Entertainer Montie Montana drives a team of six paint ponies pulling his signature red mudwagon (which once belonged to Ed Bohlin) near Vasquez Rocks County Park. Montie's ranch was located on the flatland across from Vasquez Rocks, on the
north side of Escondido Canyon Road at Agua Dulce Canyon Road. Undated 8x10 photograph; ex-Butterfields, ex-EarthHunt.
Either this print from Montie's own collection or its twin (Montie had two copies) appears on page 39 of Buttefields 2000 where it was used to promote the sale of Montie's red mudwagon, which the auction catalog describes as follows:
The Weber's Bread Stagecoach
The mudwagon's body painted red and black and inscribed on the sides "Montie Montana/MM" and "Sunlight Basin, Mont.-Cody, Wyo." Axles marked "Concord Express."
Interior of wheel hobs serial numbered 510224. Yellow-painted undercarriage and wheels. Undercarriage with special hook, used to attach logs which acted as a braking device on long downhill
grades. Canvas top with black, wrought iron rack. Brown leather boot. Black naugahyde upholstery. Together with four-horse harness and steel transport trailer built by Borg especially for the coach.
Condition: Showing numerous restorations, considerable wear and chipping to paint. This coach has been painted numerous times, the last time in red by Montie in 1981.
Note: This coach was purchased by Hollywood silversmith Edward H. Bohlin in Cody, Wyoming, in the 1930s. It was purchased from him by Weber's Bread and from them by Montie Montana in 1945.
It was used by Montie for numerous appearances and Rose parades and ridden by many celebrities including John Wayne, Prince Phillip, Joe Montana, country singer Patsy Montana and Sons of the Pioneers.
Between 1945 and 1965 Montie appeared with this stage coach before 8,000,000 school children. Though not bearing the usual markings, it was, by repute, originally used on the run between
Sunlight Basin, Montana, and Cody, Wyoming.
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.
LW2959: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.