Growing up I had some very good cowboys teach me about horses. My real mentor in "everything horse" was our next door neighbor, Martin Geiser. Martin was a horse man. Wasn't a thing he didn't know or couldn't do or couldn't answer when asked. Martin Geiser was pure horseman.
Others along the way were his sons, Gale, now deceased and older son Eugene. Both good on a horse. Martins wife, Sybil even babysat bronc-rider Larry Sandvick so something must have rubbed off him too! Larry only made it to the National Finals 12 times!!
Living behind us was Mervel Hall. My pal, M.J. Hall was his son. I saw Mervel ride some of the rankest saddle horses on earth. Horses so dam wild and strong-headed I wouldn't have gotten on them for anything. Mervel rode them like he owned them. He had plenty of saddles he had won bronc riding and he was put into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. I still owe Mervel a catch rope, (that is a story in itself) well M.J. probably does but son, M.J. went on ahead of his own making.
I worked for J.C. "John" Stevenson once and was forever grateful for that opportunity. J.C. is also in the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. J.C. was a true cowboy --- a rancher, livestock marketer, cattle buyer, rodeo producer and stock contractor. He was a generous man and paid me well for my work.
In my youth, going to grade school and junior high in Mandaree, N.D. on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation I had a band teacher by the name of Bob Rindt. I played the valve trombone for Bob Rindt in his band but am forever grateful for the cowboy he instilled in me growing up. Here is a piece on Bob Rindt. He was a hell of a guy and I am better for having had him as a teacher and band instructor.
Robert Rindt was well known in North Dakota for his more than 40 years of teaching; performing rope, whip, trick shooting and tumbling acts; and producing rodeos and other entertainment shows. His wife, Doris, was his partner in many of those acts, and they were once featured in Life Magazine for a Minot State University performance.
Another North Dakota cowboy I knew was Paige Baker Sr., another inductee into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. In fact in helping the Baker family put up prairie hay I remember some of the wildest rides of my life were on the dump-rake being pulled by a pickup! How I stayed alive and hung on to that seat was a miracle. Today, Paige's youngest son, Gerard lives on a ranch about 10 miles , as the crow flies from my Ghost Ranch in Montana. Gerard and I were alter boys at St. Anthony's Church in Mandaree, were confirmed together and started high school together as bunk mates in the dorm at St. Mary's High School in New England, N.D.
My father, Douglas Parisian had the greatest respect for Paige. Here is a piece on Mr. Paige Baker, Sr.:
Paige James Baker Sr., also known by his Hidatsa name as Sacred Horse, was born in Independence, North Dakota, on January 1, 1913. Born to James and Ethel (Tail) Baker, he attended school in his hometown, the Santee Indian School in Nebraska and the Chemawa Indian School in Oregon.
After my family moved to Pine Ridge, South Dakota I was able to ride a bit with renowned saddle maker Dave Dahl down in Pine Ridge, S.D. when in high school. We had moved my horse GINGER down to South Dakota and I rode fairly often on weekends. I was a three-sport letterman in football, basketball and track so there just wasn't much time during the week to ride. Dave knew his stuff and had just been a saddle bronc rider before he began his lifelong journey of saddle making. Here is a bit on my friend, Dave Dahl. Dave was honored to be put into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2018. He left an impression on me. He did what he said he was going to do. One way or another.
David (Dave) Dahl, internationally-known bronc saddle maker, was born on December 12,1945 to John and Mildred Dahl at Keene, North Dakota. The third child born in a family of eleven children, he grew up on the family farm. He attended grade school at both the Keogh School and Reservation Schools near his home. In 1962, Dave graduated from the New Town, North Dakota High School.