Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado

A Kansas Tall Tale

retold by

S.E. Schlosser

Now everyone in the West knows that Pecos Bill could ride anything. No bronco could throw him, no sir! Fact is, I only heard of Bill getting thrown once in his whole career as a cowboy. Yep, it was that time he was up Kansas way and decided to ride him a tornado.

Now Bill wasn’t gonna ride just any tornado, no ma’am. He waited for the biggest gol-durned tornado you ever saw. It was turning the sky black and green, and roaring so loud it woke up the farmers away over in China. Well, Bill just grabbed that tornado, pushed it to the ground and jumped on its back. The tornado whipped and whirled and side-winded and generally cussed its bad luck all the way down to Texas. Tied the rivers into knots, flattened all the forests so bad they had to rename one place the Staked Plains. But Bill just rode along all calm-like, give it an occasional jab with his spurs.

Finally, that tornado decided it wasn’t getting this cowboy off its back no-how. So it headed west to California and just rained itself out. Made so much water it washed out the Grand Canyon. That tornado was down to practically nothing when Bill finally fell off. He hit the ground so hard it sank below sea level. Folks call the spot Death Valley.

Anyway, that’s how rodeo got started. Though most cowboys stick to broncos these days.

via Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado: From Pecos Bill at Americanfolklore.net.

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