pulled out a Deputy Star. He pointed it towards Roy.
“Do you want one of these, Deputy? ”Bill asked.
Roy turned and grinned.
“Might be a good thing if I’m going out on official business.” Roy replied.
Bill crossed the few feet between he and Roy. He pinned it onto Roy’s shirt.
“Thanks. See you later Bill.”
Bill watched Roy mount Trigger and leave.
“See you later, Deputy.” he said under his breath. “When you get to Rex’s…”
A look of astonishment crossed his face. He mentally rode the trip out to Rex’s. The map he drew led not to Rex’s, but the HIDEOUT!
Down the street, beyond Bills line of sight, Roy and Trigger stopped at the edge of town. Roy took the map out of his pocket, and found his bearing and started to gallop away to his private death trap.
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Shelly Flint Appointed as New CEO of Westerner Park
Westerner Park, a distinguished agricultural society and premier exhibition venue in the heart of Central Alberta, is pleased to announce Shelly Flint as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This decision culminates a thorough and extensive search process, with the Board of Directors expressing their enthusiasm for the promising journey ahead under Shelly’s leadership.
Tyler Nightingale, President of the Board of Directors, shared his excitement about the appointment, stating, “After a comprehensive search, we are thrilled to welcome Shelly. Her extensive experience, skill set, and knowledge align seamlessly with the strategic direction of Westerner Park, ensuring a positive and enduring impact on both the organization and the community at large.”
Tara Lodewyk, Red Deer City Manager, added, “Shelly immediately connected with the mission of Westerner Park and the value it brings to the culture of our city and region. We are looking forward to working together and are confident in her leadership of Westerner Park.”
For the past two decades, Shelly has served as a senior executive, spearheading diverse teams within Alberta’s dynamic entertainment and finance sectors. Her tenure as the former CFO at the Calgary Stampede equips her with a distinctive insight into the intricacies of Westerner Park, enabling her to adeptly navigate its challenges and leverage its opportunities. Coupled with her roots in Central Alberta, Shelly is poised to steer the Park towards growth and long-term sustainability.
Shelly expressed her eagerness to join Westerner Park, saying, “I was thrilled at the opportunity to return to Central Alberta, where I grew up! Leading this purpose-driven organization will allow me to contribute to my community and affect meaningful change.”
Shelly Flint’s robust leadership, commitment to community, and extensive experience makes her an exceptional choice to lead Westerner Park into the future. The entire Westerner Park team eagerly anticipates the positive impact she will bring to this renowned institution.
About Westerner Park
Westerner Park is Central Alberta’s largest tradeshow, agricultural, sports, entertainment, and convention facility. A not-for-profit organization and agricultural society, Westerner Park typically generates $150 million annually in economic activity, hosting over 1,500 events and 1.5 million visitors each year.
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