by Charlotte Anne Smith
At the age of 86 viewing adventures on the television is the most the average person can do. Art “Bud” Paisley of Delaware, Oklahoma, doesn’t have time for too much TV watching though, he’s too busy doing ranch work, welding, trail riding, dancing, working a cutting horse or training a horse to enable himself to return to calf roping.
Paisley was raised doing farm and ranch work including both on area ranches starting with the Bar K in Osage County, Okla., and the family ranch.
“We moved to Delaware when I was 16, we were raising a lot of hay,” he said. “My sisters husband bought a Farmall F-12 and my dad liked it so well he went and bought an F-20. I dropped out of school to work on the farm,” Paisley explained. “My grandfather was a blacksmith and was in the run into the Cherokee Strip and staked his claim two miles north of the 101 Ranch. They came to Ponca in 1904, farmed, ran some cattle, had a small feed lot and a blacksmith shop. ”
Over the years, Paisley has worked for most of the big ranches stretching from the Ponca City area to Craig County, Okla., but his actual training was in welding, a skill he learned at Coffeyville and is still using.
When he retired he inherited property in Nowata County including five lots in Delaware. The house had burned several years earlier and the lots were covered with brush, trash, the remains of the old foundation and the stumps where the trees had been cut for firewood. Now the place looks like a park.
All of the trash and junk has been removed, a new mobile home installed with a porch and car port, the old barn repaired, roof painted and new siding installed including cutouts of frolicking horse on the doors. A welded corral fence was constructed by Paisley from stock panels and tubing. This is now the residence of a 12-year old Quarter Horse Zan Crowbar, out of Zan Prybar, but better known as Salty.
Salty was one of Paisley’s first purchases when he returned to Oklahoma and is his partner in many of his current adventures, trail riding, cutting and, if Salty can be gotten used to a rope swinging over his head, a return to calf roping, a sport Paisley enjoys.
His involvement with trail rides began after he became acquainted with the programs presented by the Cowboy Church at Cowboy Junction in Vinita. He has participated in rides from Oologah to Vinita ending with the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo there, a two-day event on which they spent the night in Chelsea. Each year he rides to the Shoat Webster and Ben Johnson Memorial calf and steer ropings in Osage County, on a Cowboy Junction ride from Langley, Okla., to Vinita, he also rides on the Sunrise Ranch near Cleora, Okla., and to the Cowboy Cavalcade held at the Delbert Kyler Ranch steer roping arena where he works in the arena during the show.
The Pawhuska ride ends with the Cavalcade and most camp at the grounds during the competition. The event is held in July during what is usually the hottest time of the year. On one occasion a big thunderstorm hit soaking most of the contestants.
“The others were in their horse trailers with their horses outside and they came out to soaked horses and saddles,” he said. “I put my horse in the trailer and I had dry tack.”
While most of Paisley’s horse-related activities aren’t competitive occasionally he does enter a contest. On one occasion he entered a cutting contest at Bluejacket and at the Cavalcade was asked to participate in the barrel racing, but it was canceled because of rain.
In addition to his involvement with the Cowboy Church in Vinita he has been a Mason for 60 years and is the Worshipful Master of the Delaware Lodge. He also was inducted into the Shrines-Scottish Rights at McAlister.
Even though he quit school to operate the family farm he returned and got his diploma.
“I always had a hunger for learning and hard work. Everything I did I worked hard. Still do.”
That’s not something many 86-year-olds can say and there sure aren’t many that can alternate between using a welding torch to build a corral and cowboying on cattle ranches. After a lifetime spent that way, Paisley has no plans to slow down, but he will admit to sitting down to follow one of his other passions, reading.