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Shorty Creed and Gene Krieg met at Watermelon days in Rocky Ford. He was traveling the southern rodeo circuit and she the northern so their paths seldom crossed. In 1929, they met again. According to Gene: “I was racing a race when other rider ran my horse into a fence and the horse threw me letting the other horses run over me. Shorty was there with his younger brother, who was a year younger than me. His brother came to the house where I was renting a room and helped nurse my busted knee and other parts back to health.
His brother drove me to my next rodeo in Eldorado, Kansas where Shorty had planned to meet us.” Shorty and Gene went together for two years and married in 1931.
“When they first were married they bought 640 acres in New Mexico and it was bad—hard to get to. They came to Rye and bought a little house in town for $450 and land south of town for the cattle and the horses. They bought some cattle and kept them for two years when it dried up and the grasshoppers got bad. They hauled feed and had to buy hay. Finally they shipped them to Denver and sold them making $165 profit. Gene wanted a fur coat so they went to May Company and spent $85 for a fur coat—that was the profit from the cattle for two years.”
Meanwhile they worked the rodeo circuit. Standard purse for each event was $50 first; $30 second, and $20 third. Contestants paid an entry fee of $15 and so the sponsors of the rodeos made money on selling tickets and from the riders’ fees. Shorty and others finally organized into what they called the Turtle Association, because they realized they were slow getting it together. By group action they were successful in getting all the entry fees added to the purse.
(to be continued)