Bob Richard will discuss his new book, Memoir of a 1950s Yellowstone Horse Ranger at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 16. This author talk is free and open to the public at the Park County Public Library in Cody. The Park County Archives and the library are jointly hosting the program.
The book is autobiographical. There are many things to like about it, but, we wanted to know more about the Morgan stallion, Big Red. We were lucky enough to ask Richard a few questions.
PCL: You write that Big Red was 18 hands tall which measures six feet at the shoulder. How tall are you?
Richard: Six feet.
PCL: How did you get on that big horse?
Richard: I stepped off a log or a rock.
PCL: In the cover photo the two of you are on scale. A short person could not sit that horse.
Richard: Well, I had a good photographer.
Note: He is speaking of his father, the renowned photojournalist Jack Richard. Bob has collected Jack’s work in “Yellowstone Country: The Photography of Jack Richard” which he co-wrote with Mark Bagne.
Richard: If you look closely in that photo, you can see the bulky Motorola radio that I carried on my rounds.
PCL: What about the wrangler’s warning that Big Red was an outlaw and had hurt people? Did he give you any trouble?
Richard: He never offered to buck. He never shied. I would put the reins over his neck and he would follow me through the campgrounds while I talked to the people. A little kid once wrapped himself around Big Red’s hind legs and the horse stood for it.
PCL: You write that those were the best four years of your life. You’d met your wife and started your family. How did you ever leave a job like this to enlist as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot?
Richard: I wanted to fly worse. I wanted to drop food to the fire fighters. My uncle, Bob Richard, Sr., (Chip and Chan’s father) pinned his WWII pilot’s wings on me saying “Maybe someday you can wear these as a Marine.” I was 11 years old.
PCL: What will your next book be about?
Richard: The early days, 1900s, of Yellowstone camping. It will include stories and photos of Phonograph Jones and his cook wagon.
Richard’s books will be for sale and a book signing will follow the program. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Cody Library.
Several of Richard’s books, including an audio disc, are available at the library and the archives.