He who in 1974 became Stefen grew up in Winnemucca, Nevada. Most of what I know about Winnemucca comes from Gabby. Of course!
Winnemucca boasted of its paved streets.
Whenever Gabby goes to Winnemucca, which is at least once a year, he stops at the Buckaroo Hame of Fame.
“Buckaroo” is an Anglo corruption of the Spanish vaquero, or horseman. Nominees for the Hall of Fame must have worked in the Great Basin area as a “Buckaroo” within roughly a 200 mile radius of Winnemucca. The museum tells us that hall of fame “Buckaroo inductees are men of character who were known and admired for skills relating to the ‘Buckaroo’ life style; old-style bronc riding, rawhide braiding, horseman skills, (roping and cattle handling), or a cowboss for a big ranching outfit.”
As he often does, Gabby off-loaded the game collection on my friend, who kept them for a few years. When he started the Danish Modern renovation of his living quarters, the games went away. Sold to a collector for a nice price.
Back to Winnemucca:
He stays either at the Scott Shady Court Motel (for the sign) or the Winnemuca Hotel (for the atmosphere). His gravitation towards the Winnemucca Hotel was short-lived. Lately, it has been Shady Court.
Italian-Swiss immigrant Joseph Scott opened the Scott Shady Camp in 1928 with a service station, grocery store and auto court. Over the years, the grocery store and service station were discontinued.
Hank Snow mentions Winnemucca in his Most Wonderful “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
I was totin’ my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road
When along came a semi with a high and canvas covered load
“If you’re going to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride”
So I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside.
Mentioned not just once, but twice! And, since you asked, no, this was not exactly an original song.
Australian Geoff Mack wrote it and Australian Lucky Starr sang it. Full of Australian slang and idiom – “Well I was humpin by bluey on the dusty Oodnadatta road…” etc. Places like Maroochydore, Ulladulla and Wooloomooloo. Brother can he sing fast!
Eastern Nevada is Basque Country. There is a Basque festival there. Gabby goes often. He’s always been partial to Basque culture. He was first exposed to Basque culture while wandering the streets of Bakersfield in the late summer and fall of 1973.
Gabby is all about language. The Basque language is a language isolate, which means that it is no with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages, that it has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. It is not related to any of the Romance languages that geographically surround it, but instead is a descendant – the last remaining one – of the pre-Indo-European languages of Western Europe.
Of late, Gabby has been poking around the remnants of old Chinatown in Winnemucca. They had a rough go of it there. Gabby finds old Chinatown and the brothel district intrinsically interesting.
Gabby first went to Winnemucca in 1970 driving from Philadelphia back to California. He had been in exile on the Philadelphia grape boycott since the fall of 1969 and was finally allowed to return to work in the UFW legal department. He and I shared a great affection for the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which we saw probably five times together in Philadelphia that year. I mention this because he had heard the legend that Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall gang rode into Winnemucca and robbed First National Bank Manager George Nixon on September 19, 1900, making away with around $2,000. Gabby spent the night at Scott Shady Court, learned at breakfast that the legend was not fact, and motored on to Delano.
Last but by no means least, 34 miles east of Winnemucca is Imlay, Nevada. It is an abandoned railroad town, population south of 200. But – in Imlay you find the Thunder Mountain Monument.
Frank Van Zant made this visionary art environment starting in 1967. He made it as a tribute to the plight of Native American Indians.
Van Zant at some point changed his name to Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder, usually shortened to Chief Thunder. Gabby visits Thunder Mountain religiously.
All this because Stefen was born in Winnemucca!
I asked my friend to take a look at the draft post. “I went out there with Gabby in ’71. I think it was ’71. Yeah, I think, ’71. Met Chief Thunder. Worked a couple days on the monument with him. Righteous dude. Said he was Creek. Liked saying ‘if the Creek don’t rise.’ Let me know that it wasn’t a stream and it wasn’t a flood in the saying.”
Okay, then. What about this post?