Petersen: I’m an outfitter til I die | TheFencePost.com

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Petersen: I’m an outfitter til I die

It's that time of year when the Gardiner, Mont., annual Horse Drive takes place. What's that, you may ask? It's a genuine western event that can leave you feeling prayerful, thankful and glad to be a part of the experience. From the Gardiner corrals, upwards of a couple of hundred horses are herded 9 miles up the trail to Hells-a-Roarin' Ranch.

If you're making a bucket list of special things you hope to do before you've finished life's journey, attending the drive is a must. No, you don't personally have to ride a horse, but at various spots along the trail you can take photos of horses and cowboys and pretend you're in a John Wayne movie!

The drive always benefits a worthy cause. This year's proceeds will go to Search Dog and Raptor Center. At the end of the drive, Hell's-a-Roarin' dishes up a buffet supper followed by a dance. This year, Wiley and the Wild West will have you merrily boot-stompin' around in the open-air pavilion.

Hell's a Roarin' is a restaurant owned and operated by Warren and Susan Johnson and family. Warren is an outfitter acting as guide, host, trail boss and all-around outdoors man. Susan is an awesome chef who can whip up a meal for 30 or 40 in the time it takes to turn around.

“I’m an outfitter till I die. I’m an outfitter, outfitter ‘tis my belief. I’m an outfitter till I die.”

Outfitting is a unique business requiring grit, determination, a soul-deep appreciation for nature in all its forms, plus a never-ending sense of humor. With that in mind, here's an Outfitter's Hymn parody (which, should you wish, you could substitute Cowboy Hymn for Outfitter). It's written to the tune of Methodist Pie, an old, old, old rollicking folk song. If you know it, sing along …!

Outfitter Pie

I'm ridin' to Gardiner on a spring afternoon

I've saddled up to drive

A herd of ponies up to Hell's a Roarin' camp

Up where the mountains kiss the sky

There's buckskins and bays, and a few Appaloosas

And some mules and one Zebra cross

There's chestnuts and grays, and flashy pintos and blacks

Near every kind of hoss

Chorus

I'm here to tell you, I believe

I'm here to tell you, I believe

I'm here to tell you, I believe

I'm an outfitter till I die

I'm an outfitter, outfitter 'tis my belief

I'm an outfitter till I die

Till old grim death comes a-knocking at the door

I'll be eating outfitter pie

I carry Old Glory; don't let horses stampede

Won't let those chargers get by

Just keep 'em trotting on at a steady pace

I'm an outfitter till I die

Push 'em up the mountain to Eagle Creek's broad meadow

They linger there awhile

Let 'em eat meadow grass, let 'em catch their breath

They've trotted about five mile

Chorus

Then off we go, herding the ponies up the trail.

Keep 'em from straying apart

Pounding hooves thunder along like a mountain song

The rhythm throbs like a beating heart

At last through the gates, into the corral

Water and feed 'em hay

Unsaddle my horse and rub down his sweaty flanks

I know it's been another good day

Chorus

I'm here to tell you, I believe

I'm here to tell you, I believe

I'm here to tell you, I believe

I'm an outfitter till I die

I'm an outfitter, outfitter 'tis my belief

I'm an outfitter till I die

Till old grim death comes a-knocking at the door

I'll be eating outfitter pie.❖