Maurice Laycock and Baldy Boy
Maurice Laycock and Baldy Boy
“Maurice Laycock was born in Cheyenne March 12, 1909, the son of pioneers Percy J. and Catherine ‘Kate’ Murray Laycock,” says the June 1975 edition of Western Horseman. Maurice was known for his success in the rodeo arena and for the horse trailers he began manufacturing in 1933 in Laramie and later from Cheyenne.
Maurice and his horse “Baldy Boy” were featured in the Western Horseman article compiled by Clara Wilson in tribute to Maurice after his passing earlier that year. I love an old horse tale and found the story, at least what room allows, worth sharing here. Baldy Boy, as the result of a tangle with a fence as a yearling, had a kink in his neck and beat the odds as an all-around success in the horse world of the late 1940s and 1950s.
“Maurice bought a black gelding from Jim Chaffie in 1947. He was later registered with the AQHA as Baldy Boy 18512, by Beggar Boy (TB) out of V’s Peaches by Oklahoma Star. Baldy Boy was raised by Ronald Mason of Nowata, Okla. Chaffie had gotten the horse from Jess Goodspeed two years before, trained for calf roping. Jim had trouble with Baldy Boy in the box, rearing and falling over backwards. He had hurt Jim several times and put him in the hospital once. Maurice bought him for $150 as a seven-year-old. Maurice worked with Baldy Boy for about three months just scoring cattle and setting him in the roping box.
“He finally thought he was ready again for rodeo competition so he went to a rodeo. The bulls were penned directly behind the roping box. When Maurice nodded for his calf, Baldy spun around and jumped in with the bulls! Maurice took him home and spent the next week riding him in and out of the roping box several times a day, then he went to a roping on him again and never had any more trouble except when Baldy had had too many calves roped on him. He had to be handled with patience and ease. Later when he started racing, Maurice always tried to get a girl to jockey because they could get along with him much better than a man. Baldy’s favorite jockey was Ramona Merritt Dalton, and he always won for her.
“Maurice hauled Baldy Boy to rodeos, roped calves on him, hazed bull-dogging steers on him, sometimes bull-dogged on him and almost always raced him. One time Maurice ran him in two races a day for three days at Monte Vista, Colo., winning all six races and also roping calves on him, then hauled him most of the night to Centennial where he had drawn in to run the next day. He won by about three lengths. Maurice had bet $100 on him and got nearly $600 back.
“Baldy also won a matched race in Kremmling, Colo. against a mare, Mary Niles, owned by Quentin Semotan of Steamboat Springs. Ramona rode him in the quarter mile race. This race was quite profitable for the rodeo cowboy and his rope horse, probably the best day they ever had. The match was for $1,000, and Maurice won $350 on side bets, then Baldy won a couple more races to put the total take for one day past $2,000. Maurice thought this took place in the fall of 1949. Baldy won several $500 match races for Maurice and could have won much more, but there is always a chance of losing and this cowboy couldn’t afford a very big loss.
“Baldy Boy died in the summer of 1962 of natural causes, 22 years old. Baldy didn’t know that he may have been called small, nor that his conformation wasn’t that desired in the halter classes, nor that a kink in the neck is usually regarded as a disability. He didn’t know about horse blankets, hot walkers, fancy barns nor expensive feed. All ole Baldy knew how to do was win.”
I hope you enjoy an old horse tale as much as I do!
Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at Womack@Wyoming.com or at 307-351-0730.