Antler, ND

Pride Of The Prairie

Family History
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personal stories & photos related to the history of Antler.


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Seiffert Family
Seiffert 50th
Photo courtesy of Darin Clark (a descendant of the Seiffert's).


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Rick A. Jorgensen
September 14, 1944 - January 11, 2017
Rick Essex
Rick was known as quite a story teller.
Pictured above is his 1927 Essex Super Six.

I AIN'T NO COWBOY! (Or)
WHY I BOUGHT THE ESSEX SUPER SIX
By Rick A. Jorgensen

For several years now, folks have asked me, "Dakotah, Are you a “Real Cowboy?" Well, the answer is kinda yes and kinda no. I always said the story of my association with horses and cows would take too long to explain.
I have finally been asked enough times that I will tell the whole sad story of Dakotah, Horses and Cowboys.
CHAPTER ONE - “THE SHETLAND”
My first encounter with a horse was with a Shetland. Now to a real cowboy~~ that ain’t much of a horse, but to me it was a real horse. Especially at the age of nine. I was over at the Stewart place down south of our farm in Sherman Township near Antler, North Dakota. All the kids who lived near the Stewarts were there that day and all of them were taking turns riding this Shetland pony. Finally it came my turn to ride. The kids all asked me if I knew how to ride. I didn't want to let them know that our farm was not blessed with a horse like most of the others. So naturally, I said to the group assembled that I knew everything about riding! The first thing I noticed was that this pony had no saddle, they were riding bare-back and they were steering it by pulling on it's long mane. Well, I jumped up on the one side and slid off on the other. As I got back on my feet I heard gales of laughter directed at me from all quarters, and with a red face, up I went again, and again, and again.... I fell off in front of that horse, I fell off behind it, I fell off on both sides of it, I feel in front of the front legs, I fell behind the back legs, and finally I just fell off for good... Then I trudged on home in disgrace, vowing to never let something like that happen again. I knew that there would someday be my chance to become a "Real Cowboy”.
CHAPTER TWO - "LADY"
My time finally came several years later. My brother, Reed Jorgensen, was real good buddies with Gaylord Larson, a neighbor boy who lived about a mile north of us. He had a "Real Horse", a full size model with a real saddle, saddle blanket and bridle. Now, that was an honest to goodness mode of transportation for a “Real Cowboy”. There finally came a time when Gay Larson went to seek his life's calling away from the old homestead. That left their horse, "Lady", with no cowboy to ride her. "Lady, Meet Your New Cowboy!" Lady had a real pretty face for an twenty year old horse. She had a big diamond patch of white between her eyes, and like a lot of old horses was quite overweight. And, like a lot more old horses, she was awfully darn smart! One day I got up enough courage to go and ask Gilma Larson, Gays mother, if I could take Lady home for a couple weeks to ride her. Gilma agreed to let Lady go home with me. I then had to go out to the pasture and get her.. I had no idea how tough that would be. After all Lady hadn't been ridden for a long, long time With bucket of oats in one hand and the bridle in the other, I embarked out to the pasture. Lady came right up for her oats. But, as soon as she saw that bridle, she bolted. As soon as I hid it behind me, up she came again. And as I brought the bridle back into view, off she went again. This circus went on for about two hours with repeated servings of oats. There was no way that this straightforward approach was ever gonna work. After all. she’s only a horse, a dumb animal, I could outsmart her. Sure! I got her close to the barn and poured out a thin trail of oats that led deep into the barn, ending at the bucket. While I hid in the tall grass, I watched her slowly, cautiously, eat her way to the barn's open door, and after looking all around to see if the coast was clear, she finally went in. With my heart pounding, I creeped up to the door and slammed it shut behind her. You should have heard the commotion that she raised. I thought she would come crashing right out through the walls. I now had a new problem, how do I get into the barn with her to put that darn bridle on? Did I really want to? After the noise finally subsided, I climbed in through one of the small windows. There was Lady, ready to deal with me. I talked real kind to her and she finally let me pet her and she allowed me to put on the bridle. I knew that now she was in my power and I was about to become a “Real Cowboy”! I put on the saddle blanket, the saddle, and cinched it up tight. I kinda thought it was funny, but it seemed that Lady was holding her breath in a strange way. No matter, I opened the barn door and Lady pranced out with me into the bright North Dakota sunlight. She was now my horse for a couple of weeks. I sauntered around to the right side and put my foot in the stirrup and then I just kept hopping about on the other one as Lady began slowly pivoting around and around away from me. I didn’t know that “Real Cowboys" always mount from the left. Finally, in frustration I leaped up with one hand by holding on to the saddle horn. Well, I tell you folks, she left the ground like my Dad's Studebaker pickup usta do on a potholed prairie road. She bucked and snorted up and down so fast that I only hit that saddle once in a while. Just then the saddle started to slide and it rotated into a 90 degree position and the whole world started to tilt along with it. I fell out of the saddle and there stood Lady smirking at me with the saddle now attached under her belly. Somewhere, I had heard that horses can "bloat" when the saddle is put on. I said to myself, "I'll fix you, you old smarty!" I led her over to the side of the barn where there was some shade and I parallel parked her. With my back to the barn, I grabbed the cinch and yanked on it with all I had. Just as quickly, Lady took a big breath and held it. I then swung my knee up into her gut as hard as I could. With a giant wheeze, she exhaled and the cinch tightened up by about a foot and a half... She turned her massive head around and looked right into my eyes with an expression of pure hate. Suddenly, it looked like the starboard side of the "Titanic" was coming at me! With a quick side step she pinned me tight against the barn! Then, deliberately, and with malice aforethought, she lifted her hind hoof, stomped on my foot and held me there securely while she began biting my backside! What a fix I was in. She was not at all happy with me... I squirmed down, darted under her belly and out the other side, leaving my shoe under her foot. Truce time! Easy Girl! I Love You! Hugs and Kisses! I Guess I Was A Bit Hasty, Lady. Let's be friends... Can We Talk???? Now, that it was permanently established just "Who" was the boss. She "allowed" me to climb on (the left side) and slowly we headed for our home. A few days later, the Peterson boys decided to ride their horses to a camp out. I was invited along since I was now an "Official Real Cowboy" On the appointed day I saddled up Lady and headed for their farm. Lady would do nothing but walk the four miles to the their farm. If I kicked her on the sides, she would only trot for about ten yards at a time. When I finally arrived, they were all ready and waiting to go, and away they went, at a gallop! Not Lady though, she just plodded along until the boys were only a speck on the distant Dakota horizon. Then, all of a sudden, Lady took off! We raced across the prairie at breakneck speed until we caught up with them . Then she went back again to her slow walk and this process was repeated again and again. The next day I headed for home, just plodding along. When we got close to our farm and Lady saw the barn, she kicked in the afterburners! I pulled back on the reins 'til I thought they'd break! Everything I tried or hollered only made her go faster! We came flying into the yard and she headed right for the barn! The barn door was open and she was going in no matter what I wanted.... Yaa-Hoo! Now Lady was about five and a half feet high at the back, add the saddle for another few inches and then add me for a total height of about eight or nine feet from the ground. Got the picture? The doorway to the barn was only about 6-1/2, maybe 7 feet high. Got that picture??? KA-WHUMP!!!!!!!!!! The last thing I remember seeing was the rusty nailheads in the siding above the doorway! I hit that barn so hard that the last thing that went through my mind was my common sense! After I finally came to, there was Lady, looking for her oats! The very next day, Lady went into permanent retirement back at the Larson farm.
CHAPTER THREE - "THE QUARTER HORSE"
Several years went by and at about the age of 17 or so, I went to work for Rodney Tennyson. Rodney and his dad, Thorlief, had a good sized spread about 3 miles south of Antler. They had a diversified farm with sheep and cattle. And... A handsome Quarter Horse... Everything went along fine until.... Round-Up Time! I was appointed, (against my better judgment) to ride out to the pasture and move the cattle, on horseback. Now by that time I had two bad habits. One was addiction to smoking and the other was an addiction to sunflower seeds. I couldn't afford tailor made cigarettes so I had a tin of 'Velvet Smoking Tobacco’, rolling papers and wooden matches. I had acquired, somewhere, a floppy hard-hat to wear. I had no "Real Cowboy" hat at that time. Now this hard-hat was a bit too big for my head. It flopped around when I walked and it tended to fly away whenever the wind came up. In North Dakota that is often. I suggested to Thorleif that, perhaps it would be better to have someone the horse knew, on a personal basis, to ride him. I was painfully remembering the Shetland and Lady... Thorlief said not to worry, riding this horse was easy. It was so smart that it could turn on a dime and give you twenty-seven cents in change! All I had to do was get on, and let the horse have his head. This horse was so well trained to cut cattle that it knew exactly what to do. He then told me that this horse had a very sensitive mouth. In other words, letting the reins go slack meant full throttle and high gear. The slightest tug back on the reins would bring the horse to a quick, smooth stop. NOTHING TO IT! Okay...Okay..., one more time for me. Maybe it was just bad luck with the other two horses. After all, they say the third time is a charm. Maybe I was destined to be a "Real Cowboy" after all. I had in my left hand the tobacco tin, cigarette papers, matches, and the sunflower seeds. In my right hand I held the reins. With my right hand, still holding the reins, I grabbed the saddle horn and swung up on the.... uh-oh......, the right-hand side of the horse! As soon as I hit the saddle, that horse shot off like a rocket! The reins were slack because I was still hanging on to saddle horn and the reins with my right hand to keep from falling off! I was trying my best to get my other foot into the left stirrup. My left hand with all the junk was on top of my head trying to keep my hard-hat from flying away in the wind. Got this picture??? Out of the farmyard, down in the ditch, up and across the road, down the steep ditch on the other side and across the fields we flew!!! "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!" I hollered as I went out of sight, my voice trailing off into the distance. Nothing would stop this headlong rush to destruction. Through the fields we went, over fences and around rockpiles, the broomgrass seeds were flying up from the plant tops like the spray from a speedboat. All around us were badger holes, rocks and whatever, which this horse either side-stepped or leapt over. Up ahead was a dense thicket of scrub trees surrounding a slough. This horse was going to take me through that? As my life flashed before my eyes, I remembered the barn door with that other horse, Lady. Oh My God! Decision time! I let go of my tobacco, papers, sunflower seeds, hard-hat and all! They flew away behind me like the smoke from a speeding steam locomotive! I grabbed those reins with both hands and yanked them back with all my might. Whoa! I shouted. Clumpf, Clumpf, Clumpf! That horse came to a full stop in three stomps! But me! I just kept going!! I lifted forward out of that saddle, rode my manhood into the saddlehorn, did a flying somersault over the horse’s head, and landed on the ground still holding the reins. There I lay, flat on my back with the breath knocked clean out of me, my manhood temporarily disqualified, and in raging pain! I opened my eyes and looked straight up into the face of the Quarter Horse, drooling down on me! I can still see vividly that horse’s expression yet today. I know what he was thinking.... "Why You Stupid ......!" It was then that I heard and realized that there really is such a thing as a "Horse-Laugh"... Then I painfully limped back to the farm with the horse in tow. When I finally got back to the farm, Thorlief was rolling around on the ground, laughing so hard that the tears were streaming from his eyes. Rodney was howling with laughter so hard that he had to lean against a tractor for support. Thorlief always said the funniest thing he ever saw in his life was the time that Rick Jorgensen rode his Quarter Horse... I never found that darned hard-hat, it didn't fit me right anyway. But I really missed my cigarette makin's and my sunflower seeds. A “Real Marlboro Man Cowboy” hasta have his makin's. I swore never to ride a horse after that. And, I never have. I’ll pat them, make friends with them, feed them, and watch them gallop gracefully over the prairies. Don’t even suggest that I ride one! I’ll be darned if I’m ever gonna drive anything smarter than me! I figure I'll get me a car......
How about a 1927 Essex Super Six?



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Mark Jorgensen
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