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Baloo's Bugle

August 2005 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 12, Issue 1
September 2005 Theme

Theme: Cub Scout Roundupl
Webelos: Communicator & Citizen
  Tiger Cub


Pack Meeting Ideas

Santa Clara County Council

  • Setup a fake campfire, and invite a storyteller to tell a Wild West story. Set the Pack meeting up with no chairs and only blankets on the floor for the boys to sit on. The families can also be with their boys on the floor.
  • To add atmosphere to the Pack meeting, decorate the meeting room with a Western motif, and play old folksongs or country music in the background. The meeting should be a montage of American pioneer history with skits, stunts, maybe a puppet show telling a pioneer legend and demonstrations of pioneer skills and games.
  • Have Pack leaders and parents come dressed in cowboy attire (cowboy hat, boots, chaps).

Cowboy Lingo

Scouter Jim, Bountiful, UT

Airin' the lungs:                                             cussin'

Biscuit shooter:                                    the ranch cook

Colorado mockingbird:                                   a burro

Dally:               a half-hitch of rope around a saddle horn

                                                      used when roping

Dog house:                                           the bunkhouse

Flea trap:                                       a cowboy's bedroll

Greasy belly:                                                  a cook

Gut hooks:                                                       spurs

Hay shaker:                                                  a farmer

Hot rock:                                                     a biscuit

Idaho brain storm:                                      a tornado

Kack:                                                           a saddle

Kack biscuit:                                          a saddle sore

Latigo:    a leather strap used to fasten a saddle on a horse

Maniac den:                             a sheep wagon or camp

Maverick:                                    an unbranded animal

Necktie social:                                             a hanging

Tasting gravel:                             thrown from a horse

Cowboy Phrases

San Gabriel, Long Beach Area, Verdugo Hills Councils

From the Nevada State Kids Page on Cowboys -


Try adding these zippy cowboy phrases to your next conversation:

  • Above my huckleberry - Too hard for me to do
  • All horns and rattles - Someone who is very angry
  • Barkin' at the knot - Wasting your time, trying to do something useless
  • Doesn't use up all his kindlin' to make a fire - Someone who doesn't waste words on small talk
  • Don't go wakin' snakes - Don't make trouble
  • He's a featherheaded loco! - He's a crazy fool!
  • I'm busted! -I've spent all my money
  • I'm sick of prairie strawberries every day! - Not baked beans again!
  • Let's hit the trail - Time to get going!
  • Looks like a goose-drowner - It's going to rain cats and dogs
  • Mad as a peeled rattler - Very angry

More Cowboy Slang and Phrases:




San Gabriel, Long Beach Area, Verdugo Hills Councils

I am sure you inventive Den Leaders and Cubmasters can create activities games to be played using this list.  Maybe even a skit or two of someone getting ready for his journey out west  See the Cattle Drive info for ideas.  CD

 Bandana:         Also known as wild rag; a cloth made of silk or cotton, usually worn around the neck to protect against wind, rain and sunburn.

Bedroll:           The cowboy's bed, made up of blankets and quilts wrapped up in a tarp (a waterproof canvas) which fastens with hooks or snaps on the sides. The bedroll also serves as the cowboy's suitcase.

Boom town:      A town that grew up rapidly, usually a mining town or a town where a cattle trail met a railroad line.

Branding:        The process of marking the hide of a calf with a hot iron to show ownership.

Brands:           The trademark design that is burnt into a calf to identify its owner.

Cattle drive:     The movement of a herd of cattle from ranches and grazing lands to the railroad lines for shipment to meat-packing plants farther east.

Cavvy yard:     Also called cavvy and remuda; the herd of spare saddle horses.

Chaps:             Long leather leggings worn by cowboys over their pants for protection against cactus and other range plants.

Chuck wagon:  The wagon that was used on a cattle drive or on a ranch to cook meals for the cowboys. A kitchen on wheels.

Circle herding:Rounding up the cattle by riding in a circle or in a straight or crooked line.

Clove hitch:      A knot used by cowboys to tie a rope or lariat to a post.

Cow puncher:   Another name for a cowboy.

Cowboys:         Men who work with cattle.

Cut:                 To separate a calf or cow from the bunch.

Cutting horse:  A ranch horse specially trained to single out (or "cut") a steer or horse from a herd.

Dogie:              A motherless calf.

Drive:              As used in the song "Get Along Little Dogies," this means to walk the cattle in a specific direction.

Half-hitch:       A knot often used by cowboys to tie a lariat to the saddle horn.

Herd:               A group of cattle or horses; also called a bunch.

Jerky:              Strips of dried meat that could be stored for long periods.

Lariat:             The cowboy's rope, also called the lasso, catch-rope, twine and reata.

Lasso:              A lariat tied with a special knot so that the lariat could be tightened when thrown over the head of a steer or horse.

Longhorns:      A special breed of cattle named for the size of their horns. They were originally from Texas.

Nighthawk:      The cowboy who looks after the horses and cattle at night.

Night herding:  Riding a slow circle around the cattle all night, often singing quietly to keep them from spooking.

Poke:               A pouch or bag used by cowboys to carry small personal items.

Quirt:              A weighted, short-handled whip made of braided rawhide or leather.

Range:             The grazing grounds for cattle and horses; can also refer to a cowboy's home turf.

Rawhide:         The untanned cattle skin; a skin that has not been processed to make leather.

Roundup:        The bringing together of a ranch's cattle for branding or to start a cattle drive.

Spurs:             Made up of heel band, shank and rowel, the spur is a tool used to persuade but not injure the horse.

Stampede:        A wild and uncontrollable run by a herd of spooked cattle.

Stirrup:           A flat-based ring that hangs from a saddle, used for a footrest for mounting and riding a horse.

String:             The group of horses allotted to each cowboy for his personal use; on a big outfit, each cowboy might have between five and ten horses in his string.

Tassel:             The clump of hair at the end of the tails of cattle.

Tenderfoot:      A newcomer to the cowboy life; also called a greenhorn.

Wipe:              Another word for bandana.

Wrangler:        The person on a ranch or cattle drive who took care of the horses.

Japanese Horseshoes

Santa Clara County Council

This is a game of horseshoes that doesn’t require anything more than a few sticks.


  • A 12-inch stick, A 6- to 8-inch stick for each player
  • Find a one-foot target stick called a nekki, and push it firmly vertically into the ground, several feet in front of the thrower. 
  • Give each player a smaller (6-8 inches long) throwing stick. 
  • Each player takes a turn tossing their stick at the nekki target stick as if they were skipping rocks – it is a sideways throw. 
  • Whoever knocks down the target is the winner.
  • This game requires skill and a little practice, but very few materials.

The Chisholm Trail

San Gabriel, Long Beach Area, Verdugo Hills Councils

Information from “Along the Chisholm Trail” website


Is there a local trail near you similar to the Chisholm Trail that your Scouts would enjoy learning about and going to see??  CD

By the end of the Civil War, very few cattle had survived east of the Mississippi; Union and Confederate forces had consumed most of it to feed their armies. Moreover, having sampled beef, millions of veterans and citizens had now developed a taste for it; up until then, pork had been the leading meat source in ordinary diets. As a result, a steer would go for as much as $50 a head back east when it was available. On the other hand, Texas ranchers were "cattle poor." During the war, untended herds and wild longhorns multiplied by the millions. Though thousands of cattle roamed their ranches, ranchers considered themselves lucky if they could get $3 a head. The shortage of beef in the east, together with an increasing taste for it, created a demand that promised great profits if the cattle-poor ranchers could get their longhorn herds to the eastern cattle markets.

With the end of the War, cattlemen needed a new route to market their cattle. Joseph McCoy, an enterprising promoter, was the first to see promise in a shorter, more direct route through Indian territory to the new railheads slowly moving west through Kansas Territory. Working a deal with the railroad, McCoy built cattle pens and a new hotel at the railhead in Abilene, Kansas, then hired surveyors to mark a new route back south to Texas. They began with a route almost due south to Wichita, then followed Jesse Chisholm’s trade road 220 miles to his trading post on the north Canadian River. From Jesse’s trading post, they headed almost due south to Texas to the closest practical Red River crossing along the way, later known as Red River Station. With a safe, easy route from Texas across Indian territory to Abilene now marked, McCoy distributed handbills throughout southern Texas inviting cattlemen to bring their herds to Abilene. Thus, the Chisholm Trail, a great commercial roadway of the time, was born.

Cattle Drive

This diagram shows a typical cattle drive formation.


  • The Pointers guided the cattle in the desired direction
  • The Swing Riders, behind the Pointers, assisted in guiding the cattle, and in keeping the herd in formation.
  • The Flank Riders worked at keeping the formation intact.
  • The Drag Riders, the most undesirable position because of the dust, depending upon the wind, kept the weaker, lagging cattle from slowing the formation down.

To increase the formation speed, the drovers would "squeeze em down," or ride closer to the flanks to narrow the formation.

Longhorn Bull Neckerchief Slide

Cowboy Chaps

San Gabriel, Long Beach Area, Verdugo Hills Councils

Go to Exciting Scoutcraft to see how to make these leather slides  -  http://www.e-scoutcraft.com/leather

Pencil Lasso

Santa Clara County Council

Supplies:  3- or 4-ply rope, strong wire, circular jar lid


  • Cut a piece of 3- or 4-ply rope 2 feet long.
  • Cut a piece of strong wire a little longer than the rope.
  • Carefully twist the wire in between the layers of the rope so that it doesn’t show.
  • Now you can bend the rope into any shape.  
  • To make a pencil holder, glue one end of the rope around a circular jar lid and twist the rest of it into several spiraling coils. 
  • Pens and pencils are held upright by this “magic” rope.

Cowboy Hat

Santa Clara County Council

Cowboy Hats were usually made out of thick felt and would last for years. It provided shade in the sun, protection from the cold, could be used to fan a campfire into flames, scoop water from a river, was a pillow at night and was always tipped to greet a friend. Make your own cowboy hat.


Tagboard, Construction paper or heavy brown grocery bag, Scissors, White glue, Stapler, Pencil, Tape


  • Wrap a strip of paper, about 5” high around the head just above the ears. Trim the paper to fit, then glue and tape the seam. This is the crown of the hat.
  • Notice that when the crown is on the head, it is not perfectly round, but sort of egg shaped. Hold the paper ring in just this shape on top of a large sheet of paper. Trace the exact shape of the crown, then draw a wider circle about 2” to 3” out from this traced line.
  • Cut along the widest circle. This is the outside brim of the hat. Then cut a hole in the middle, about ½” smaller than the traced outline of the crown.
  • Cut little slits from the inside hole ½” to the traced outline. Fold the slits up.
  • Squeeze a thin layer of glue on each folded strip and lay the brim flat, with the strips sticking up. Carefully set the crown down on top of the brim so the folded strips to up into the center. Reach down through the open top to press the glued strips firmly against then crown. You can also use strips of tape if you want.
  • After the glue has set up for a few minutes, lift your hat and push gently against the front of the crown so you make a little fold in the top. Put a staple in this fold to hold it on the inside. Poke another fold into the back of your hat, and staple it too.


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