The cookie cowboy
The brawny bull blasts out of the chute, leaps skyward, spins furiously left, twists right, and then… the 8-second buzzer announces the rider made it. Another successful ride!
But how does a good rodeo cowboy top such rough-riding excitement in his “second act?” Why, he bakes cookies of course!
At least that’s what Abe Morris did. The Aurora, Colo., former Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bullrider has ridden a rather convoluted trail, along which he became cookie-crazed.
Born in Florida, Morris moved at age 3 with his family to Woodstown, N.J. He recalled that his father, the Rev. Abraham Morris, Sr., sent him to live for the summer with his four cousins before he entered kindergarten.
The older boys, who rode at Cowtown Rodeo in Woodstown, influenced Morris to do likewise. At 10, he first won cash: $7.50 for second place riding junior bulls.
Competing for a time at small, local rodeos, Morris progressed until he joined the PRCA in 1977.
As a pro, he entered PRCA events off and on for the next 28 years, winning honors and titles including as 1989 Wrangler (Mountain States) Circuit Series Bull Riding Champion; 1990 “Open To the World” Bull Riding Event Champion; a “Bull Riders Only Series” tour participant for three years.
In 1982, Morris earned his PRCA announcer’s card and became the first black cowboy to be officially certified to announce PRCA rodeos. He did so at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo for nine consecutive years for Prime Sports and Fox Sports Networks.
“I was the last person to interview World Champion bull rider Lane Frost on-camera before he was killed on that fateful day, July 30, 1989,” Morris said.
He added that, 38 years later, there are still only two men who can claim the distinction of being a black rodeo announcer in the PRCA.
Morris was inducted into the Salem County (New Jersey) Sports Hall of Fame in December 2006. In November 2010, he was also inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Hall of Fame + Museum (formerly “Cowboys Of Color”) in Fort Worth, Texas.
Morris retired from his sport in 1994 following a severe hip injury. He’d earned a bachlor’s in business management in 1980 from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, where he was a winning member of its rodeo team.
For the past seven years, Morris has a full-time government job within the health administration for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Denver.
A prolific writer, he published his 2005 autobiography, “My Cowboy Hat Still Fits.” a second book in 2009, and has a completed children’s book series waiting in the wings.
Morris was a monthly columnist for 12 years in bull riding magazine “Humps N’ Horns,” plus contributed articles to several other publications. He hopes to be featured in Black Enterprise Magazine within the next two years.
Okay, It’s Cookie Time.
Morris began baking chocolate chip cookies (his favorites) in 1981 to have “regular access” to them. In autumn 1994, while still recovering from the hip injury, he met the late Mike Bond. They became fast-friends playing racquet ball.
After sampling/loving Morris’ cookies, Bond invited his buddy to Thanksgiving dinner at his folks’ house. The guest, and baker, brought his taste-tempting treats along. From there on, Morris became a welcomed regular at Bond family functions.
He also doled out cookie samples at Pulse Health Club in Fort Collins, Colo., (where he’d met Bond). One lady there ferociously begged for his recipe for months.
With no prior thoughts on the matter, Morris replied, “No way! Do you realize that you could mass market these cookies?”
Fast forward 20- plus years to the V.A., where co-workers “ganged up” on him every couple of months about when he’d launch a commercial cookie enterprise.
“I finally officially launched in 2019 because I got tired of them picking on me.” Morris said.
In February 2020, he added a cinnamon snicker-doodle with white chocolate chips to his standard variety. All flavors of his “Cowboy Chute Out Cookies” are very popular.
Morris said he bakes only as orders come in since he works full-time at the VA. He doesn’t advertise or have a PayPal account because he currently has limited time to meet the demand.
“As far as I’m concerned,” he said, “this cookie business will be my retirement program.”
The affable rodeo cookie cowboy offers his products in dozen and half-dozen packages. As business expands, he hopes to employ a couple assistants. He’d especially like to get family members involved to leave a successful, enduring business for them.
Morris, a candidate for induction into the 2020 Class of the PRCA Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., said, “I want to become so well-known (for his cookies) that when I cross over the Rainbow Bridge my legacy will be more for the cookie empire than for what I was able to accomplish during my rodeo career.”
Wild enthusiasts of his cookie empire’s sweet treats include Pro-rodeo cowboys, Don Gay, Parker Breeding, Kody Lostroh and Gary Wood.
For the scrumptious scoop on Abe Morris’ delicious “Cowboy Chute Out Cookies.’ or more about former bullrider Morris turned baker/writer, visit http://www.cowboychuteoutcookies.com or http://www.abemorris.com. ❖
— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. Technical
assistance by Ron Metzger.
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Dust off your boots and hat, the Greeley Stampede is officially happening in 2021. The community event and celebration is scheduled for June 24-July 4 at Island Grove Park.