Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Montie Montana Ropes Ike at Inaugural Parade

Future Agua Dulce Resident

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January 20, 1953 — To the consternation of the Secret Service, trick roper Montie Montana ropes President Dwight D. Eisenhower during his first inaugural parade. It took Montie two tries.

International News wirephoto, 7x9 inches (6x7½-inch print area), by Frank Jurkoski. Cutline reads (see enlargement):

WA376 ... INP SOUNDPHOTO ... WASHINGTON, D.C. ... 1/20/53 ... President Dwight Eisenhower was an easy target for a cowboy named Montana who lassoed the chief executive as he reviewed the inaugural parade from the stand at the White House ... INP photo by Frank Jurkoski.

Ike is Lassoed by Cowboy in Parade.

Click to enlarge.

Washington, Jan. 20 (AP) — A horseman in fancy cowboy outfit rode up to the presidential parade reviewing stand today and threw a lasso over President Eisenhower.

It was an act that normally would have given the Secret Service a turn, but Montie Montana had asked?

"With your permission, Mr. President, may I throw a rope around your head?"

Eisenhower obligingly got to his feet, and the cowboy, on the second try, looped the lariat around his shoulders from a distance of about 15 feet.

The crowd loved it, and cut loose with a big round of cheers.

Eisenhower let the rope stay a few seconds, then took it off, threw it back to the street, and raised his left hand as if to say, "Well, well, what next?"

Montana rode on, pausing occasionally to rope a uniformed foreign military attache or general.

About Montie Montana
Biography by Marliee Montana in Butterfields 2000:

Born Owen H. Mickel, Montie (June 10, 1910 - May 20, 1998) traveled with his dad, E.O. [Edgar Owen] Mickel, and mother [Mary Edna Harlan Mickel]. Billed as the Montana Cowboys, they did whip and rope acts and put on a slide show about the American West.

In 1929 while working the Buck Jones Wild West Show, the announcer could not remember his name, so he announced him as Montie from Montana, and as Montie tells us in his autobiography, "the crowd loved it and so did I." From then on he became known as Montie Montana.

As a star of silver screen, stage and rodeo arena, Montie entertained audiences around the world for more than 70 years. He rode in 60 consecutive Rose Parades and is famous for roping President Eisenhower in the 1953 Inaugural Parade. From 1945 to 1965 Montie thrilled over 8 million school children with his stagecoach and horse, Rex.

Montie was famous for riding his horses into equally famous places such as the top of the Empire State Building, the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, the Brown Palace in Denver, the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and top-level government offices across the country.

Though he received hundreds of awards and honors during his extraordinary lifetime, he remained a cowboy at heart. Montie was deeply grateful that he could make a living doing what he loved best — and it showed. He had the most wonderful laugh and was always smiling.

An avid collector of Western artifacts, he kept treasures from early on in his career and enjoyed them throughout his life. His legacy will live on with the stories captured in this autobiography where he tells us that he lived in a great era, from the horse and buggy to the space age.

Although he has ridden on ahead, I know that he's in tall cotton with other great Western heroes up there and that his horses are knee deep in green pastures and that he's still a cowboy, because he always said, "I must have been born a cowboy because I've never thought of being anything else."

Further reading: Read more about Montie Montana here.

LW3740: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2019 by Leon Worden.
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