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    THE first that we saw of the high-tone tramp

    War over thar at our Pecos camp;

    He war comin' down the Santa Fe trail

    Astride of a wheel with a crooked tail,

    A-skinnin' along with a merry song

    An' a-ringin' a little warnin' gong.

    He looked so outlandish, strange and queer

    That all of us grinned from ear to ear,

    And every boy on the round-up swore

    He never seed sich a hoss before.

    Wal, up he rode with a sunshine smile

    An' a-smokin' a cigarette, an' I'll

    Be kicked in the neck if I ever seen

    Sich a saddle as that on his queer machine.

    Why, it made us laugh, fer it wasn't half

    Big enough fer the back of a suckin' calf.

    He tuk our fun in a keerless way,

    A-venturin' only once to say

    Thar wasn't a broncho about the place

    Could down that wheel in a ten-mile race.

    I'd a lightnin' broncho out in the herd

    That could split the air like a flyin' bird,

    An' I hinted round in an off-hand way,

    That, providin' the enterprize would pay,

    I thought as I might jes' happen to light

    On a hoss that would leave him out er sight.

    In less'n a second we seen him yank

    A roll o' greenbacks out o' his flank,

    An' he said if we wanted to bet, to name

    The limit, an' he would tackle the game.

    Jes' a week before we had all been down

    On a jamboree to the nearest town,

    An' the whiskey joints and the faro games

    An' a-shakin' our hoofs with the dance hall dames,

    Made a wholesale bust; an', pard, I'll be cussed

    If a man in the outfit had any dust.

    An' so I explained, but the youth replied

    That he'd lay the money matter aside,

    An' to show that his back didn't grow no moss

    He'd bet his machine against my hoss.

    I tuk him up, an' the bet war closed,

    An' me a-chucklin', fer I supposed

    I war playin' in dead-sure, winnin' luck

    In the softest snap I had ever struck.

    An' the boys chipped in with a knowin' grin,

    Fer they thought the fool had no chance to win.

    An' so we agreed fer to run that day

    To the Navajo cross, ten miles away,--

    As handsome a track as you ever seed

    Fer testin' a hosses prettiest speed.

    Apache Johnson and Texas Ned

    Saddled up their hosses an' rode ahead

    To station themselves ten miles away

    An' act as judges an' see fair play;

    While Mexican Bart and big Jim Hart

    Stayed back fer to give us an even start.

    I got aboard of my broncho bird

    An' we came to the scratch an' got the word;

    An' I laughed till my mouth spread from ear to ear

    To see that tenderfoot drop to the rear.

    The first three miles slipped away first-rate;

    Then bronc began fer to lose his gait.

    But I warn't oneasy an' didn't mind

    With tenderfoot more'n a mile behind.

    So I jogged along with a cowboy song

    Till all of a sudden I heard that gong

    A-ringin' a warnin' in my ear--

    _Ting, ting, ting, ting,_--too infernal near;

    An' lookin' backwards I seen that chump

    Of a tenderfoot gainin' every jump.

    I hit old bronc a cut with the quirt

    An' once more got him to scratchin' dirt;

    But his wind got weak, an' I tell you, boss,

    I seen he wasn't no ten-mile hoss.

    Still, the plucky brute took another shoot

    An' pulled away from the wheel galoot.

    But the animal couldn't hold his gait;

    An' the idea somehow entered my pate

    That if tenderfoot's legs didn't lose their grip

    He'd own that hoss at the end of the trip.

    Closer an' closer come tenderfoot,

    An' harder the whip to the hoss I put;

    But the Eastern cuss, with a smile on his face

    Ran up to my side with his easy pace--

    Rode up to my side, an' dern his hide,

    Remarked 'twere a pleasant day fer a ride;

    Then axed, onconcerned, if I had a match,

    An' on his britches give it a scratch,

    Lit a cigarette, said he wished me good-day,

    An' as fresh as a daisy scooted away.

    Ahead he went, that infernal gong

    A-ringin' "good-day" as he flew along,

    An' the smoke from his cigarette came back

    Like a vaporous snicker along his track.

    On an' on he sped, gettin' further ahead,

    His feet keepin' up that onceaseable tread,

    Till he faded away in the distance, an' when

    I seed the condemned Eastern rooster again

    He war thar with the boys at the end of the race,

    That same keerless, onconsarned smile on his face.

    Now, pard, when a cowboy gits licked he don't swar

    Nor kick, if the beatin' are done on the squar;

    So I tuck that Easterner right by the hand

    An' told him that broncho awaited his brand.

    Then I axed him his name, an' where from he came,

    An' how long he'd practiced that wheel-rollin' game.

    Tom Stevens he said war his name, an' he come

    From a town they call Bosting, in old Yankeedom.

    Then he jist paralyzed us by sayin' he'd whirled

    That very identical wheel round the world.

    Wal, pard, that's the story of how that smart chap

    Done me up w'en I thought I had sich a soft snap,

    Done me up on a race with remarkable ease,

    An' lowered my pride a good many degrees.

    Did I give him the hoss? W'y o' course I did, boss,

    An' I tell you it warn't no diminutive loss.

    He writ me a letter from back in the East,

    An' said he presented the neat little beast

    To a feller named Pope, who stands at the head

    O' the ranch where the cussed wheel hosses are bred.