I was the baby in a very "horsy" family, so there is a high probability that I was horseback before I was born. When I was eight years old, my father took me to a night time rodeo. I don't remember anything about the events, but I do remember what happened at half time. The lights went down, and into the spotlight on a big white horse rode Tex Ritter, the singing cowboy movie star. He wore a purple velvet suit, with rhinestones, and carried a guitar. He rode to the center of the arena, and sang in that great western baritone "Blood on the Saddle". I am told that I leapt to my feet and screamed "Daddy, I want to do that!" I pestered everybody for a guitar, and finally got one, and eventually I wound up in the music performing business. In the mid-seventies I had the opportunity to meet "The King of the Rodeo" Larry Mahan, at the time when he was easing up on rodeoin' and moving into the western music business as a singer/performer. I had the opportunity to help him put together his band and tour the rodeo circuit for several years. One evening we were playing the national teen rodeo in Huston, Texas. Often when Larry was introduced, he would ride a bucking horse out of the shoots, and then come up on stage and burst into "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys." It drove the crowd wild. At this rodeo, however, a friend of Larry's had brought down two really good roping horses, and suggested that he ride one of them into the arena instead of a bucking horse. He agreed, and asked me to ride the other one. I agreed. Every thing seemed straight forward enough as we sat in the gate waiting to be introduced, and I anticipated a leisurely gallop around the arena and up to the stage. Suddenly the lights went out, and it was pitch black. As they announced Larry, four follow spots suddenly swept up and focused on us, and Larry's horse shot off like he was going to a championship calf roping. Mine with absolutely no coaxing from me, did the same. About half way down the straight away with my guitar banging on my back, at a dead run, and completely blinded by the spot lights, I managed to collect the reins, get my feet squared in the stirrups, and my other hand jammed against the saddle horn. Larry's horse, raced to the end of the arena, and then managed to cut to the left like a batter sliding into home. I couldn't see this for the lights, but my horse, close behind must have, and to keep from running into them decided to jump over the back half of Larry's horse. I went air born, but fortunately had a firm white knuckle grasp on the saddle horn, and apparently on the reins as well, for when I came back down (kind of in the saddle), the horse stopped, and trotted up to the stage. The lights had come up. Larry had all ready dismounted, and was jogging on to the platform. I slid off of my horse, and my legs nearly collapsed beneath me. Again, thank Heavens, I had not been able to let go of the horn, for I had to stand there trembling and holding on for what seemed like an eternity with the entire Huston convention center looking on. I staggered to the stage and as I lifted my guitar to kick off the number, my childhood desire came rushing back to memory. All I could think of was, "Be careful what you pray for.....You're very apt to get it." As the strains of "Mama's don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys" started, I remember thinking I certainly do agree with that. I think being a musician is dangerous enough for me. Most of the songs on this album are generally from those "Rodeo" years. This CD is a comprehensive collection of my best "Western" recordings. I hope you enjoy them, and that they make your trail a little easier. Let'um buck, Michael Mc Ginnis.
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