Subscription Preview

To read the full article, you must log in or subscribe. Enter your email address:

Queen of the Old Timers

* Colorado bare-back *

COLORADO: Gives "bare-back" riding a whole new meaning. Courtesy Cherie Morris

NEW MEXICO

Magdalena, a high-plateau town of about 1,000 people southwest of Albuquerque, N.M., once served as a center of mining for lead, zinc and silver in the 1880s, before it took on another role as a shipping center for cattle. The cowboying peak came in 1919, when 150,000 sheep and 21,000 cattle found their way to Magdalena, ending their 10-mile-a-day trek on what was then called the "hoof highway." These days, Magdalena attracts artists and early retirees who help the town celebrate its historic past every July with a three-day Old Timers Reunion that features rodeos, a street dance, a quilt raffle and even three kinds of "villages" -- Indian, Spanish and Cowboy. There's also the crowning of an Old Timers Queen, and this year that queen was an extra-special one, partly due to her age -- 91. Thelma Reynolds told the Mountain Mail that she was born in a log cabin in Nemo, Mo., in 1921, and that she later worked at a variety of jobs for some 70 years. Waitressing and other restaurant jobs accounted for 36 years of her working life, with her first food-serving stint coming at a men's boardinghouse in Springfield, Mo. –– "quite an experience for a young woman," she recalled. Reynolds went on to a job refurbishing spark plugs in an aircraft plant during World War II, and also worked at a nursing home caring for the elderly. Finally, at age 82, she retired from a job at a Walmart Sam's Club. The secret of her longevity? "I just believed I could do it."

From our friends

Sweet-talk from a loyal reader:

"I have been a loyal reader ever since the famous/infamous roadkill issue, years back. I just wanted to note that I regard HCN as the finest magazine I have ever read in my life and it keeps being so."

Tim Kingston, California

Carol Neuhoff is hooked on HCN!

"My brother gave me a gift subscription to your outstanding magazine last Christmas. It's a proud, surprising, eloquent, and pertinent tribute ... every single issue. Thank you for emphasizing the passion for the West over the mere politics. I'm hooked!"

Carol Neuhoff