Bison Road Trip to Colorado - 2004

[Left to Right]

         1st Row: Bill Kibler, David Parsons (husband of Jeanette Bowland Parsons),
 John Weete, Charles Robertson, Jerry Rhome, Ann Robertson
               2nd Row: Buddy Burden, John Haley, Gary Hooker, Sue's husband and Sue Jackson, Fess Miller,
 Martin Cude, Mike Dunn, Charles Marshall, Doug Malone, Rick McWhirter
3rd Row: Fess' wife, Ann Kibler, Vicki Thorpe Goldman, Bonnie Baird Burden,
                              Jeanette Bowland Parsons, Hazael Hale Taylor, Karen Cude, Annette Inman Hooker,
 Sherri Dunn,  Marti Marshall, Becky Malone, Carmen Rhome, Gini McWhirter

The Story of "Gomez"

Written by Ken McGill, October 5, 2009

                After much talking to stock associations, park rangers, and Indian reservation people, Ken McGill has at last
                compiled a brief sketch of Gomez’s history.

               Gomez was born to a very sick mother in the Yellowstone bison herd on Christmas Eve in 1994.  The Sioux
               Indians tribal records, which Ken finally stumbled on in talking to a Cattlemen’s Association person in
               Bozeman, Montana, track the Yellowstone herd and mark each new calf with a number tattooed in their ear.
              Cattlemen in Texas “brand” their cattle the same way.  With rustling being as prevalent as it is, this is just
              another way of finding lost or stolen cattle.

              Now for some facts about Gomez:  Gomez’s mother did not last out the night when she gave birth to her
              newborn son.  Lots of Sioux Indians live on tribal lands around Yellowstone.  One family in particular lived
              not far from where Gomez was born.  The youngest son from this family is named Charlie Whitehorse.  His
              parents are Ben and Maggie Whitehorse.  Their Indian names are White Elk Man, Moon Shines Bright, and
              little Charlie’s Indian name is Buffalo Hunter.

              Anyway, On the night Gomez was born, Charlie was out prowling around as was his normal custom.  He
              came upon the newborn calf half frozen in the new snow that had fallen that day.  Charlie picked Gomez
              up, and returned home carrying the buffalo calf all the way.  Once home, Charlie put the calf in his father’s
              barn and sought help from his mother and father as to how to feed the little critter.  Of course they came
              up with a half gallon of milk with a rubber glove lid.  Punching a hole in one finger, to allow him to feed,
              presto! ... the little buffalo was happy and very hungry.

              I am very indebted to Charlie’s father, Ben, for relating this story to me.  I found Ben through a
              search of tribal records at the Sioux agency with the help of one of its employees, Fred Running Bear.
              They keep track of all bison born to the Yellowstone herd.  After first talking to Ben and giving him the
              tattooed number in Gomez’s ear, he told me he thought he had a story I should hear.  I related how we had
              acquired Gomez and some of our group history.

               Again, back to the story: It would take a short story to tell about Charlie and Gomez. So I'll just hit the
               high spots with the following. Charlie took it upon himself (with his parents help) to feed and take care
               of the little calf.  Along the way, Charlie named the buffalo calf Gomez, after an older Indian man who
               loved to tell the children stories about the old days and how the Sioux hunted buffalo, and how they
               used parts of the buffalo for many different things.  When Charlie found Gomez, he was about 8 years
               old.  The calf and the boy grew together, and after about 6 to 8 months, Gomez was so big that Charlie’s
              dad built a separate shed for Gomez so he could get out and graze.  The boy and the bison were inseparable.
              Gomez was very protective of Charlie and nothing Charlie did seemed to bother him. 

              When Gomez was a little over a year old, he seemed to get a wonder lust and would go and watch a herd
               of bison when they came close to his and Charlie’s home.  Soon, he began to stay away from Charlie
               longer and longer.  He would occasionally come by to see Charlie, but his visits became less and less
              frequent.  Charlie grew to be a strong young man of 16 years.  He watched every day for any sign of
              Gomez, but as I said, his visits were less and less.  For three or four years around Christmas, Charlie
              would always see Gomez.  Gomez would come and let Charlie pet him and brush his mangy coat.  After
              a good meal, Gomez would always be gone the next morning.

             The bison herd in Yellowstone would be watched closely each year and when it was deemed the herd
              was too large, several individual buffaloes would be rounded up and sold to private interests.  Only by
              looking at tribal records could it be determined where they wound up.  Charlie’s dad, Ben, looked up
             Gomez’s record and found he was sold in 2005 to the old Charles Goodnight ranch in the panhandle of
             Texas.  They keep a rather large herd there and supplied meat or animals to other ranches.  After talking
             to the Goodnight ranch, I determined that Gomez was sold to a ranch in the hill country of Texas.  This
             was in 2007.

             The bad news: This ranch sold canned hunts to hunters for deer, elk, antelope, and buffalo.  Gomez
             was killed in the fall of 2007 by a hunter.  The hunter kept the meat, and had a shoulder mount made
             by a taxidermist in Austin.  The mount was later sold to a business in Austin that sold mounts and
             such to interior designers. Somewhere along the way, Gomez was purchased by the owners  previous
             owner Carrie Welch and her husband.  Carrie is a misplaced Yankee and moved to Austin sometime
             in the past.

             As things go (we all know how) Carrie and her husband divorced sometime recently.  Apparently
             it was not a friendly affair.  Her husband was the one enamored with Indian artifacts and relics,
             and he loved his buffalo head.  Apparently a squabble developed, and the wife decided he could go
             straight to hell and held out for Gomez in the settlement and had her way.  She was not desirous of
             keeping Gomez and so she listed him for sale on Craig’s List.  Along came Nancy Hughes and read
             the ad and emailed her Bison buddies.  Charles Robertson decided that we needed to purchase Gomez
             and give him to Bill Kibler to hang at his ranch.  Tom Mosby and I went and picked up Gomez and
             delivered him to his new home this past week.  End of story  

             The author wishes to thank all the people who graciously gave their time and helped me research Gomez’s
             history.  The whole story is much more lengthy and has been reduced here for the sake of finishing the story
             more quickly.  I thank the Sioux Indian Agency and the people who were so helpful, and also Charlie’s dad,
             Ben, and especially to Buffalo Hunter himself.   A Special thanks go out to Charles Robertson and all his
             contributors and to Tom Mosby for lending a hand, and lastly to Bill Kibler for providing a home for Gomez.
             I could have never done this chore without email and a telephone.   I will always think of Gomez as a
            Christmas Buffalo.  Every year I hope to be a part of the raising of a toast to Gomez and all his old friends
             and to his new friends the ’60 Bisons.

             Ken McGill            October 5, 2009

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